Day Eight of Israeli Attack on Gaza: Ceasefire agreement reached; Palestinian death toll climbs to 145

Israel/Palestine
on 59 Comments
Gaza protest
A teacher leads chants through a loudspeaker as Palestinians students rally in Bethlehem’s Manger Square to protest Israeli attacks on Gaza, November 20, 2012. Photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continued for much of the day (Middle Eastern time) as a ceasefire agreement was announced in Cairo. Earlier today, before the ceasefire agreement, a bus was bombed in Tel Aviv and rocket and mortar attacks continued on Israel.

Both Israel and Hamas have reportedly agreed to a cessation of hostilities. The Associated Press has more details:

Egypt has announced a cease-fire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said the truce would take effect at 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT.) He made the announcement alongside visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the deal, saying he had agreed after consulting with President Barack Obama.

The text of the ceasefire agreement have been published:

“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.

“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”

“Implementation mechanism.

“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.

“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

The Palestinian death toll has climbed to 145 according to the Ma’an News agency.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports that 91 of the dead were civilians, including 28 children. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has also released some of their initial findings about the civilian dead in Gaza. “Initial investigations indicate that at least 40 of those killed were civilians, among them 19 minors, and 10 women,” the human rights group reported. “B’Tselem will continue to investigate the incidents in which civilians have been killed in Gaza, and to review reports coming in even now regarding additional incidents in which civilians have been killed or injured.”

After one week of fighting, the Israeli death toll stood at 5. 

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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59 Responses

  1. seafoid
    November 21, 2012, 1:26 pm

    The whole thing was a waste of time. Israel should never have assassinated Jabari.
    Another Cast Lead- zero progress for Jabotinsky thinking. Bibi takes out his manhood to show to the Palestinians, to cower them into submission once and for all and it flops in the glare of total hasbara failure. Hillary b*tchslaps him into a ceasefire. Nukes once again useless.

    Well done to the Masris, the Tunisians and the Turks. Quiet, dignified diplomacy and the region looks slightly different than it did 2 weeks ago.

    Israelis freaked out. Well deserved, frankly . The news that Bibi wouldn’t dare make a live TV broadcast from Ben Gurion’s ranch was great. Now they know a little of what life as a goy in Erez Israel feels like.

    But back to the status quo not an option.

    • Sumud
      November 21, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Israel should never have assassinated Jabari.

      If reports he was working on a long term truce with Israel is true, they chose to kill him for that very reason – they’re more afraid of peace than war.

    • BillM
      November 21, 2012, 4:37 pm

      “Another Cast Lead-zero progress for Jabotinsky thinking.” Here is Blake Hounshell tweet, desperately trying to making this into an Israeli victory:

      Blake Hounshell ‏@blakehounshell
      For those asking, Israeli goals tactical, not strategic: taking out long-range rockets. IDF saying they more or less achieved that.

      It’s easy to declare an Israeli victory. All you have to do is admit that Israel had no strategic goals behind this war, then no one can claim Israel failed to meet its goals. Your “zero-progress” turns out to have been the official goal the whole time.

  2. sardelapasti
    November 21, 2012, 2:01 pm

    “zero progress for Jabotinsky thinking”

    No. Big time loss for Jabo thinking.
    This aggression has revealed to all that the Amerisraeli military is totally unable to contain resistance in caged turkeys while keeping themselves casualty-free, forget Iran. And all this thanks to the makeshift rockets!
    Masterful analysis by Dina Jadallah in Counterpunch
    link to counterpunch.org

    The rockets were way more useful than the “anti-Zionists” preaching non-resistance. They may have definitely established the idea that Israelis and Americans are too weak to be reliable allies. Much more useful than morals.

    • kalithea
      November 21, 2012, 5:21 pm

      That analysis you linked is right on the pulse.

      Everyone has underestimated the intuitive superiority, resiliance and fighting spirit of Palestinians.

  3. Woody Tanaka
    November 21, 2012, 2:16 pm

    While I am happy that the zionists will stop their war on the people in Gaza, the murderous blockade is still in effect, so Netanyahoo will still bathe in the blood of innocent Palestinians for the indefinate future…

  4. upsidedownism
    November 21, 2012, 2:18 pm

    This cease fire is great news.

