Will Gaza Lull Last?

[Ynet News] Ron Ben-Yishai - The current quiet on the Gaza front is a result of a rare congruence of interests among Israel, Hamas, and Egypt, who have a clear interest to prevent the fighting from going on. The lull aims to allow for negotiations on an agreement with Egyptian mediation and active American support. The negotiations are being held in el-Arish and in Cairo, as Egyptian representatives are simultaneously meeting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as well as with Amos Gilad, who represents Israel's defense minister. For Hamas, the main motive is the fear of a major Israeli operation in Gaza. Hamas was badly beaten in Israel's recent operation; it sustained a much harder blow than what emerged from media reports. Hamas estimates that if it continues to fight, Israel will topple Hamas' Gaza regime and prevent the group from realizing its strategic objective: Taking over the West Bank and ruling the Palestinian people. Israeli officials estimate that one or two more rounds of escalation may be needed in order to prompt Hamas to soften its demands. For that reason, the lull may end at any moment.

2008-03-12 01:00:00

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