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Red Cross in GazaThe International Red Cross Committee lashed out against an Israeli initiative to establish field hospitals in Gaza. The ICRC chairman sided with Palestinian patriots and announced that Gaza’s hospitals have sufficient capacity. Palestinians say that the hospitals are overcrowded.

Israel also agreed to treat all Palestinian wounded. The costs are unlikely to run into billions, as Hamas prevents the civilians from entering Israel for treatment.

IDF in GazaAs we had expected, Israel ended the war in Gaza two days before Barack Obama’s inauguration. Palestinians continued firing rockets after Israel announced a ceasefire, and will probably continue after it takes effect.

This war was excellent by any measure. Israeli intelligence mapped everything down to individual terrorists’ houses, booby-trapped buildings, and fields. Training was superb: IDF built a mock refugee camp in the Negev for exercises. Tactics was great: IAF thoroughly destroyed all resistance before the troops went in. Coordination between IAF, artillery, tank corps, and infantry was smooth. The government had the good sense to end the operation before Israeli losses in urban combat skyrocketed: IDF troops killed the brave but disorganized Palestinian fighters in “turkey shoot” fashion.

Now it’s Iran’s turn.

After the unilateral ceasefire went into effect, several rockets from Gaza hit Israel and sporadic clashes continued in Gaza. Overall, the violence subsided.

The reason for the reduced clashes is that the IDF doesn’t start them anymore. Almost all the encounters during the past three weeks were due to Israelis rather than Palestinians.

The Israeli government hopes for a different reason: that Hamas ordered a halt to the attacks, but splinter groups continued them on their own. Even if that is true, the ceasefire merely returns us to the early December situation of sporadic rocket attacks.

Israel’s refusal to negotiate with Hamas directly created an absurd situation where we cannot sign a ceasefire agreement that would detail each side’s obligations.

Anything less than full cessation of rocket attacks would deal an electoral blow to Avodah and Kadima, as the public would hold them responsible for not following through on the army’s successes.

IDF is investigating itself for striking UN targets in Gaza. The probe will certainly acquit the army, because guerrillas used the UN installations to fire at IDF, but the show of an investigation is needed to assuage the foreigners.

Hamas’ chief negotiator in Cairo said the Israeli delegation didn’t even raise the issue of Gilad Shalit’s return as a condition of ceasefire.