As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Jerusalem, the Arab press on Wednesday is speculating on an imminent ceasefire.
“Gaza: Extended ceasefire and the border crossing issue to be postponed,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, which features an AP photo of a crying Palestinian woman after she was told to leave her home in Gaza.
Sources in Hamas and Islamic Jihad tell the daily that Israel has proposed a mutual ceasefire for 90 days to test the goodwill of both sides, before proceeding to discuss Palestinian demands.
The Palestinian side reportedly rejected the Israeli offer, demanding an immediate ceasefire; a halt to targeted killings; and the opening of border crossings as the ceasefire takes effect.
A-Sharq Al-Awsat, a Saudi-owned daily published in London, brings the Israeli version of the deliberations.
Senior Israeli sources tell the daily that the ceasefire will not take the form of a written agreement but rather as a number of verbal understandings reached between Egypt and both sides.
Senior Israeli sources tell A-Sharq Al-Awsat that the ceasefire will not take form as a written agreement but rather as a number of verbal understandings reached between Egypt and both sides
The Israelis said that the first stage will include a 24-hour ceasefire before discussions begin on “political issues” such as opening the border crossings. Thereafter another 48-hour trial period will commence, after which Egypt will take control over negotiating political matters.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, an Arab-nationalist daily published in London which focuses on Palestinian affairs, claims that Israel’s targeted killings have postponed the expected announcement of a ceasefire Tuesday night. The daily boasts the launching of 150 rockets “which reached Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the killing of a soldier in the Negev.” The death of a second man, a Bedouin civilian, is omitted from the headline.
The daily features a photo of women and children sitting atop a truck driving away, leaving the impression of mass deportation of civilians.
Israel is interested in involving the Egyptians in the agreement with Hamas, writes A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed, in order to prove that Egypt hasn’t changed since the Mubarak era: it hasn’t opened a front with Israel nor has President Mohammed Morsi annulled the peace treaty.
Netanyahu has also gained political currency both inside Israel and abroad, as did Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, Homayed writes. The only losers are the Palestinians and their cause. “This is the truth, even if it hurts,” ends Homayed.
But Al-Quds Al-Arabi’s editor-in-chief Abdel Bari Atwan disagrees. For him, operation Pillar of Defense was a big Israeli failure.
“The war of the past seven days will enter the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict as Israel’s most failed war,” he writes. “None of its goals were reached, but on the contrary — the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip has emerged militarily and politically victorious.”
Elias Harfoush, a columnist with Al-Hayat, believes that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is the biggest winner in this round.
“If one can speak of a ‘winner’ in the political sense of the word… it will certainly be the new ‘Brotherhood’ regime in Egypt. Cairo has succeeded, under this regime, to become the main center of communication between all negotiators within and without the region, to put an end to Israeli aggression and outline the conditions for a settlement between Israel and Hamas.”
Al-Jazeera reports that thousands of Egyptian students participated in demonstrations against Israel’s operation in Gaza Tuesday. The demonstrators, who marched through downtown Cairo, called on the government to banish the Israeli ambassador and assist Gaza with weapons.
Egypt reaches agreement with IMF as protests intensify
Egypt has managed to secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund Tuesday, but demonstrations raged on the first anniversary of the Muhammad Mahmoud incidents, in which protesters were shot at by the transitional government that replaced the Mubarak regime.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent said the reason for the attack on its offices was not immediately evident, but that many political players in Egypt are displeased with the station’s coverage
Al-Masry Al-Youm, an independent Egyptian daily, reported 61 injured in clashes with police near the ministry of interior. The protesters reportedly threw stones at police forces, which retaliated by firing tear gas canisters.
Al-Jazeera reports that its Cairo office located in Tahrir Square was partially burned after protesters threw a Molotov cocktail into the building.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent said the reason for the attack was not immediately evident, but that many political players in Egypt are displeased with the station’s coverage.