Israel and Palestinians Agree to Gaza Cease-Fire. Will It Last?

First News post!

Taken from Yahoo.com:

The Israeli cabinet decided on Saturday night to unilaterally end its 21-day war against Islamic militants in Gaza as of 2 a.m. Sunday, bringing an end to a conflict that has left more than 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

MV: Anyone notice the death difference? Or is it just me?

On Sunday, just hours after the Israeli statement, Hamas announced that it too was declaring a weeklong cease-fire, while also demanding that Israeli troops withdraw from Gaza within the week.

After holding talks with European leaders in Jerusalem on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “We don’t want to stay in Gaza, and we intend to leave as soon as possible.”

Both sides traded shots after their separate announcements, but Gaza residents say that the cease-fire seems to be gaining strength, and Palestinians have emerged from their refuges to assess the damage of Israel‘s three-week long air and land assault against Hamas in Gaza.

MV: Fire has not ceased? How will America react to this?

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told newsmen after the Saturday night cabinet meeting, “All of our goals have been achieved successfully. Hamas was beaten.” He added, “If Hamas decides to keep shooting, we’re ready to strike back forcefully.”

MV: If this is true then why has the firing not ceased?

Israel was facing rising international outrage over its Gaza offensive, in which nearly one-third of those killed were women and children, according to Palestinian health workers. In trying to root out Hamas fighters, Israel subjected the Gaza Strip, which teems with over 1.5 million Palestinians, to scorching fire from aircraft, naval gunships, artillery, tanks and troops backed by helicopter gunships.

Ending the fighting now allows Israel to boast that it has hammered Hamas and restored the Jewish state’s military might in the region, which was tarnished by its inconclusive war in 2006 against Hizballah fighters in Lebanon. Israel is also satisfied by promises made by the United States and the Europeans to provide technical assistance that will supposedly help the Egyptians stop the flow of weapons to Hamas in Gaza through smugglers’ tunnels. The U.S. pledged on Friday to help stem the international traffic of arms from Iran and other suppliers to Gaza.

MV: If such is true then such activities should help Gaza.

The Gaza conflict has raised Hamas’ stature in the Arab world and, more importantly, among Palestinians. In Arab eyes, Hamas are plucky champions – David fighting the Israeli Goliath with homemade rockets instead of a slingshot – while Israel sees them as killers who hide behind their civilians and who are willing to sacrifice them for propaganda triumphs. But if Israel insists on imposing the same punitive sanctions it kept on Gaza’s 1.5 million people before this war, it will only strengthen Hamas and fan the Palestinians’ hatred towards Israel.

MV: What I like about this paragraph is that its COMPLETELY true, this will at the end strengthen our hate towards them.

With so much blood spilled in Gaza, it will be difficult for Israel to gauge the proper response to another provocation by Hamas. What will happen once the cease-fire begins without Hamas? If a rocket is fired from Gaza and lands a crowded Israeli schoolyard, what then? How will Israel respond? There is not much left in Gaza to destroy.

MV: And finally my favorite part:

With so much blood spilled in Gaza, it will be difficult for Israel to gauge the proper response to another provocation by Hamas. What will happen once the cease-fire begins without Hamas? If a rocket is fired from Gaza and lands a crowded Israeli schoolyard, what then? How will Israel respond? There is not much left in Gaza to destroy.

MV: What now Hamas? What now?

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