Growing signs are emerging that israel is trying to shape a way to end the Gaza fighting and achieve its goals.
A ground action of Israeli troops and tanks into gaza still seems possible. “The infantry, the artillery and other forces are ready. They’re around the Gaza Strip, waiting for any calls to go inside,” Military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said.
But Israel is also allowing humanitarian supplies into Gaza and has raised the notion of international observers to monitor the post violence situation inside Gaza.
The Jerusalem Post reported that on Wednesday, 93 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies donated by Jordan and international organizations were transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the southern part of the Strip.
On Tuesday, 93 trucks were also allowed into Gaza and another 90 are expected to enter Gaza on Thursday. A plane from Qatar will also land in Israel on Thursday carrying supplies that will be transferred to Gaza.
“We have no interest in a long war. We do not desire a broad campaign. We want quiet,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a meeting of mayors of southern Israeli cities Thursday. “We don’t want to display our might, but we will employ it if necessary.”
To pave the way for a post-hostilities situation, Israel isn’t seeking a peacekeeping force, but a monitoring body that would judge compliance on both sides.
After the 2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Israel accepted peacekeepers but was never satisfied with that arrangement.
“We are asking for a cease-fire and an international presence to monitor Israel’s commitment to it,” Israeli government aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said.
Several organizations have said Hamas is almost ready for a cease fire.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, whose office in Gaza was struck overnight, said Israel needed to “stop attacking and killing our children, women and men.”
“The aggression must stop, the crossings must open and the blockade must be lifted and then we can talk about all other issues,” he said in televised comments Wednesday. “Then we can start a national dialogue without any preset conditions.”
John Holmes, the UN’s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and its emergency relief coordinator said, “It’s hard to exaggerate the degree of constant fear, I think, felt by those in Gaza, in particular, as the attacks continue.”
“And of course, there is stress on the Israeli side too because of the constant threat of rockets,” he said, speaking in a Wednesday briefing at the United Nations.
“This is a very bloody operation, by anybody’s standards, even by the standards of that part of the world,” Holmes said.
Holmes was quoted by CNN.
John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom