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Ismail HaniyeMubarak’s government is pushing Hamas to accept a ceasefire that includes international monitors in Gaza as the only alternative to Israeli occupation. Such an occupation would strip Hamas of its power and possibly deal it a lethal blow. Egypt needs Hamas in Gaza to provide an outlet for its own Islamists.

Hamas accepted the ceasefire in principle, despite Iranian pressure to continue fighting, but objects to international peacekeepers or monitors on what it believes is Palestinian soil. The terrorist group reportedly agreed to Turkish peacekeepers on Gaza’s border with Egypt, but Israel would be stupid to accept them, as pro-Palestinian attitudes run high among rank-and-file Turks.

Hamas also rejected a fifteen-year truce with Israel that it accepted two years ago.

The ceasefire would involve no concessions on Hamas’ part, but only return us to the early December situation. After Israel’s withdrawal, Hamas will re-arm.

Another soldier is critically wounded by friendly fire. Five soldiers died in similar incidents during the Gaza campaign.

Despite the addition of more than 10,000 reservists to IDF troops operating in Gaza, the face of battle hasn’t changed. IDF still engages in strategically meaningless sporadic fights and makes forays into densely populated neighborhoods, but hasn’t occupied Gaza.

The third phase of the operation, which the government still cannot decide upon, must include occupation of the Gaza Strip, ending bombardment, offering security to Arabs under martial law, and combing the place for terrorists and their infrastructure. Israel didn’t mobilize a sufficient number of troops. Instead, the government pushes for a ceasefire, which would allow it honorable withdrawal from Gaza.

Condi Rice prepared the infamous UN resolution 1860 on Gaza ceasefire. Upon learning of it, Olmert pressed hard to get President Bush on the phone and convince him to order Rice to abstain from voting.

Livni is happy with the resolution.

Ahmed TibiThe Central Elections Committee banned the UAL and Balad parties for trying to undermine the Jewish state. The case will go to the Supreme Court, which will reverse the ban as it did in 2003.

On one hand, the CEC decision is utilitarian: Avodah and Kadima hope to get the Arab votes which would have gone to the banned Arab parties. On other hand, it was unthinkable a few years ago to ban two mainstream Arab parties: in a backlash from the Oslo years, Israeli society is clearly moving to the right.

Balad and UAL representatives confirmed that their goal is to destroy the Jewish state: they admitted seeking total equality and ethnic-blind democracy in Israel. Arab MK Tibi vowed to never accept Zionist goals. Fair enough. He put it excellently: “The State of Israel is democratic for Jews and Jewish for its Arab citizens.” That’s how it should be.

UNRWA aid Gaza…which Israel allowed into Gaza yesterday.

Defense Minister Barak ordered deployment of a field hospital in Gaza to treat wounded Palestinians. Israeli medics will treat Hamas voters under enemy fire.

Barak reasons thusly: Hamas doesn’t allow the wounded into Israel for treatment, so we will bring treatment to Gaza. That’s a lie: Hamas imposes no such restrictions and cannot practically control every wounded Arab. Rather, the Israeli government doesn’t want to bring in hundreds of wounded Palestinians for obvious security reasons, but is too politically correct to say that.

The field hospital is imagined as PR-friendly action, but it is not. Foreigners will see this unusual step as a confirmation of unusual atrocities.

Cynthia McKinneyRecently, leftists attempted sailing from Cyprus to Gaza for the fifth time; after being rammed by the Israeli Navy, the boat was repaired in Lebanon. Apparently, someone intervened in the repairs, and on its sixth voyage to Gaza the Dignity had to return to Cyprus due to its damaged generator.

The Israeli Navy stopped and turned back a small Iranian boat with just two tons of aid for Gaza. It is strange that the Iranians sent such a small vessel to carry humanitarian cargo. What else did the boat carry?

Chavez, AhmadinejadLast week, Venezuela expelled Israel’s ambassador in a demarche over the operation in Gaza. Astonishingly, Israel did not follow the diplomatically standard procedure of reciprocally expelling the Venezuelan ambassador.

Chavez hedged his bets and welcomed the ambassador back in a humiliatingly reduced status of charge’ d’affaires.