    What a difference a US election makes. Congratulations to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (assuming the cease fire holds). A President Romney or a President GW Bush would have continued to mouth ‘israel has the right to defend itself’ till the last Palestinian was killed; while Obama’s rhetoric may have been similar, he acted differently, by despatching Clinton; a Romney or Bush would never have sent their secretary of state in similar circumstances; their only worries would have been to do with the logistics of supplying endless munitions to Israel.

    When Clinton and Netanyahu issued their joint statements, you could see that Bibi was furious at her presence on his turf.

    I only hope that this is used by Obama and Clinton as an opportunity for some kind of comprehensive peace deal, but who knows?

  5. Avi_G.
    November 21, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Despite what Ha’aretz reported earlier, there are some indications that an agreement to reach a ceasefire failed yesterday, not because of Israel, but because the State Department didn’t want Egypt’s new government to gain political capital by brokering said ceasefire.

    Hillary sought to marginalize Egypt as an influential regional player by blocking an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.

    So now the U.S. emerges as the winner in all this, what with having just brokered a ceasefire that would certainly save the lives of many Palestinians.

    • American
      November 21, 2012, 7:05 pm

      Hillary sought to marginalize Egypt as an influential regional player by blocking an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal.”…Avi_G

      She might have tried but it didn’t happen….Egypt has come out the hero in this..with the US putting Egypt in charge of monitoring the agreement.

      If planned this way…,.Brilliant!….if not planned….still brilliant outcome.
      Ha!…a ME state has now been inserted into the negotiations….by the US.
      Did the US ‘buy” Mursi?….maybe they did or think they did….but I doubt he will be their Mubarak.

      • Avi_G.
        November 21, 2012, 7:17 pm

        Monitoring, yes. But what the U.S. is saying to Egypt is this: We’re handing you a good, stable ceasefire agreement. Don’t f*&#$ it up. If you break it, it’s your fault.

        On the one hand, the US gets to maintain its patronizing, superpower position as the dominant party and boss in the region. On the other hand, it obligates Egypt to depend on the US for political capital and relevance.

      • Avi_G.
        November 21, 2012, 7:34 pm

        I should also add that the first ceasefire agreement, yesterday, allegedly failed because of Israel. But then comes Hillary to the rescue and a day later makes it appear as though she has managed to convince Israel to agree to the ceasefire.

        The US comes out on top, PR wise. We can still rein in our closest (rogue) friend and ally, Israel.

        Remember, Egypt was furious after Israel assassinated al-Ja’bari last week despite having gone to great lengths to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

        This was the United States’ attempt at appeasing Egypt.

        It’s all a game.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 21, 2012, 7:39 pm

        something happened we do not know about. one hr before the ceasefire was announced (the one between abbas and hilary, or something) this was published:

        link to jpost.com

        one hr later the ceasefire was announced. i wonder if there has been any change.

      • piotr
        November 21, 2012, 8:55 pm

        It used to be worse, with Condi Rice blabbering about “birth pangs of new Middle East”. It is crass to complain that a spinster talks about birth pangs, but to me it was one occasion when Condi made a genuine chicken-hawk.

        Domestically, Netanyahu is already attacked by the “center” parties for the ceasefire, so it definitely covers his posterior that he was “forced by bad Obama”, and also domestically, it covers Obama’s posterior that it is actually not that clear if he forced Israel to do anything.

    • RoHa
      November 21, 2012, 7:09 pm

      But the ABC is reporting this as Egyptian.

      “The ceasefire has been brokered by Egypt, which will also guarantee the terms.”
      “Speaking at a joint press conference in Cairo earlier, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Egyptian foreign minister Mohammed Kamel Amr announced the deal had been reached.”
      “As the ceasefire began, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that if the Egyptian-brokered truce did not work Israel would consider “more severe military action” against the Palestinian territory”

      link to abc.net.au

      And the same goes for the reports I have heard and read on other Australian media.

      • Bumblebye
        November 21, 2012, 9:05 pm

        Ditto here in UK, bbc constantly referring to it as being brokered by Morsi.

