SOLYMONE BLOG

ISRAEL'S LEADERS RIVALRY ON GAZA CEASE-FIRE


Four days after the launch of "Operation Cast Lead" in the Gaza Strip, the first signs of a rift among the Israeli leadership over the campaign's management began to emerge.
  • Even though the IDF operation has thus far been considered a relative success (and the ministers who approved it have benefited from an improvement in their political standing as a result), a dispute has erupted among the country's senior political echelon over the question of when to begin the process of winding down the operation.
  • The disagreement is rooted in the antipathy that has taken hold among the major players on the Israeli side as well as the tense jockeying for votes. In addition, there remains much confusion in the decision-making process that is similar to that which was cited by the Winograd committee report which investigated the lapses during the Second Lebanon War.
  • There are many similarities to the Lebanese affair, only this time the differences of opinion are given greater public airing. Four days after the breakout of the Second Lebanon War, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (and deputy IDF chief Moshe Kaplinsky) sought to set in motion a diplomatic process that would put an end to the fighting. Prime Minister Olmert balked.
  • In the current situation, the argument centers on an exit strategy. The defense minister told Olmert and Livni on Tuesday night that Israel needs to consider a 48-hour cease-fire during which Hamas' willingness to cease its launching of rockets will be tested. Nonetheless, Barak is convinced that Israel should not take any unilateral measures.
  • Rather, it should exploit one of the proposals, including that offered by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, for a two-day lull in the fighting so as to address any pressing humanitarian issues.
  • In the meantime, the group has succeeded in demonstrating its military capabilities. The Israeli assault appears at times to be akin to blowing off steam, while Hamas continues to launch projectiles.
  • Hamas is not unleashing its entire arsenal and the operatives in its military wing are displaying operational discipline. Residents of Gaza have raised questions about the Israeli operation.
  • "What exactly has Israel managed to achieve?" one asked. "Many killed, many destroyed buildings, and Hamas continues to stand on its feet. Politically, it's stronger than ever."
Source: Haaretz Correspondents
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