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Is Israel heading for war?

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August 22, 2011 by IJV

Latest analysis from Miri Weingarten:

1. Ceasefire Holding

After a few hours of confusion and a midnight consultation by Israel’s cabinet it seems the Egyptian brokered ceasefire is holding, for now. The ceasefire now depends on how warlike public discourse is in Israel. Livni and Kadima are leading a campaign for a big offensive, but some media say that moderation is good in light of tensions with the new Egypt.

See here for my current analysis of the situation. It’s from yesterday but still holds for a while, until the next development…

2. Mass Arrests in Hebron

At the same time there was a very big arrest operation in the night between Saturday and Sunday in Hebron/Khalil in the West Bank, focusing specifically on Hamas, in which over 100 people were reportedly arrested in roundups of Hamas activists and politicians. PCHR Gaza (www.pchrgaza.org) has issued an initial report on the arrests. Reportedly there were then clashes on Sunday but details on this are unclear (to me) so far. In Israel journalists have told me there is a strict gag order on the media, hence the absence of any mention of this in Israeli press. Lack of interest of other outlets is of course due to the battle of Tripoli.

3. Eilat Attackers Identified

Finally, there is now a first report from Egypt on identification of the Eilat attackers. Not much detail but it seems unsurprisingly that they were from Sinai. Only one source on this so far.

It is hard to gauge the general picture from all this but perhaps it has something to do with how Israel wants to come out of this operation politically. It seems clear from the start that a main aim has been to weaken Hamas. But it is unclear so far whether Israel still hopes to do this in a manner that forces an end to the reconciliation deal (and jeopardizes the UN statehood bid), or if they now accept the deal and the Palestine Statehood bid as unavoidable (esp as Spain has come out clearly for it) – and just want to minimise Hamas participation in the new future Palestinian politics. Maybe they don’t know themselves yet….

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