Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Gaza war ‘in final act’ as ceasefire looms

Posted by claudiacampli su 17 gennaio, 2009

Times

Israel is expected to announce a unilateral ceasefire tonight that will end its three-week war in Gaza.

Officials said that the Israeli Security Cabinet will be asked to approve the surprise move after Israel secured commitments from Egypt and the US to stop Hamas re-arming by smuggling weapons into Gaza.

If the Cabinet agrees, Israeli troops will halt Operation Cast Lead — but if Hamas continues to fire rockets into southern Israel they will resume the action. The plan would allow Israel to stop fighting before Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, and avoid direct dealings with Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist group.

Khaled Meshal, the exiled Hamas leader in Damascus, rejected the ceasefire demands yesterday, insisting that Israel should withdraw its troops immediately, open Gaza’s borders and lift the blockade it imposed after Hamas seized power there in 2007. Under the ceasefire plan, those issues would be discussed at a later date.

There was speculation last night that Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Prime Minister, would attend a ceasefire summit in Cairo tomorrow with Egyptian leaders, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, and Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General.

“Hopefully we’re in the final act,” said Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesman. “We want this to be over as soon as possible.” In Washington yesterday Tzipi Livni, Israel’s Foreign Secretary, signed an agreement with Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, that focused on preventing arms meant for Hamas from Iran and elsewhere from reaching Egypt.

“I have said that the end doesn’t have to be in agreement with Hamas, but rather in arrangements against Hamas,” Ms Livni said afterwards.

Two top Israeli negotiators spent a day in Cairo discussing how Egypt could stop weapons being smuggled through hundreds of tunnels beneath its nine-mile border with Gaza. Egypt has little sympathy for Hamas and is seeking to restore the influence of Fatah in Gaza, which was ousted by Hamas. It wants the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority to help stop the smuggling and supervise Gaza’s other border crossings jointly with Israel.

Israel’s offensive has killed 1,100 Palestinians — half of them civilians — wounded more than 5,000 and forced tens of thousands from their homes. It has prompted international condemnation but proved popular domestically, with most Israelis believing that the action has been entirely justified.

The Israeli leadership argues that it has now established the principle of deterrence, restored the prestige of its military after its failure to crush Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and served a strong warning to Arab neighbours that they attack Israel at their peril.

Hamas will claim that it has resisted Israel for three weeks and continued to fire its rockets. But for all its boasting, it has killed only six Israeli soldiers, brought terrible destruction on its own people and secured little support from the rest of the Arab world.

The agony of the war burst into Israeli homes last night as Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish, a Palestinian doctor popular on Israeli television, delivered his regular report through tears, telling Channel 10 that three of his daughters and a niece had been killed after an Israeli shell hit his home in Gaza.

“My girls were sitting at home planning their futures, talking, then suddenly they are being shelled,” he said. “All that was ever fired out of our house was love and acts of peace, nothing else, ever.”

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