  6. kalithea
    November 21, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Like it or not U.S. and Western World, Hamas has proven itself to be the BACKBONE of Palestine while the jellyfish Abbas fades away as being the Quartet’s puppet who almost gave the farm away. His legacy reflects total, abject FAILURE.

  7. American
    November 21, 2012, 3:29 pm

    This 2012 has been different from the ’08 assault, seemed strange from the beginning. No loud condemnations from Europe as there was in ’08 for some reason. I think maybe that reason was because the US, Europe, naturally wanted circumvent the Abbas UN bid and possibility of a ICC charge cause gawd forbid Palestine succeed at the ICC and give other countries ideas about pursuing the US and others for war crimes.

    This whole thing has had the feel of a ‘controlled demolition” by the US that Israel happen to have supplied the fuse for. The US let it blow, but not blow so far outside of the footprint planned for such a flareup, as to blow ‘too’ wide in the whole ME.

    So what has emerged? Egyptian leadership for the main thing. And Turkey calling Israel a terrorist state. And big ME leaders rallying to Hamas’s side…… in direct opposition to the US and Israel.
    Israel will very, very jealous of any relationship developing between the US and gives Egypt any clout or US ear on I/P.
    The US may try ‘to play’ Egypt for Israel by flattering Mursi with ‘leadership’ accolades to make Mursi a puppet but I don’t think he’s that dumb.
    Israle will definitely try to undermine any US-Egypt coziness.

    But if Hamas got the conditions the news says they got —no more targeted assassinations of it’s leaders or people and no more Israeli incursions into Gaza..then they won quite a bit.
    The lifting of the blockade is not so clear…supposedly that is to be worked out shortly by Egypt.

    All in all I think Israel stepped in the trap and Hamas won …..if Israel lives up to it’s deal….which it won’t. So we will see what Egypt does when Israel doesn’t.

    I am listening to some snot nosed former chief of staff for Netanyhau on CNN now saying ….”we need to finish them off!!! we need to finish them off!!!..we will have to kill all these terrorist”!!!
    Oh…such tough guys….may they find a real army to fight. I recommend they try the Turks…lol.

  8. BillM
    November 21, 2012, 4:15 pm

    Based on the announced terms of the ceasefire, this appears to be an absolutely stunning victory for Hamas. Israel’s attack achieved nothing but a body count, and Hamas emerged politically stronger, diplomatically more connected, and, if the truce terms regarding more open borders are followed, economically reinvigorated.

    Perhaps most importantly, “deterrence” was re-established; not by Israel, but by Palestine. Palestinians in Gaza have a large number of anti-tank missile. How many were actually fired? Except for one missile taking out an Israeli jeep in the first round of the war, I didn’t see a single report of anti-tank missiles being used. Hamas has access to some limited anti-aircraft missiles. How many were fired? I did not see a report of one. Some reports say Hamas has anti-ship missiles. Again, no reports of usage.

    So Hamas and the other factions used their grad homemade missiles. Their mortars were able to cause casualties among Israeli troops on the border. But their real, military-grade weapons were held in reserve and never used. In spite of this, Israel mobilized over 50,000 troops to the border…and stopped. No invasion happens.

    That is one hell of a deterrence. Obviously, it’s not just Gaza weapons driving the Israeli decision. Israel was scared of drawing Egypt in, and scared of sparking events across the region it couldn’t control. But still, given the incredible imbalance of power, the fact that an invasion was prevented, that Israel gained nothing from the war, and that Hamas gained a great deal is a stunning turnaround.

    • Avi_G.
      November 21, 2012, 4:48 pm

      At the same time, Israel got to test its Iron Dome system against a real-world threat, as opposed to a mere exercise.

      It also gave Israel the opportunity to test the Israeli public’s response to a widespread state of emergency. Keep in mind that Israel was allegedly calling into active duty some 75,000 reservists. The Israeli public dealt rather well with these conditions (i.e. there were no mass protests objecting to the government’s actions, no chaos or large scale confusion).

      In addition, Israel also tested the reaction of the Arab public in neighboring countries. Are they too embroiled in internal Arab Spring-related issues or do they have their eyes on Israel’s actions?

