zaterdag 17 januari 2009

Dit weekend eindelijk staakt-het-vuren in Gaza?

Het leek er even op dat er overeenstemming zou komen over een staakt-het-vuren met bemiddeling van Egypte. Israel overweegt nu een eenzijdig staakt-het-vuren te proberen. De internationale kritiek en druk op Israel blijft groeien, en de meeste militaire doelen lijken gehaald, afgezien van het riskante uitkammen van de binnenstad van Gaza.
Evenals eerder in Libanon is het echter niet gelukt om de Hamas raketten helemaal het zwijgen op te leggen, noch om Hamas te dwingen tot een staakt-het-vuren op Israels voorwaarden.
Hoe een eenzijdig staakt-het-vuren uit zou pakken is moeilijk in te schatten. Hamas zal ook met haar beschietingen moeten stoppen, anders is het snel weer over. Egypte zal wellicht doortastender gaan optreden tegen de wapensmokkel, en hopelijk is er nog overeenstemming te bereiken over waarnemers aan de grens, zodat meer - dringend nodige - goederen en hulpverleners naar de Gazastrook kunnen, zonder dat Hamas zich al te makkelijk kan herbewapenen.

Last update - 00:31 17/01/2009

Cabinet to vote Saturday on unilateral Gaza truce
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent, and The Associated Press

The cabinet will hold a vote on Saturday evening to decide whether to enact a unilateral cease-fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The decision would mean Israel has put an end to the three-week-long Operation Cast Lead without an agreement with Hamas, relying instead on the support of the United States and Egypt in battling arms smuggling into Gaza.

A government source emphasized that there has been great progress with Egypt in reaching an agreement on fighting arms smuggling. The deal would require the combined use of technological measures on the border between Gaza and Egypt, operations against smugglers in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and the use of international experts to identify smuggling tunnels on the border.

The deal would also call for cooperation between Israel and Egypt on matters relating to the Gaza Strip in which they have shared interests, without the interference of Hamas.

Egypt is at the moment considering whether to organize a summit in the near future between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The United States and Israel signed an agreement on Friday aimed at stopping the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

The deal includes measures meant to fight arms smuggling from Iran to Gaza, with the policing to take place throughout the route by which the arms reach Gaza, including patrols of the Persian Gulf, Sudan and neighboring states.

The two-and-a-half page document outlines a framework under which the United States will provide military and intelligence assets, including detection and surveillance equipment, as well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations in the region. The equipment and training would be used for monitoring Gaza's land and sea borders.

The document also calls for the U.S. to expand work with its NATO partners in the effort, particularly in the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and eastern Africa, according to a text.

It also commits Washington to use relevant components of the U.S. military to assist Mideast governments in preventing weapons and explosives flows to Gaza that originate in or transit their territories.

Although signed by the Bush administration, the agreement is binding on the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama and Rice and State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said both Obama and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton had been briefed on the details.

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