Israel-Gaza Ceasefire Comes with Pledge from Obama to Seek More Defense Aid for Israel


dissenter.firedoglake.com

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. There was no signed agreement. The ceasefire is essentially “quiet in exchange for quiet,” as one Israeli diplomatic source put it.

In the announcement, Clinton reiterated the US’s position that “all rocket attacks must end” and said the US would be working with Egypt in the coming days on the next steps in the process. She said improvement of conditions for the people of Gaza and providing security for the people of Israel would be sought in any long-term agreement and there was “no substitute for a just and lasting peace.”

Amr explained the ceasefire would go into effect at 9 pm Cairo Time. Egypt would “assume responsibility to the Palestinian cause and finding a just solution for it.” Egypt will also work for Palestinian unity and an end to division among Palestinian factions.

The blockade or siege of Gaza was not part the terms of the ceasefire. Hamas leaders had pushed for that to be included in the ceasefire. Both Egyptian and Hamas leaders had included that in the ceasefire proposal sent to Israel yesterday. Israel rejected that along with a demand that targeted assassinations of people like Hamas leaders end. The bombing of Gaza re-intensified until less than twenty-four hours later there was this announced ceasefire.

As the New York Times reported, Clinton flew to Egypt yesterday to “consult with Egyptian officials in contact with Hamas” and, after this meeting, the demand for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza was entirely absent from the announcement and unmentioned as something that would be specifically addressed in the days ahead.

The statement from President Barack Obama’s administration that was given to the press indicated the administration would “use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.” President Obama would also seek ”additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs.” According to Haaretz, this was part of conversations that led Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to decide to give a ceasefire “a chance” to possibly help “stabilize” the situation “before exerting more force.”

A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released in March of this year detailed, “The Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency’s FY2013 request for joint U.S.-Israeli co-development is $99.8 million which is $6 million below the President’s FY2012 request. However, according to one source, ‘Though the administration’s request for missile defense monies has dropped somewhat in recent years—from $121.7m. in 2011 to $106.1m. in 2012 to 2013’s $99.8m.—during each of those cycles, Congress has consistently increased the final allocation.” In July, Obama approved $70 million more in aid for Iron Dome.

Essentially, the Obama administration is providing Israel with an incentive to restore nothing more than the status quo. The status quo is what is fueling the cycles of violence. The blockade, arbitrary detention and the policies of apartheid, including issues over water and food distribution, freedom of movement, etc, should be understood as part of what creates an environment where Palestinians are moved to respond to Israel with violence.

“Each firing of an interceptor missile costs the Israeli government tens of thousands of dollars, according to the defense ministry,” Voice of America reported.

Those interceptor missiles being used to prevent Israel from suffering the consequences of its policies toward Palestinians are being funded with US taxpayer dollars. Israel’s failure or refusal to end these policies ensures there will be more interceptor missiles and more maintenance necessary for the Iron Dome. That means the US has to invest tens of millions more dollars. That may be acceptable to Israel because it can weather hundreds if not thousands of projectile attacks and get used to it, but it should not be acceptable to Americans.

Funding for Iron Dome should not be seen as part of the solution to the conflict in the short-term or long-term because it gives Israel a mechanism for continuing the collective punishment and systemic abuse of the human rights of an entire population of people.

Hopefully, Egypt and Turkey can play a significant role in fostering a long-term agreement that addresses the blockade and other policies. There will be many stories of despair, pain and suffering as they try to recover from the complete decimation of homes, infrastructure and numerous civilian buildings. Even though ceasefire has been announced, Israel continued to bomb Gaza right up until the time it was to go into effect.

Egypt, Turkey and other Arab countries will need to make up for the United States’ complicity because right now the US is not concerned about their plight. Official statements are virtually indistinguishable from statements from Israeli officials. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak even said this latest operation in Gaza would not have been possible without US support. The US wants what Israel wants and Israel does not want Gaza to become anything other than the open-air prison it is now because then they would not have control.