      Israel got answers to all these questions. These are important questions in preparation for an attack on either Lebanon or Iran.

      • seafoid
        November 22, 2012, 4:46 am

        Iron Dome had 500 rockets or so in 8 days. $50,000 per rocket taken down.

        In a real war there would be thousands of missiles incoming and Tel Aviv is target rich.

        Even Qassams engage the system and are very cheap to make. Iron Dome is too expensive . It is a metaphor perhaps for Israeli militarism and Jabotinsky thinking

        So overall- jury still out perhaps.

        The Israeli people were scared. That throws another parameter into the mix. For all his cruelty Lieberman can’t reassure his people.

    • BillM
      November 21, 2012, 5:18 pm

      President Obama announced the US would intensify efforts to stop weapons “smuggling” into Gaza. This is almost exactly the language the US used (and followed up on) vis a vis Hezbollah in 2006 after Israel’s embarrassing defeat there. This is one more sure sign that Israel lost: that the US steps and increases its direct involvement in to help control the damage.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

      But how can we know that Hamas have all these missiles in reserve? The Israelis claim to have destroyed huge stocks of them in the initial attack. Now, don’t get me wrong, I NEVER take Israeli propaganda at face value, but given that they do appear to have had excellent intelligence in this war (courtesy of the spies whose execution Zionists are crying crocodile tears over) isn’t it at least possible that just this once, they were telling the truth? Perhaps the reason Hamas did not fire its more sophisticated weaponry is because they were not able to do so?

      • BillM
        November 21, 2012, 10:47 pm

        I don’t find that claim very plausible. There wasn’t evidence of a single advanced missile fired, not from day one of the bombing campaign. It’s not like the factions were keeping them all in one place. If you said there were some fired initially, but then they tapered off, I could see the argument that Israeli attacks destroyed them. But they weren’t used at all, even before the bombing really got going. That’s an intentional act.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 22, 2012, 9:43 am

        So if they weren’t used at all, how do we know they exist? Couldn’t it be just bluster? We all know that Hamas – like the IDF – are prone to bluster and bravado.

      • ritzl
        November 22, 2012, 4:46 pm

        @BillM Great discussion. FWIW, I did see a missile launched from Gaza that had canards. That strongly suggests guidance, or at least some sort of [crude or otherwise] dispersion minimization. That may not be “sophisticated,” but it is a significant advance in available missile tech and tactics.

        link to cdn.theatlantic.com

        Erp. Nevermind. The Atlantic mislabled the pic as a rocket from Gaza. That image is actually an Iron Dome intercept missile.

        Wider view of different launch: link to worldtribune.us

      • BillM
        November 23, 2012, 12:35 am

        Maximus, Hamas is definitely prone to bluster, but as for anti-tank missiles, Gaza factions have used them numerous times, including immediately prior to the current bombing (it was an Islamic Jihad missile taking out an Israeli jeep that Israel claims started the whole campaign). Likewise, anti-aircraft missiles have been fired a couple times, and there have been numerous reports of them moving from Libya to Gaza. As for anti-ship missiles, that’s certainly doubtful. There has been no direct evidence of their existence in Gaza so far, and they may not be there at all.

      • Citizen
        November 23, 2012, 7:58 am

        I watched a female IDF spokes person say on Cable TV news that Israel had destroyed all the (advanced, Iranian-derived) missile sites of Hamas except for less than a dozen.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 23, 2012, 10:07 am

        Right. So the IDF can count the ‘Iranian’ missiles right down to the last rocket, and yet can’t figure out in which home their ‘high value Hamas target’ was living with his family?

    • American
      November 21, 2012, 6:56 pm

      BillM

      I agree. Hamas won big…….if Israel sticks to the agreement…and if Hamas can control rouge rocket groups. Netanyahu looked very, very unhappy, would hardly raise his eyes during his announcement. Someone kicked his ass.

      And Secretary Clinton’s remarks on what comes next

      ”Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike. President Morsi and I discussed how the United States and Egypt can work together to support the next steps in that process. In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel. Ultimately, every step must move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region.

