Sunday, May 25, 2008

Israel and Hamas continue their indirect negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza. According to Yedioth Ahronoth the most likely agreement would for two stages. The first would commit Hamas to cease all firing of rockets and other attacks from Gaza and to stop all smuggling of arms, money and combatants from Sinai into Gaza. In return Israel would commit to cease all military activities in Gaza. In the second stage, Israel would lift its blockade of goods in and out of Gaza and negotiate with Hamas for the release of Israel captured soldier Gilead Shavit in return for Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners. Reaching agreement on this exchange will likely take a long time because Hamas's list of the prisoners it wants includes many whom Israel claims are murderers. Since Israel's declared policy is not to release such prisoners, a decision will be needed at the ministerial level, i.e., agreement among PM Olmert, Foreign Affairs Minister Livni and Defense Minister Barak. In view of Olmert's political fragility and impending competition between Livni and Barak to succeed him, these ministers will not rush to any decision.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home