Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gareth Porter on Hamas offer of a ceasefire

As revealed here in earlier posts, and as verified in a systematic study by Professor Nancy Kinwasher of MIT and her colleagues, the ceasefire put in place in June 2008 was in fact "working". (Kinwasher's study is consistent with official Israeli data.) The arrangement began to unravel in early November after Israel, not Hamas broke ceasefire. In this timely analysis, Porter notes that Hamas offered, through a mediator (General Omar Suleiman, Head of Egyptian Military Intelligence) an extension of the ceasefire to Israel on December 14th. Hamas insisted that Israel end its draconian embargo of Gaza. Israel did not respond to the offer, but it is clear that Israel had no intention of lifting the embargo, which has pauperized Gazans to the point that half of the population fell below the poverty line when the war began. (Incidentally, as the Gaza war continues, UN officials estimate that 80 percent of the population now lacks the means to support itself.)
Israel is still intent not to lift the embargo lest Hamas claim that it has won, whereas Hamas is not willing to accept a ceasefire unless the embargo is lifted. So, the humanitarian crisis grows, the likelihood of further wars grows and people, civilians increasingly, die.

MIDEAST: Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December: "WAR ON GAZA
IPS reports on the consequences of Israel's devastating bombardment of Gaza
MIDEAST: Tehran Opts for 'Moral Support' in Gaza War"

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