Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jumping the Gun, Massing the troops

OK, my Hallelujahs were premature and a little naive. Check out reports that an intransigent Islamic Jihad, together with the armed wing of Hamas, already have blasted three rockets across the border--with no injuries this time-- purportedly because Israeli troops are still on patrol inside Gaza near Jabaliya. So hostilities persist. The key players could well choose to call the whole truce off, while pointing fingers (as well as guns) at each other.

Israel's Defence Minister Amir Peretz has warned that ground operations would resume in Gaza if the Qassam rocket fire is not halted immediately. Besides, Israel had only agreed "not to initiate any offensive action", and the IDF's pre-emptive style of defense is infamous. It's worrying that radical Palestinian militant factions are scrapping less than six hours into the ceasefire.

We'd hope this nastiness in Gaza could be rolled back: nearly 200 Palestinian civilians have been killed by IDF shelling in the Strip since summer, along with an equal number of militants. And in the past ten days alone, two people strolling in the southern Israeli town of Sderot were struck and killed by rockets. So it's the same grim scenario: kill and overkill, over and over again.

Ozzy Bee, an informed source, told me the buzz about backdoor approaches being made on Saturday to Israel concerning a Gaza truce, as soon as Mahmoud Abbas could hammer out an agreement with the fractious factions. But Ozzy is bothered by reports that the United States is arming Abbas and Fatah forces. Naturally, if Palestinians will be killing each other off, it makes sense for Israel to step back, look magnanimous, and save ammunition.

Lt-General Keith Dayton, who handles regional security for the Americans, told the daily Yedioth Ahronoth that the US is indeed beefing up and training Abbas's presidential guard, although he did stress that Washington is not preparing them to confront Iranian-armed Hamas. "We must make sure that the moderate forces will not be erased," Dayton said.
The US is pushing for at least 1,000 troops from the Badr Brigade, a Fatah-dominated force based in Jordan, to be allowed into Palestinian territories to bolster Abbas's guard, which numbers about 3500 right now.

Somehow, it does not quite smell as if peace is in the air.

1 comment:

Balagan Boy said...

Ok, so maybe you can risk a Hallelujah or two, cuz even tho it's a brittle ceasefire, both sides will attempt to enforce it. Don Macintyre of the UK press tells why it is in their interests in Monday's Independent. here