Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What? No Israel-Hamas Cease Fire?

Seems like hostilities are escalating to me, but Hillary Clinton's swooped in for some shuttle diplomacy, so who knows? Maybe she'll work some magic in the end after all?

At the Los Angeles Times, "Hope for cease-fire fades":

Clinton Netanyahu
GAZA CITY -- Hopes rose Tuesday for a halt to hostilities after seven days of devastating fighting between Israel and Hamas, with officials from the militant group predicting a cease-fire would take effect at midnight.

But as the evening wore on, Israeli and Egyptian officials began downplaying expectations, warning that no deal had been signed.

According to one senior Hamas official, the parties reached a “major breakthrough” Tuesday when Israel agreed to halt attacks against the Gaza Strip, stop targeted killings of Hamas leaders and ease border restrictions.

Israel is seeking an end to the rocket fire into its territory by Gaza militants and assurances – backed up by Egypt and the international community – that Hamas won’t be allowed to rebuild the weapons caches that Israel has destroyed.

Israeli officials have not commented on the talks, which are being conducted in Cairo through Turkish and Egyptian intermediaries since Israel and Hamas don’t formally recognize one another.

All sides hinted that a deal might be reached Wednesday. Arab League leaders and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have sought to help negotiate the deal; President Obama also sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the region from Cambodia.

By sending Clinton, "we are all hoping for a de-escalation, we are all hoping for a restoration of calm, we’re all hoping to open space for deeper, broader conversations," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday in Washington.

PHOTO: The Israeli Prime Minister's Office, on Twitter.

Added: From Robert Spencer, at FrontPage Magazine, "Should Israel Agree to a Cease-fire?"