Israel desperate for a ceasefire
Yesterday Haaretz and Ynetnews reported that Hamas had accepted the Egyptian truce offer. Today Debka and Haaretz are saying similar but toned down a little (see later in this post).
The leader of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom Uri Avnery predicted that at the end Israel would return to the truce terms agreed on 7 months ago. Now Hamas is also demanding compensation. He also said that if Israeli military casualties rise then the Israeli electorate would turn against the war. All very accurate.
The Israelis were totally wrongfooted in Gaza just like they were in 2006 in Lebanon. They had no idea of the scale of the resistance, how fitting for warmongers
From todays Haaretz
Hamas agrees in principle to Egypt offer for Gaza truce
Israel must try to seek a quick cease-fire, said the [defense] source, and the Israel Defense Forces must try to avoid ‘complications’ – army talk for losses.
An exerpt from the Al Ahram reporter in Gaza – yesterday
The resistance has caused some damage on the Israeli side. Israel’s Channel 2 military commentator Rony Daniel described Hamas’ reaction thus far as ‘shocking’ to Israeli army commanders. Which is why, he said, the IOF is now advancing ‘very slowly’ in the rural areas surrounding Gaza city. Yediot Aharonot’s military expert Alex Fishman reported that the IOF soldiers he spoke with are fearful of the possibility of being captured by the Palestinian side.
As the Israeli war enters its third week the expectations of Yuvul Diskin, head of Israel’s domestic intelligence prior to 27 December, that Gaza would fall in 36 hours, have proved unrealistic. Resistance fighters in Gaza continue to fire rockets into south Israel almost a week after the beginning of the ground battle and after two weeks of heavy aerial bombardment. Israel’s strategy at the moment seems to be expanding its offensive to cause more civilian casualties to pressure Hamas into accepting a ceasefire under Tel Aviv’s conditions, according to Israeli commentator Ram Eidly in an interview with the Hebrew Israeli Radio.
From todays Debka:
Emerging Gaza ceasefire allows Hamas to restock rockets – and fire them
January 15, 2009, 10:39 AM (GMT+02:00)
DEBKAfile’s military sources sum up the Egyptian-Hamas ceasefire accord […]. One senior officer told us: ‘For this we didn’t have to go to war.’
[…] Hamas took this as a signal to intensify its assaults on the southern Israel population: 20 missiles and rockets were launched before 10:00 a.m.Thursday; […] one of which landed more than 70 km from Gaza – the furthest distance ever reached by a Hamas rocket.
[…] Hamas will be free to restock its arsenal through the Philadelphi smuggling tunnels and calibrate its missile fire – in exactly the same way as Hizballah replenished its armory from Syria and Iran after the 2006 war…
Meanwhile AP and all the other press (I have seen) are reporting that Israel is continuing slowly to advance into Gaza City. Amongst the fiercest clashes yet.
These illusive tunnels: The palestinians learned from the Israelis, how to be elusive.