Friday, July 18, 2014

Gaza Report 4

This report is the fourth in a series on the current confrontation between Gaza and Israel.

Note: Israel launched a very limited ground offensive into part of the Northern Gaza Strip close to the border this afternoon.

ISRAEL: The following is the perspective of Gershon Baskin, a senior member of Israel's establishment and Israel's former negotiator with Hamas augmented with comments from a senior Israel civil servant:
THE CIVIL SERVANT: An Hamas tunnel targeting Kibutz Karem Shalom was intercepted and stopped.
The Hamas demands are very high. They talk about an airport. Let's have a cease fire first and then we can talk.

We need people of good will in the world to support us at this time. If there is a problem and you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
GERSHON BASKIN: We have had a temporary cease fire that lasted two hours and then there were three mortars. This short five or six hour cease fire negotiated by the UN was supposed to enable people in Gaza to get supplies. But when Hamas breaks the temporary cease fire it becomes harder to believe they will honour the real cease fire.

There were hopes that there would be a full cease fire at 6 am tomorrow morning between Israel and Hamas and Fatah.
EGYPT: The following comment comes from an Egyptian intelligence officer. The words are his: Not yet. There will be no cease fire yet. It is premature.
GAZA: The following comment comes from the NCF's office in Gaza. Again, the words are quoted verbatim:

We had a humanitarian truce from 10 am to 3 pm. This was imposed from the Israeli side but afterwards the fighting resumed from both Hamas and Israel and Hamas even shelled Tel Aviv. Seven Palestinians have been killed since the end of the humanitarian cease fire in a total of 45 air strikes thus far.

In Cairo Israel appears to be talking to the deputy head of Islamic Jihad. There seem to be some developments in regard to the Hamas conditions. So now there will be a new Egyptian paper, maybe tomorrow. Egypt wants to involve the Arab League.

But Hamas wants direct contact with the Egyptians plus the Rafa crossing reopened.

Maybe tomorrow Abu Mazen will meek Erdogan of Turkey. Today he met Sisi of Egypt.

I think talks will take place between Abu Marzouk (Moussa Abu Marzouk,deputy to Khaled Mishal), and Sisi. These will be fruitful and should produce a new deal. Maybe Mishal will visit Turkey. It's fruitful, positive. It is possible Abu Mazen will meet Mishal. After this meeting maybe we will have a deal and Mishal will fly to Cairo and we will have an announcement within two hours.
Hamas want Rafa open daily and no siege. Also they want Karim Shalom and Karni crossings reopened for building materials. This is the first stage. In the longer term Hamas want a seaport opened to Turkey. If this happens it means we have Gaza State.

In the first stage also the 57 prisoners rearrested that were part of the Shalit deal should be released. But that is not a big deal. That is not as important as the Rafa crossing.

But things may escalate if there is no deal. It is not easy now that Israeli tanks have started to enter Gaza.

COMMENT: Today's comment is from Hillel Schenker, co-editor of the Israel-Palestine Journal. For Hillel's perspective click here

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