I write this briefly, away from my computer — out of the country, actually. Briefly, but with bewilderment, anger, distress. It is difficult indeed to remain "cool" in the face of the news I’m picking up regarding the "temporary ceasefire (tahdiyah)" with Hamas in Gaza.
It weakens us, and strengthens Hamas. This is because it gives Hamas enhanced credibility and leverage, and permits this terrorist group to continue to build its armaments and army inside of Gaza, as we sit quiet — against that inevitable day when they will hit us again. (In fact, Haniyeh of Hamas is denying that a commitment was even made to stop smuggling, which commitment Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman, says was made.)
It renders it more credible, as well, for Fatah to form a unity govenment with Hamas — a unity government that will seek to negotiate with Israel, even as Hamas continues its policy of eradication of Israel.
Release of Shalit is not part of the deal, and, incredibly, even as we’ve stopped shooting at Hamas, Olmert is talking about stepping up negotiations on Shalit. So, instead of telling them that if they want us to refrain from blowing the heads off their leaders they had best release our soldier, we’re still prepared to discuss releasing some of their terrorists in return for Shalit.
There’s talk , as well, particularly from the terrorist factions, of extending the "ceasefire" to Judea and Samaria after some months. This would serve their purposes well.
Right now it appears that the so-called leaders of Israel have made collosal errors in judgement — whether for their own political reasons or under duress from the US becomes irrelevant.
The one redeeming possibility is that they expect the ceasefire to collapse in short order and believe this will provide a stronger rationale for doing that major operation into Gaza that must be done. In the end of the day Hamas must be taken down.
There are mutiple precedents for Hamas "ceasefires" falling apart rapidly, and even now Islamic Jihad and others are saying they may not honor the lull in violence, threatening to respond against Israeli actions in Judea and Samaria, as well
There is no written agreement. All of this is fluid and tentative word of mouth.
Within less than a week I will return to my computer and comment more extensively.
For now I strongly recommend visiting the IMRA site: www.imra.co.il , which provides several links to articles about this issue — note in particular the interviews in the last couple of days with Israeli officials, who hedge and evade on the question of when we would respond to evidence of terrorist activity inside Gaza.
Additionally, a piece from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, "Hamas’s Interest in the Tahdiyah (Temporary Truce) with Israel," by Jonathan Halevi, which provides important insights: