World View: Israel Rejects 7-Day Ceasefire, Agrees to 12-Hour Ceasefire

This morning's key headlines from

  • Israel rejects 7-day ceasefire, agrees to 12-hour ceasefire
  • Ebola victim escapes from hospital, putting Freetown at risk

Israel rejects 7-day ceasefire, agrees to 12-hour ceasefire

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been running around from country to country in the Mideast trying to sell a 7-day "give peace a chance" plan. The plan has already been rejected by both Hamas and Israel. The details of the plan were not published, but the issues are being widely discussed: 

  • Hamas cannot agree to a ceasefire without being able to show a tangible benefit to the Palestinian people. As we reported yesterday, Hamas has become so weakened that it may not survive without being able to demonstrate some success. Without that, its legitimacy and authority would be seriously undermined at home, and it would be displaced by Islamic Jihad or another more radical group in Gaza.
  • In particular, Hamas is insisting that any sort of ceasefire or peace agreement must involve lifting Israel's "siege" or blockade of Gaza. ("24-Jul-14 World View -- Palestinians harden demands for agreement to a Gaza cease-fire".) Neither Egypt nor Israel is willing to permit free flow of people and materials in and out of Gaza, as both countries consider Gaza to be a security threat.
  • Israel has said that its major objective is to destroy Hamas's tunnel system, as well as its supply of rockets. According to some reports, Israel has already destroyed about 6,000 of Hamas's supply of about 10,000 rockets and wants to complete the job as quickly as possible.
  • Hamas will not consider any ceasefire agreement unless Israel's military withdraws completely from Gaza. Israel will not consider any temporary ceasefire that requires such a withdrawal, so that the military would effectively have to start over when the ceasefire ends. In fact, reports indicate that even in a ceasefire, Israel would insist on continuing to blow up border tunnels that run underground from Gaza into Israel. This is completely unacceptable to Hamas.
  • Any agreement would almost certainly require Egypt to be involved. Egypt was a principle mediator in the last Gaza war in 2012, when Mohamed Morsi was president. But Morsi has been ousted, and relations between Egypt and Hamas are now extremely tense.
  • Hamas might agree to a 7-day ceasefire, but Israel believes that this would only give Hamas time to import more powerful weapons from Iran. (Iran sends weapons to Sudan; the Sudanese transport them to the Bedouins in Egypt's north Sinai; and the Bedouins smuggle them into Gaza through underground tunnels.)
  • In particular, the Israelis are using tank technology called "Armored Shield Protection-Active Trophy missile defense system," known as the Windbreaker. Hamas has no anti-tank missiles that defeat these tanks. Israel believes that Hamas would use a 7-day ceasefire to import Iranian missiles capable of defeating the tanks.

Israel did not want Kerry to leave the Mideast empty-handed, so it agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire on Saturday. 

Both Hamas and Israel have taken very hard positions. The logic of the situation is that neither side can agree to a cease-fire without the humiliation of backing down, so it appears most likely that this war will continue until Israel can claim to have achieved its objectives -- destroy the tunnels and destroy the rockets. Israel probably has one or two more weeks to do that. Jerusalem Post and Debka

Ebola victim escapes from hospital, putting Freetown at risk

The deadly Ebola virus continues to spread rapidly in western Africa. Since February, there have been 1,093 Ebola cases to date in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, including 660 who have died. Sierra Leone officials are extremely concerned that a woman with Ebola in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, densely populated with about 1 million inhabitants, escaped from the isolation ward of a hospital when her family stormed the hospital and forcibly removed her. Ebola is not airborne, but it's spread through physical contact, and it's feared that this woman might start a chain reaction that spreads the disease rapidly through Freetown. 

Another possible emergency situation is occurring in Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria with 5 million people. On Tuesday, a 40-year-old man from Liberia arrived by plane in Lagos and passed out in the airport. He was taken to a hospital and diagnosed with Ebola. He died on Thursday. It's feared that he might have infected other people on the plane, and those people might be roaming Lagos affecting other people. An infected person may not show any symptoms for up to two weeks, but can still infect other people before showing symptoms. Reuters and Nigeria Guardian News

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, John Kerry, Israel, Hamas, Gaza, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Armored Shield Protection-Active Trophy missile defense system, Ebola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria 

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