      WHAT IT MEANS:

      1. Hamas and Israel are negotiating (see first line of agreement)

      2. Hamas has made progress toward what it has wanted all along. As far back as 2008, it offered Israel an end to rocket attacks in exchange for Israel lifting the blockade. In fact, Hamas implemented a ceasefire, as promised, while Israel never lifted the blockade.

      3. Israel has agreed to ending target assassinations. This, combined with the lifting of the blockade, has been Hamas’ demand since Israel placed Gaza under siege. Now Israel has agreed to end the assassinations and incursions into Gaza of any kind.

      4. At this point we do not know how extensive the lifting of the blockage will be. But, as guarantor of the agreement, President Morsi will likely insist on serious action.

      5. All attacks on Israel from Gaza will end. Hamas has repeatedly offered this to Israel in exchange for, as above, the lifting of the blockade and the end of the assassinations. Both conditions were met.

      6.The United States has conceded the full legitimacy of the Morsi government and, by extension, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas also is legitimated by the agreement to which it was an equal party.

      7. Netanyahu got absolutely nothing. Happily, the people of southern Israel have but his goal was to break Hamas not defend Sderot. He utterly failed.

      8. Additionally, Secretary Clinton has committed the United States to helping to achieve “security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike.” (She named Palestinians first, not an accident). This could mean resumption of the peace process, the idea of which gives Netanyahu cold shivers.

      Bottom line: Hamas, President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood came out ahead. So did the people (not the government) of Israel. The big losers were Netanyahu, Barak and their war cabinet and, above all, the innocent civilians of Gaza who were killed in Netanyahu’s war. Nothing makes up for the loss of the innocents, especially the children, but it would be even worse if the aggressor had achieved his goal. Nonetheless, he is a war criminal, just a failed one…(mj)

      • CloakAndDagger
        November 21, 2012, 9:54 pm

        @American – Excellent analysis. I concur.

        I am currently visiting Beijing on business. The general Chinese populace knows little or nothing about the ME conflict in general and this one in particular. The government has issued statements backing Egypt’s mediation and is clearly not in the Israeli camp.

        On a related note, I may be the last believer in the 2-state solution. Based on the recent poll of 90% Israelis favoring ethnic cleansing of Palestine, I have no confidence in the 1-state solution, which would be apartheid in nature, at best. In fact, it would be worse for the Palestinians as their oppression would become a domestic matter rather than an International one given the Western media coverage, unlike what happened in SA.

        I do not, however, believe that a negotiated 2-state solution is possible. It will have to be done by external force by the assertion of the 1967 borders. How that will happen remains to be seen.

        In general, I am positively inclined with this most recent development. I, however, do not give Obama any credit for this.

  9. upsidedownism
    November 21, 2012, 4:55 pm

    I agree with BillM, but it is also a victory for Egypt and President Morsi.

    Netanyahu suddenly seems a diminished figure.

    One can only ask how Netanyahu, and his zionist allies in the US, will react.

    • Mayhem
      November 22, 2012, 5:44 pm

      What did Israel get out of this episode:
      1. More world sympathy and strong confirmation of support from major Western powers.
      2. Proof that even a blockade of Gaza was insufficient to prevent munitions from being smuggled into Gaza.
      3. Further sidelining of Abbas and his doddering Fatah colleagues.
      4. Validation of Iron Dome.
      5. Further proof that real peace with Hamas is impossible.
      6. Demonstration of the vital need for continued Israeli control of key areas of the West Bank that, under any scenario, would give it even minimally defensible borders. A withdrawal to the 1967 lines would likely result in Israel facing yet another military and terrorist front that could, by linking up with regional actors such as Iran, Egypt, and Hizbullah, threaten Israel’s continued existence.

  10. Denis
    November 21, 2012, 5:59 pm

    This agreement is so patently one-sided and toxic it will not last a week, probably not 48 hours. As a lawyer, if I ever convinced a client to sign a piece of rubbish like this, I would expect to have my license suspended permanently and “moron lawyer” inked on my forehead.

