‘CAST LEAD’ – DAY 13 [01/08/2009]

* On Thursday 01/08/2008 the operation in Gaza spilled over to Northern Israel when 4 Katiusha rockets were fired to Nahariya and Shlomi, wounding two residents of an elderly citizens’ home (see – Nahariya 01.08.09). In another attack a Palestinian tried to put on fire a gas station in Maale Edomim, in the Eastern outskirts of Jerusalem.  

* In Gaza Israeli Army stayed on hold without any significant move. The intensity of fire from both sides was reduced, while both sides are waiting for the next diplomatic or political move. The Hamas strategy to withdraw from all open areas, where they do not have a chance to confront the sophisticated Israeli Army, to concentrate in heavily populated areas, to impose on Israel the responsibility of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, boosted by Arab and pro Arab media and by International aid organizations, to launch from time to time a rocket toward Israeli towns in order to cause growing frustration in Israel is working perfectly well. Three days ago, a Hamas delegation arrived to Egypt to plea for a cease fire (see Cast-Lead 10) – now, on day 13, the Hamas has the self confidence to reject any offer which includes any international or Pro Fatah supervision on their border with Egypt. The Hamas clearly feels that Israel is reluctant to enter the populated cities of Gaza, that Israel time is running out and that Israel suffers growing pressure over the Humanitarian crisis.

* The political process is moving in two directions:

A. An effort to reach an Egyptian – Israeli understanding, backed by the Palestinian Authority, which is focused basically on an effective border control. So far there is no agreement about the role of an International mechanism to monitor the border and especially to fight the Rafah Tunnels system, which is used to arm the Hamas. It will take few more days to form such a mechanism and the time of Israel is running out.  

B. A UN resolution to hold fire immediately, regardless of the situation on the ground, and a withdrawal of Israeli forces after a cease fire is in fact fully implemented. Indeed UN Security Council reached such a resolution (Resolution 1860) on Tuesday 01/08/2009 midnight, New York time, which only added to the pressure on Israel to hold its fire. The Israeli campaign is clearly stuck in. While Israel is running out of options the Hamas is recovering and enlarging its options.

* Israel managed to destroy the rockets industry, to temporary block and destroy the Rafah Tunnels and to kill about 600 Hamas operatives, most of them foot soldiers. Israel failed to severely cripple the Hams leadership, the chain of command and the determination of Hamas to go on with the fighting despite the losses. Israel is under growing pressure to cease fire. It is the first time since operation Cast Lead began that the pendulum sways toward Hamas and Israel is hinting its readiness to compromise.     


***  See daily reports – Cast-Lead Diary  *** 


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