Scenario 3 It Is
The Israelis have declared a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza:
JERUSALEM — Israel declared late Saturday that a unilateral cease-fire would begin in Gaza within hours, but said its troops would remain in place for now.
After 22 days of war against Hamas, and the deaths of more than 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted that “we have reached all the goals of the war, and beyond.” Speaking to the nation late Saturday night, he said that Hamas had “suffered a major blow” and that if it continued to fire rockets into Israel, “the Israeli Army will regard itself as free to respond with force.”
Hamas, battered but hardly broken, said in Gaza that it would continue fighting so long as Israeli troops occupy Gaza. And Israeli officials say a new flurry of rocket launches, to prove that Hamas is neither cowed nor defeated, is likely for at least a short time.
On Friday I remarked on an article at Time.com recounting three scenarios in which the Gaza War might end:
- Regime change in Gaza.
- A long-term negotiated ceasefire.
- Major hostilities end without a formal resolution.
If the current ceasefire holds then Scenario 3 it is. If you’ve got a better explanation for the events than the one I offered, that domestic political considerations would be the determining factor, I’d certainly like to hear it. If you could help me out with what strategic objectives the Israelis have achieved, I’d appreciate that, too.