    Maybe the text published on HuffPo (below) is a hoax, but assuming Dan Rather is not working for Reuters, here is a quick analysis:

    Paragraph 1A says Israel “should” stop all hostilities (the quo). Paragraph 1B says the Palestinians “shall” stop all hostilities (the quid). The difference between “should” and “shall” means that Palestinians are the only party obligated to perform on this agreement. The Israelis are not obligated under the agreement to do anything. This is equivalent to having two unruly children and telling one “Go to your room” and telling the other “It would really be great if you would go to your room, but it’s up to you.”

    Paragraph 1C is the one that has the Gazans out in the streets as I write this, waving flags, cheering, and patting each other on the back for defeating Israel. Yeah, right. Read it again. It says opening the crossings and facilitating movements etc. “shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.” Two problems are immediately evident.

    First “dealing with” opening crossings is so subjective it could mean anything, which means it has no meaning. The paragraph does not say that Israel shall open the crossings and facilitate movement of residents, and there’s a reason it does not use that sort of clear language – this thing is a fraud.

    The second problem with the clause “shall be dealt with after 24 hours” is that it is entirely open ended. “After 24 hours” includes one decade, 10 decades, . . . eternity.

    Clinton was a Harvard trained, highly paid lawyer. She knows exactly that this “contract” is so one-sided as to be a complete capitulation by the Palestinians. It would be thrown out of an American court as so unbalanced and unconscionable as to be considered an adhesion contract, which is to say, not binding on anyone.

    I just hope that the text I am looking at is a hoax or a terrible mis-translation. Because if this is the actual “agreement” the Palestinians have sacrificed 150 lives for nothing. It will only take a few days for the people on the streets to see that they have been duped. And then???

    Agreement of Understanding For a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

    1: (no title given for this section)

    A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

    B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

    C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

    D. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

    2: Implementation mechanisms:

    A. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.

    B. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

    C. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.
    (Reporting by Marwa Awad; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

    • ToivoS
      November 21, 2012, 7:32 pm

      Denis the differences of “shall” and “should” and “must” and “maybe” are totally irrelevant when it comes to Israel. There is some quite unambiguous language in any number of treaties, resolutions, and so forth that Israel has agreed to over the past 60 years and that has not deterred them from violating those agreements as it so chose. They are utterly untrustworthy. The important thing is that in the mean time (until Israel decides to do otherwise) the killing has stopped.

    • American
      November 21, 2012, 8:08 pm

      Denis,

      If you read Tony Karon’s report below you see should and shall aren ‘t going to make much difference because nothing except the cease fire is worth anything right now.
      This agreement was just to stop the fighting.
      There is a lot of very tricky stuff coming up that Isr will try to take advantage of but it’s going to be a ‘bargaining fight’ and chess game and up to Egypt to stay out of the traps Isr will try to lay.

      link to world.time.com

    • Citizen
      November 23, 2012, 8:04 am

      @ Denis

      Yes, good legal analysis of “the contract.” Israel also makes sure weasel words are in the right spots. Also, I don’t think any Israeli official even signed the damned thing.

  11. IL1948
    November 21, 2012, 6:56 pm

    Make up your minds… Was Israel big meanie all the powerful weapons who bullied the poor helpless Palestinians? Or, as BillM argues, was Israel outgunned by superior firepower of the Palestinians and ran away with its tail between its legs?

    Please get you talking points straight!

    • BillM
      November 21, 2012, 10:45 pm

      No talking points. People have different opinions.

    • Cliff
      November 22, 2012, 8:37 am

      Not sure, Cleveland, but I’ll go with the former.

  12. Klaus Bloemker
    November 21, 2012, 7:06 pm

    Now that the “Pillar of Defense” is gone, which pillar of cloud
    will lead the Israeli people the way in the desert?
    —————
    “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead
    them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light;
    that they might go by day and by night.” – Exodus 13:21
    (Jewish Voice for Peace)

  13. chinese box
    November 21, 2012, 7:16 pm

    Other than showing off their Iron Dome system, I don’t see what Israel got out of this. At best it was a draw.

  14. chinese box
    November 21, 2012, 7:21 pm

    Anyone else notice that “we won’t negotiate with Hamas (“terrorists”) is the same line the US used with the PLO for years…pretending they don’t exist isn’t going to solve anything.

