Israel, U.S. and Egypt Agree to Stop Gazan and Iranian Smuggling

Reporting on Israel’s Gaza offensive is a little like being on a merry-go-round. A report in the Jerusalem Post on Jan 14th headlines with Hamas accepts cease-fire ‘in principle.’ A few paragraphs down Hamas says that cease-fire talks are premature, but then…”Hamas is prepared to accept a short-term cease-fire with Israel…,”

Today, Haaretz reports that Israel’s cabinet will vote tomorrow (Saturday, January 16th) to decide whether to enact a “unilateral cease-fire with Hamas.” Such a decision means that Israel will end Operation Cast Lead WITHOUT an agreement with Hamas. A Israeli government spokesman says that “great progress” has been made between Israel and Egypt to garner Egypt’s aid in stopping arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

Today, in anticipation of Israel’s cabinet decision, the U.S. and Israel signed an agreement (read the text here) to also work together to stop weapons smuggling.

The deal includes measures to fight arms smuggling from Iran to Gaza, with the policing to take place throughout the route by which the arms reach Gaza, including patrols of the Persian Gulf, Sudan, and neighboring states.

The deal also “unequivocally” condemns “terrorism as unjustifiable, wherever and by whomever committed and whatever the motivation, in particular, the recent rocket and mortar attacks and other hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from Gaza by terrorist organizations.”

It also said that “Israel, like all nations, enjoys the inherent right of self defense, including the right to defend itself against terrorism through appropriate action.”

In the meantime, Secretary of State Condolezza Rice is still advocating for a two-state solution and Hamas is vowing “revenge” after the IDF killed one of Hamas‘ most senior leaders in an air strike today:

A Hamas official vowed vengeance for Siam’s death. “The blood of Said Sayyam will be a curse on the Zionist entity,” Mohammed Nazzal told Al-Jazeera television.

Some things never change.

Said Sayyam was the head of Hamas police. What a charming group of thugs they are. A few posts back I linked to a video provided by Simply Jews. I think it’s appropriate to add it to this post. Here’s a look inside the Hamas police at a wedding:

If you do not have time to watch, here’s the message, but reading this paraphrased snippet in no way replaces the video. This is not something you see everyday.

The narrator asks: if Hamas are Palestinians, why are they killing Palestinians? Why are Muslims not saying death to Hamas?

The narrator asks: Why did Palestinians dance in street to celebrate 9/11/2001 (there’s footage of the 9/11 celebrations in this video), but they kill their own people for dancing and celebrating a wedding? The answer, the narrator says: Palestinian leaders want their people to be sorry, to cry. The question again: Why would the Palestinians not rise up against Hamas?