Update

Full text of the agreement:

Agreement of Understanding For a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip

1: (no title given for this section)

A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

D. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

2: Implementation mechanisms:

A. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.

B. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

C. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.

203 Comments

  1. #1 by aj on November 23, 2012 - 1:29 am

    1. Murder, bomb, slaughter
    2. Pause
    3. Extort more money and equipment from American slave state
    4. Go back to #1 and repeat

  2. #2 by annebeck58 on November 23, 2012 - 4:29 am

    I wondered why “they” stopped.
    Hillary bribed them, again, and as usual.
    And now that evil witch is going to go and work on the Egyptians? I wonder how much of this had to do with the Egyptian civilians going in to try and defend Gaza? I suppose, given this insane agreement and Hillary’s inane words, Egypt must have troubled Obama (and maybe Bibi, too.) After all, Mubarek is out, and the Egyptian people are pretty ticked-off (have been for years) over what’s been done to Palestine.
    Now I get it.

    So, we can now resume regular movement in Gaza? I suppose this means the Israeli Offensive Forces will go back to murdering only one Palestinian each three days (about what it was the year leading up to Op Pillar of Cloud). They can go back to arresting children and assaulting women of Palestine. They can tear up and set fire to olive groves, and wall-off more farmland from the rightful owners. And they can build more settlements (ooops, neighborhoods, right?) for Jews, ONLY, on more Palestinian land. What do the Palestinians need that land for? Their houses are demolished, so it’s not like anyone’s using it- right??

    This, after all, how they think and what they do– all the time.

    And the US-Government will give them more of MY money, for being so kind as to stop (momentarily) blowing up civilians with bombs. I guess this is why the skies over Gaza are quiet, today. Bibi got paid to quit.
    Zippy.

    We are supposed to celebrate and congratulate the evil Zionist entity for this?

    EGYPT: I beg of you; Stand STRONG. Please do not fall for any more of this terror! If nothing else, after Gaza and the rest of Palestine, could come you.

  3. #3 by Vickie Jacobs on November 23, 2012 - 4:57 am

    You know aj, I never thought of that. You’re right.

  4. #4 by Bob on November 23, 2012 - 6:36 am

    No informed rational observer of events in Palestine could really believe that the Israelis have any intention of honoring their side of this deal. They have been given the necessary loop holes which they will almost certainly use to avoid lifting of the blockade or an end to its “targeted assasination campaign”.

    Israeli pronouncements will go something like this…”They have taken great steps to open up the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza (when in reality they will have done virtually nothing on the ground) but that they must maintain strict control of the flow of people and material into and out of Gaza in order to prevent the “terrorist Hamas” from importing more rockets and missiles to shoot at Israelis…” They will explain their renewal of “tageted assassinations” by claiming that nothing in the cease fire granted pardons to “criminal terrorists” in Gaza who have Jewish blood on their hands…

    I predict that it will take very little time for this ceasefire to unravel. Within a month, it will become obvious to everyone on the ground in Gaza that the border crossings are not really open…at least not in any meaningul way (particularly when it comes to commerce). It is also a near certainty that Israel will carry out another wave of “targeted assassinations” before the upcoming Israeli elections. When this happens, we will be right back where we were a week ago.

    The most obvious and fatal flaw in this agreement is not even the loopholes left for the Israelis or even the failure to tie the ceasefire to any attempt to actually resolve the underlying issues (like the occupation and Palestinian independence), it is that this is not an agreement between Hamas and Israel. The Israelis continue to proclaim that Hamas (and hence the elected government of Palesstine) is a “criminal terrorist organization”. What this means is that no matter what else is said within this or any other agreement, until the Israelis recognized Hamas as the legitimate government of the Palestinians and cease treating it as a criminal enterprise, the Israelis will continue to use this as a pretext not to even discuss any of the real issues with the Palestinian government.