    • Shlomo
      November 22, 2012, 4:57 am

      Hamas was monitoring the Iron Dome, too, seeing how many missiles got through. All it has to do is launch enough light, long-range missiles without payloads to deplete the anti-rocket rockets. Then, Dome-less, Israelis can suffer equal casualties.

  15. ToivoS
    November 21, 2012, 7:53 pm

    I have to say after seeing most of the arguments there remains one big question: what was it exactly Israel was trying to accomplish when it provoked this war 7 days ago and then now agrees to a cease-fire? There have been numerous suggested answers, many mentioned here, of various degrees of originality but none satisfactorily answers this question.

    Of course, the coming Israeli election must be considered as a major factor. But if so: why the cease fire today? By election day this will no longer a big factor and might even morph into some negatives.

    I worried that Bibi saw this as a way of throwing a monkey wrench into possible US-Iran negotiations. Most agreed that such negotiations could not happen if Israel was actively slaughtering Gazans. But if the cease-fire holds then this factor will dissipate. That makes me worry that just maybe Obama made some promise that he would not cross any of Bibi’s red lines which would obviously sabotage any possible agreements.

    Right now it looks like Israel has lost. Hamas looks heroic and not hurt militarily, Mursi is acclaimed as a world leader and Israel looks like a bully that is just thrashing about blindly.

    • seafoid
      November 22, 2012, 1:11 pm

      The whole thing is bizarre. Very hard to make sense of Israel’s assassination and ceasefire.

      One of the Haaretz analysts says Hamas’ job is “to keep Israel’s southern border quiet”. In return for this Israel will continue to starve Hamas’ constituency. That makes a lot of sense, not.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 22, 2012, 1:44 pm

        i am reserving judgement til after the 29th. my hunch has always been the attack was related to the un bid. of course there is a possibility my instincts are way off but i’m a little mystified how the loud urgency for getting abbas to back down, announced directly after our election, has just seemed to evaporate. so either it is considered crucial or it isn’t.

        one week from today, i suppose i will have my answer after that. but what did netanyahu/israel get in exchange for backing off? unless the whole thing was provoked to test the iron dome, which seems completely absurd. it’s really mindboggling.

      • Denis
        November 22, 2012, 3:16 pm

        Ditto that. DouglasReed below has an interesting angle on the UN bid, too.

        What we see on paper is not the agreement. It’s a spoof. The real deal will never come to light, but if Abbas suddenly drops the UN bid, we’ll know at least a part of it.

        I don’t really know where Hamas stands on the UN bid and whether they would be a part of the observer status. Abbas doesn’t speak for Gaza and the PLO is the only representative of the Palestinians recognized by the UN. So I don’t know what leverage Bibi has over Abbas viz this Gaza attack.

        Nevertheless Nov29 is going to be a pivotal day in this entire ugly history, at least for the West Bank. If Abbas drops the ball, I’d doubt that he’ll be able to continue usurping power. Not even Blumberg would have that sort of chutzpah.

        Another thought is that if those 6 alleged Israeli spies the Gazans executed were, in fact, spies, and they were all Israel had inside Gaza, then the IDF was left shooting blind. With no eyes/ears, I’m not sure what the IDF does, except for a land invasion, which would also be futile without knowing what to invade, where to go, and where to look for the “bad” guys. So that brief “interaction” in the middle of an intersection may have been the end of the road for Operation Son of Cast Lead.

        Strange.

      • seafoid
        November 23, 2012, 1:39 am

        Israel has thousands of collaborators in Gaza.

      • Denis
        November 23, 2012, 8:05 am

        Uh, oh . . .

  16. gingershot
    November 21, 2012, 8:18 pm

    Internationalizing the IP conflict is exactly what Israel has been trying to prevent for the last six decades …. Right up there with keeping Palestine away from the ICC

  17. yourstruly
    November 21, 2012, 8:28 pm

    as uncle same takes cover behind egypt, turkey & other me nations, seems like the tail may no longer be wagging the dog. what remains to be seen is whether the u.s. government, distances itself even more from the clutches of israel & its american advocates. if so, could it’s next move be to bring Egypt into the Quartet on the Middle East (USA, UN, EU & Russia)? all the while insisting that nothing’s changed, that israel remains america’s staunchest ally in the mideast, blah, blah, blah & so forth. But the pundits (& the public) will sense that israel’s value vis-a-vis u.s. interests in the mideast is on the decline, with the importance to america of egypt and other mideast nations decidely on the upswing, which translates into justice for palestine, sooner rather than later. such developments, long overdue, can be looked upon as vindicating those discredited state department officials, among others, who from the start opposed turning palestine into a jewish state.

