Divining the News (DTN)

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Mubarak Calls for ‘Unconditional’ Ceasefire in Gaza, must end military operations at once

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Mubarak, What is the angle?

He did not say he is opening the border and allowing food in.

Nor did he say he is accepting the wounded into Egyptian hospitals, nor say Israel is not allowed to overfly Egyptian territory, as it is doing.


Everyone says something new is going on here; something different. The residents of Egyptian Rafah are used to the sounds of rockets and shells exploding on the other side of their border, but they’ve never heard the sounds they’ve been hearing over the last 20 days. Twenty-five miles further into Egypt the general hospital at el-Arish is used to receiving the Palestinian wounded. The staff have never seen injuries like these before. The hospital forecourt is swarming with ambulances, paramedics, press. The wounded are raced into casualty.

The Palestinians are mostly silent; each man working out where he finds himself and what he’s going to do. Fearing for their wounded and fearing for those they’ve left behind, they are silent but unfailingly courteous.


So actions talk louder than words.

Do his comments forestall an Egyptian uprising against him?

Do they serve to distance his regime from complicity with Israel?

And do they anyway only say what is about to unfold. According to most reports Israel is going to ceasefire and withdraw.

The Al Manar report stresses that Mubarak won’t interfere with the tunnels used to supply Hamas, this is curious. It does not tally with Mubarak’s refusal to blame Israel. Maybe it is just impossible to stop the tunnels due to local sympathies. Maybe Hizbollah let Mubarak know they can make life difficult for Egypt if they interfere with the tunnels.

Today for the first time I see a report of antitank weapons being used by Hamas.

5 IDF soldiers wounded, 1 seriously, by anti-tank missiles in Gaza

An IDF soldier was seriously wounded, another moderately wounded and three lightly wounded in the Gaza Strip Saturday afternoon, by anti-tank missiles fired by Hamas combatants.

The soldiers were evacuated for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

Earlier Saturday, four troops from the IDF’s Paratroopers Division were seriously wounded during clashes with Hamas gunmen close to Gaza City.


Jan 17, 2009 15:07 | Updated Jan 17, 2009 15:09
Four paratroopers seriously wounded in Gaza clashes

Four troops from the IDF’s Paratroopers Division were seriously wounded during clashes with Hamas gunmen close to Gaza city on Saturday.
The four – two officers and two soldiers – were hurt from mortar shell fire. The IDF is investigating the incident and has not ruled out friendly fire.


From http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/187258

Here are two reports, one from Al Manar (Hizbollah’s web site) and the other from Debka (Associated with Israeli intelligence) on Mubarak’s statements

Mubarak Calls for ‘Unconditional’ Ceasefire in Gaza

17/01/2009 Egypt is securing its own border with the Gaza Strip and will never accept any foreign observers on its soil, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said on Saturday.

“Egypt, in its efforts to stop the aggression, is working on securing its borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip and it will never accept the presence of foreign observers on its territory,” Mubarak said in a television address. “I say that is a red line we will not allow to be crossed,” he added.

Mubarak also called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire inthe Gaza Strip and a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.

“I ask Israel today to end its military operations immediately,” Mubarak said in his address. “I call on its leadership for an immediate unconditional ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Strip,” he said.

Earlier, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Saturday that Cairo is “not bound” by a US-Israeli agreement to stop arms smuggling to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Egypt “is absolutely not bound by this agreement,” on halting arms smuggling through tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, Abul Gheit told reporters.

The deal was signed on Friday in Washington by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni but details of the accord were not disclosed by Washington

Meanwhile, Mubarak called for an international conference to help rebuild Gaza once Israel’s offensive against the Palestinian besieged strip is over. “Egypt will call for an international conference for countries and international donor groups,” said Mubarak in his televised speech. It will “muster the necessary material to rebuild Gaza to recompense what has befallen its infrastructure and institutions from destruction and great losses,” he said.

The war has caused damage to the Palestinian infrastructure totaling some 476 million dollars, the Palestinian central bureau of statistics said on Saturday. Official figures show that since the start of Israel’s offensive on December 27, around 4,000 dwelling places have been destroyed as well as 48 government offices and buildings, 30 police stations and 20 mosques. The extensive list also catalogues damage to roads, schools, the electricity grid and the water network. In total, some 14 percent of all the buildings in the battered territory had been either damaged or destroyed. Source

Mubarak: Israel must end military operations at once, unconditionally. Israel reconsiders ceasefire

DEBKAfile Special Reprot

January 17, 2009, 5:34 PM (GMT+02:00)

Cairo disavowed Saturday, Jan. 17 any understandings with Israel and the US on collaboration for ending the flow of weapons to Hamas and launched a fierce attack on Israel.

In a televised speech to the nation, hours before the Israeli defense cabinet was to announce a unilateral ceasefire ending the three-week Operation Cast Lead, President Hosni Mubarak said Israel must accept an “immediate unconditional ceasefire and a complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip.” No international monitors would be allowed on Egyptian soil, he said.

His foreign minister Aboul Gheit said Israel was drunk on violence.

DEBKAfile reports following the Egyptian assault, Jerusalem is weighing its options. One proposal is to leave Israeli troops in Gaza until Hamas stops firing rockets – around 20 each day.

The cabinet’s approval of a ceasefire was supposed to hinge on understandings with the US and Egypt for an end to the rocket fire and the flow of smuggled weapons to Gaza. DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that Israeli forces will end up withdrawing eventually without achieving those goals.

The Egyptian foreign minister went on to contradict Friday’s statement by foreign minister Tzipi Livni in Washington that an understanding with Egypt to prevent the flow of weapons into Gaza was parallel to the memorandum she signed with US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

“We have no commitment towards this memo whatsoever and it does not concern us” he told reporters, and called Israel “the main obstacle to a ceasefire.”

The Egyptian foreign minister went on to say the smuggling tunnels were used mainly for food – not arms.

Cairo’s sharp comments followed claims by Jerusalem sources of good progress in talks with Egypt on cooperation for ending the arms smuggling to Gaza.

DEBKAfile‘s sources report that this was not the case, any more than Hamas was a party to any separate deal with Cairo for ending its rocket attacks on Israel.

A Hamas leader in Beirut Osama Hamdan said Saturday that, even if Israel calls a ceasefire and withdraws its troops from Gaza, his organization will continue to fight the Jewish state. “We were not and will not be defeated,” he said.

Our sources add that the memorandum signed Friday with the US contains to guarantees to halt weapons smuggling into Gaza – only a commitment of resources and international cooperation to this end.

Cairo refused to meet a key Israeli demand – supposed to dovetail with the US role -to seal off as military zones Sinai regions abutting on the Gaza Strip to block off arms shipments from Iran through the Philadelphi corridor.

The shuttle conducted by the Israeli official, Amos Gilead, between Cairo and Jerusalem, produced no breakthrough in Egypt’s position. All Cairo was prepared to contribute to ending the Gaza conflict was an offer of intelligence cooperation with Israel and a task force of Egyptian civilian engineers to work on solutions. Source

Written by morris

January 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Posted in Egypt, Gaza, israel

Tagged with , , , , ,

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