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Gaza ceasefire takes shape

Egypt, Jordan, and Germany are working on a ceasefire plan for Gaza. Fatah thugs would take control over Gaza crossings into Israel. International monitors will again be deployed at Rafah Crossing with Egypt (the same brave monitors who fled the Hamas takeover in 2007). Egypt will promise to stop weapons smuggling through tunnels, which it cannot do because of the small number of troops allowed into Sinai under Camp David agreement, nor wants to.

International monitors will police Gaza to see if Hamas accumulates weapons stocks. Similar monitors in Lebanon proved completely useless, unwilling to report weapons smuggling.

The ceasefire plan involves the parties remaining at their positions; thus Israel would occupy northern Gaza. Hamas is unlikely to agree to that, and Fatah is too weak to take over. France and Germany are pushing Egypt and Jordan to send their troops into Gaza, but to no avail. Indeed, Palestinian terrorism against Israel is not their business.

Gilad Shalit’s return is not on the agenda, though it’s inconceivable that Hamas would refuse it as a condition of ceasefire.

Hamas rejects any ceasefire that doesn’t involve the opening of all border crossings. Israel refuses this commonsensical demand for no reason.

The situation is unpredictable. Hamas may accept the ceasefire or it may bet correctly on guerrilla warfare against Israeli troops. Egyptians may agree to send troops into Gaza, but the Knesset might refuse to change the Camp David peace treaty to that end. The Egyptian troops in Gaza may collude with Hamas and let it stockpile weapons, or they may extirpate the terrorists with non-liberal measures. After Fatah is welcomed back into Gaza, Hamas may slowly re-surge like the Muslim Brotherhood resurged in Egypt, or it may fall into oblivion. Though IDF and Fatah suppressed Hamas in the West Bank, Hamas members will exploit any temporary weakness of Fatah to resurge.

Our guess is that Hamas will rebuild itself because it’s the only Palestinian organization that is honest and popular. Hamas will also make inroads into Israeli Arab society: the recent riots demonstrated that Israeli Arabs, in need of political self-identification, are much more pro-Gazan than their West Bank counterparts who hate being identified with lawless and poor Gazans.

Hamas’ victory is good for Israel, as it stops the peace process.

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