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article imageIsraeli media is showing an inclination that the end is near

By Allon Sacks     Jan 16, 2009 in World
Haaretz online has published articles anticipating an endgame. With a possible ceasefire on the horizon, and Israel’s leaders divided on the Egyptian truce deal, Haaretz looks at how stopping now would be the right time.
A ceasefire deal is being looked at while Israel continues to pound Gaza.
The Egyptian truce proposal, of which Haaretz obtained a copy Thursday, contains three clauses.
First, Israel and the Palestinians will agree to an immediate, time-limited cease-fire, during which the border crossings will be opened for humanitarian aid and Egypt will lead negotiations on a long-term truce.
Second, the long-term truce must include provisions on both border security and an end to the blockade of Gaza.
Third, Fatah and Hamas should resume reconciliation talks.
Egyptian officials told Haaretz they believe the initial, short-term truce should last a few months, to allow plenty of time for negotiations on the long-term cease-fire.
However, the proposal does not require Israel to withdraw from Gaza during the initial truce, and Hamas has said it will not accept the proposal unless that omission is corrected.
Israel will most likely not accept this deal if they are not certain that Hamas will not use this time to rearm, therefore the final deal may need to involve a substantial agreement that will stop this from happening. This kind of clause may cause the Hamas to refuse signing anything also.
The Israeli leaders are divided on the exact clauses a ceasefire must include and have stated that they are sending defense official Amos Gilad back to Cairo on Friday and will await his report before discussing the matter further.
Meanwhile Israeli foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni will be on the way to Washington to discuss a possible joint effort in handling the Iranian arms smuggling routes to the Gaza strip. These efforts may include a joint effort of military intel.
Israel is feeling that the operations potential will soon be exhausted
Haaretz also ran a report in Hebrew titled: “We came, we bombed, we deterred – now let’s get out.”
The lengthy article starts by focusing on the feeling that nearing the end of the third week of the military operation, positive outcomes for Israel are obtainable. That even though the continuation may still be a long, ugly and exhausting effort, Israel now has a chance of ending this round of fighting in the position of obtaining a relative improvement in the reality of the South, at least for the next few months.
The article goes on to report that Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, earlier this week had a round of marathon talks with a group of reservist Generals, who all in recent years ended active military careers, who all apart from one recommended pulling out now before the situation gets more complicated, and that the best of the Israeli deterrence had already been accomplished by last weekend. When he asked them when they thought Israel should pull out, they all answered: Yesterday. This seems to be the answer he was looking for, as this week he had decided that the operation had exhausted the potential of it objectives.
Stopping now is not that simple though as politically, neither Barak, Livni nor Olmert want to come off as the yielding “dove” that drove a stick into the wheels of the campaign and dictated a premature end to the effort, therefore a truce or ceasefire deal that serves an end to their purpose will be required in order to expedite the process.
Whatever happens, Hamas is not likely to want to sign a deal that allows Israel to claim any sort of victory, while Israel will probably not withdraw until they see that their efforts have claimed in the least - the deterrence they are seeking to the rockets.
In 2006 Israel withdrew from Lebanon after what was described as a failed military campaign. Since then the Israel-Lebanon border has however been relatively quiet, which some actually feel was a mission partly accomplished, and such an outcome in Gaza should definitely be described as a win by Israel.
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