    For those who mouth the now tired and old Zionist line that if the Palestinians would dump Hamas and elect a “non-Terrorist” government that the Israelis would make peace, I can only poiht to the hapless President Abbas whom the Israelis not only refuse to make peace with, they are openly threatening his very life for the temerity to approach the UN seeking “observer strate status” for Palestine. If the Israelis had any intention of ever accepting a Palestinian state, they would have no problem with UN recognition of a Palestinian state, observer or otherwise. Their reactions to Abbas’ attempts to go to the UN reveal clearly for all to see that they have absolutely no intention of ever seeing a “two state solution” and that theirs is a program of genocide against the Palestinian people whose ultimate goal is the complete dispossession of all Palestinians and a Jewish state from the Mediteranean to the Jordan….and beyond.

    It amazes me that US officials, who know better than anyone that this is the reality, can stand in front of the tv cameras and talk about “peace process” and “two state solutions”…. Is it any wonder that the US government is so hated around the world?

  5. #5 by Bob on November 23, 2012 - 4:09 pm

    UPDATE: The Israelis opened fire on a group of 300 Palestinian civilians who approached the border fence (but did not attempt to breach it) in order to hang a Hamas flag there….1 person was killed and 10 wounded. Under what law can border police open fire on civilians who are NOT ON THEIR TERRITORY? Even if these civilians had breached the fence, the use of live ammo would not have been justified. The Israeli could have easily detained these people or at most used crowd control methods. Of course the Israelis will claim that the IDF was only “DEFENDING” against an attempted “invasion” by Palestinians..

    Nothing has changed and this cease fire is going to be no different than any of the previous ones. The Israelis will continue their war against the gentile population and the gentiles will continue to resist any way they can.

  6. #6 by Naeem on November 23, 2012 - 4:57 pm

    annebeck58 – the israeli’s topped because an iranian commander warned of SURPRISES if israel decided to invade. Everytime iran promises a surprise it usually comes to fruition to the loss of the zionist regime. Hamas managed to hack into israeli national news TV and show a clip of an israeli jeep being blow up by a anti tank missile also not forgetting losing a F-16 to a surface to air missile. Fact is the resistance has the kornet and Rpg- 29 which would be a graveyard for any invasion force and Bibi knew this he was hoping that he would be able to assassinate hanniyeh just before a ceasefire so to throw hamas into disarray.

  7. #7 by truthis123 on November 23, 2012 - 5:43 pm

    The real surprise is that people are surprised by the relentless, remorseless Zionist campaign for aggrandizement, dominance, and total control of the Middle East. It is a campaign that will not end, unless America’s democratically-elected officials develop a COLLECTIVE backbone, and tell The Israel Lobby that American tax-payers are fed up shoveling billions of their dollars annually into a morally bankrupt entity. Israel dictates USA foreign policy – at the expense of America’s image throughout the world. Future generations of American children will remain unaware that “our ally” repays its’ paper debts to the USA with – as every American intelligence agent knows – American tax-payer dollars. American children and grand-children hope they will escape the nightmare of America’s chronic fiscal crises. However, infra-structures in their country continue to crumble, alongside their dreams for educations and careers. Current and coming generations would do well to study the root cause of the grim future they face. Their abandonment by America’s Congressional representatives, whose priorities include funding gated-communities for fanatical Zionist “settlers” whose occupation of Palestinian land remains a violation of international law, is well- documented. The children of the USA can now look at the pictures of Palestinian children and ask: Is this what our leaders have in store for us?

  8. #8 by Ingrid B on November 23, 2012 - 6:45 pm

    @Bob, the parasitic psychopaths have already violated the truce..

  9. #9 by annebeck58 on November 23, 2012 - 8:35 pm

    This, breaking the so-called, ceasefire.. it’s despicable.
    But, did we not expect this?
    Since cast-lead ops, the murders of Gazans and other Palestinians has continued. Why would we trust the zionazi state to actually leave these people be? Have they done so in the past? Certainly not.

    It just adds more death and destruction from the side of the terrorist-state of IZ.
    Won’t people finally call for it to end??

    Perhaps I have too much faith in humanity.

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