Saturday, November 17, 2012

Egypt Tries to Broker Cease Fire and Truce in Gaza. Israel Responds Provocatively

As the Israeli state mobilizes 75,000 reservists, that country's active military units are building staging areas quite close to their Sinai border with Egypt.

Early Saturday Joseph Dana tweeted:
The south of Israel is transforming from civilian areas in a sea of military bases to one large military base.
This must concern the Egyptian government, which, by its peace treaty with Israel, is limited to what kinds or quality of military forces it can station in the Sinai peninsula of its own country.  The Egyptian Sinai is 23,000 square miles. Israel is somewhere between 8,019 and 8,522 sq miles.

Friday, the new prime minister of Egypt, Hashim Kandil, visited Gaza, meeting with Hamas leaders:
Anyone hoping that Friday morning's visit to Gaza City by Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil might ease the growing conflict between Israel and Hamas was sorely disappointed. In a brief two-hour trip, Kandil made no public mention of a cease-fire or ending the violence that has so far killed 23 people on both sides. Instead, he said Egypt’s loyalty rested squarely with Gaza's people.
"The cause of Palestinians is the cause of all Arabs and Muslims,"’ he said during a visit to Shifa Hospital. "Palestinians are heroes." 
His presence failed to bring even a temporary lull in the fighting. Though Israel had agreed to halt airstrikes during the visit if militants also held their fire, rockets from Gaza struck Israeli towns almost as soon as Kandil arrived.
After PM Kandil left Gaza, the Israeli air force blew up the place where the head of the Egyptian government had just been:
Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas headquarters before dawn on Saturday, including the office of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, as conflict in the region entered its fourth day.
As Israeli mobilization infrastructure grows along the Egyptian-Israeli border, Kandil will be tested by his constituency on how to respond to a military buildup along a vulnerable border that has been violated before.

The Gaza operation seems to me to be a 2013 election campaign ploy by Netanyahu and Lieberman that might backfire badly.  The bubble those two guys are trapped inside of keeps them from realizing how much the environment for a gratuitous campaign season war has changed in four years.

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