    • CloakAndDagger
      November 21, 2012, 10:03 pm

      Good comment. If Egypt becomes a serious diplomatic player, then that is a game changer.

  18. douglasreed
    November 22, 2012, 12:24 pm

    War crime charges worry Israel

    The Palestinian Authority’s bid to be accorded Non-Member status of the United Nations, scheduled for November 29th., needs a minimum of 97 votes in the General Assembly, which it is likely to achieve without problem. And this is why Israel’s leaders are worried because they know that they could then be liable to face war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

    More than 1000 civilians were killed in Gaza by the Israeli Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, a figure that included more than 300 children under the age of 16. A UN Fact Finding Mission report subsequently alleged that Israel had committed war crimes against the civilian population.

    In a desperate attempt to avoid the possibility of being indicted and brought before the Court to answer such charges, the Israeli government has threatened to withhold tax revenues for the PA, if it should proceed with the UN vote. (Such an illegitimate action would probably mean the EU having to meet the deficit).

    This last seven days, Israel has killed 162 Palestinians in Gaza and injured hundreds more, again mostly civilians, in a perceived attempt to bolster the current Israeli government’s re-election on January 22nd – assuming that individuals are not by then standing trial at the ICC, in The Hague, to answer war crimes charges.

    Israel is today reported by the BBC to have lost 6 civilians in the latest conflict i.e. 96.3% less than the total of those killed by the IAF in Gaza.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 22, 2012, 1:01 pm

      I thought only 3 Israeli civilians were killed? One soldier was also killed, as was another man whom the press described as a ‘civilian’ but according to some sources was in fact a military contractor. Had he been Palestinian, this fact would have been emphasised and he would have been considered a legitimate target.

      • Bumblebye
        November 22, 2012, 3:50 pm

        The 6th man is described by commenter jon s as a Captain, who died of his wounds. He may have been wounded in the altercations (Israeli provocations) before the main Gaza assault, so probably doesn’t belong in this accounting, any more than Israel would include the Palestinians killed since Nov 8 but before their assassination of Jabari in the death toll, or those who die subsequently of their injuries from the bombing.
        Israel is still at a mere 3 civilian deaths.

  19. NickJOCW
    November 23, 2012, 5:39 am

    The White House has now publicly praised Morsi for his peace brokerage, thus obliging him to dust down Mubarak’ s dictatorial powers since praise from the White House is the kiss of political death to an Egyptian leader. Hey ho and round we go; the US and Israel surely deserve each other.

  20. Citizen
    November 23, 2012, 8:07 am

    Israel-Palestine – what is the U.S. national interest? Here is Israel’s Playbook: link to nader.org
    … …

    And here is the Math on the latest Israel V Gaza round: link to ifamericansknew.org

  21. Denis
    November 23, 2012, 8:09 am

    From LogoPhere link to logophere.com

    Gazan farmer Abdelhadi Qdeih Anwar, 21, shot in the head and killed by IDF on farmland in the buffer zone on Gazan side of the border, at Khan Younis. 19 wounded. This is an indication of how the Palestinians have been duped. They think that Paragraph 1C of the agreement gave them free movement after 24 hours, whereas the agreement actually says that is just an issue that “shall be dealt with.” Now we know how Israel intends to deal with it. Some “spokesman” for the Palestinians, Sami Abu Zuhri, called this a violation of the agreement. It was not. It was the result of the Palestinians being duped.

  22. Citizen
    November 23, 2012, 8:13 am

    Here’s working links:

    Israel’s Playbook:
    link to commondreams.org

    The lastest Israel & Gaza Math:

    Israel & Gaza: the math: link to ifamericansknew.org

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