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Israeli pounds Hamas as ceasefire vote looms

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Israeli aircraft pounded 50 Hamas positions early Saturday, keeping pressure on the Islamic militant group as the country's top leaders prepared for a crucial vote on whether to end Israel's punishing three-week-long campaign against Gaza's rulers.

The vote on the Egyptian-brokered truce proposal follows a signing of a "memorandum of understanding" in Washington between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that calls for expanded intelligence cooperation between their two countries to prevent Hamas from rearming.

Livni called the deal, reached on the final working day of the Bush administration, "a vital complement for a cessation of hostility." It paved the path for Saturday night's vote in the 12-member Security Cabinet.

Israel was expected to approve the Egyptian proposal, under which fighting would stop immediately for 10 days. Israeli forces would remain in Gaza and the border crossings into the territory would remain closed until security arrangements were made to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into the territory.

Under the deal, Egypt would shut down weapons smuggling routes with international help and discussions on opening Gaza's blockaded border crossings — Hamas' key demand — would take place at a later date.

Israel launched its military offensive on Dec 27 to try to halt near-daily Hamas rocket attacks against southern Israel. Palestinian medics say the fighting has killed at least 1,140 Palestinians — roughly half of them civilians — and Israel's bombing campaign caused massive destruction in the Gaza Strip. Thirteen Israelis have been killed, four by rocket fire and nine in ground battles in Gaza, according to the government.

Israel Radio reported that a truce summit could be held in Cairo as early as Sunday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Israeli leaders in attendance.

In the meantime, battles raged on in Gaza on Saturday. Palestinian officials reported heavy clashes with Israeli troops. In Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said an Israeli tank shell killed a woman and a boy and wounded 25 others when it landed near a U.N. school. Near Gaza City, Palestinian officials said three more civilians were killed by a naval shell.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reports.

United Nations spokesman Chris Gunness condemned the shelling attack, saying the the school was crowded with 1,600 people who had sought shelter from Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza. He said the compound took several direct hits and confirmed that two people died.

The military said its planes struck 50 Hamas locations overnight, including rocket-launching sites, smuggling tunnels, weapons storehouses, bunkers and minefields. There were no reports of Palestinian rocket fire.

The violence followed Israeli envoy Amos Gilad's journey to Cairo on Friday. He returned to report "substantial progress" in truce talks with Egyptian mediators, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office announced. The Israeli vote comes ahead of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, and Israeli elections next month.

Hamas' political chief Khaled Mashaal rejected Israel's conditions but negotiators for the Islamic militant group were in behind-the-scenes contact with mediators in Cairo and signaled it was time for a truce.

Hamas, which overtook the Gaza Strip in a violent coup in June 2007, has demanded an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the opening of blockaded border crossings.

In an interview with the Israeli YNet news Web site, Livni indicated that Israel would renew its offensive if Hamas militants continued to fire rockets at Israel even after a truce agreement was reached.

"This campaign is not a one-time event. We will need to have our hand on the pulse," she said. "The test will be the day after. That is the test of deterrence."

In Washington, Rice and Livni signed an agreement intended to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons into Gaza if a cease-fire is implemented. Livni said it was meant "to complement Egyptian actions and to end of the flow of weapons to Gaza."

The agreement outlines a framework under which the United States commits detection and surveillance equipment, as well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations to be used in monitoring Gaza's land and sea borders.

Earlier, Rice said she hoped European countries would work out similar bilateral agreements with Israel.

In Gaza, residents said they would welcome an end to the fighting but expressed skepticism a cease-fire can hold.

"Everybody wants the world to return to what it was. But I think it's empty words," said Ghadir Mohammed, who was forced to flee her Gaza City home because of the fighting. "Let's assume if Hamas fires a rocket, will they be quiet about it? Israel isn't the kind to be quiet."

A resident of the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, which has been targeted by Hamas rockets, said the army needed to be sure there would be quiet in southern Israel before stopping the fight.

"For eight years, they have been shooting at us," said Yigal Hakmon, manager of a convenience store. "We can't stop in the middle. We have to finish. We have to kill all the Hamas people."


Ibrahim Barzak reported from Gaza City and Aron Heller reported from Jerusalem.

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments
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Considering how they went about seizing power, I highly doubt it. They're like a gang. To get power they use violence, to maintain power, the use violence, and to keep power they use violence. Violence is really all they know.

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smithinjapan,

Actually, it was my post to which you were responding.

No kidding. That's a bit of a fear of mine as well. I'm afraid that while pretty much everyone on BOTH sides will want peace, a few moronic militants in Hamas will fire more rockets once a peace deal goes through, potentially ruining it all again. THAT is one reason why I sometimes agree that Hamas needs to go... but they need to go democratically; the same way they came into power.

I also agree with the rift between the leader in exile and that in Gaza.

Again, I agree with what you have written. I wonder if Hamas would actually go peacefully if they were voted out...

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"Hamas ARE Palestinians. Now try saying that to yourselves a few times until it sinks in."

Hamas KILLS Palestinians. Try admitting that to yourself.

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I was pro-Israel, but I keep an open mind on the subject. Reading all the rabid anti-Israeli its hard not to drift more and more towards the Israeli side.

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There are so many drawing imaginary lines here, Hamas ARE Palestinians. Now try saying that to yourselves a few times until it sinks in.

Now let’s move on to the democratically elected Hamas. Hamas was sharing power after the elections with the Palestinian authority but neither were happy about it so Hamas killed, imprisoned & tortured as many PA people as were not able to escape to the West Bank.

Most of you have claimed that Israel stopping the world’s media from entering the Gasa means you have no choice but to accept what is reported from the Gasa & many have used this fact as a means whereby you can, without criticism, accept all the numbers of dead being given from within Gasa. How does the Israeli action give credibility to what is being said from within Gasa?

You can all go on & on & on dredging up dates, places & numbers, but really really what it comes down to is that Hamas WAS firing rockets into Israel & Israel said stop it or we will stamp on you, Hamas didn’t (haven’t) stopped it & they have been stamped on. No one disputes that Hamas has been fighting from within the civilian population thereby bringing down Israeli fire on to their own people, yet the condemnation of this after weeks of what obviously happens is still being aimed not at the fools that put their children at risk, but at the Israelis.

Two weeks ago French TV showed news coverage from the Gasa of the funeral of children killed by Israel in the fighting. They have since said sorry because they found out that the film was of a funeral of children killed two years ago when a Hamas truck carrying explosive blew up. How many of you have the expertise to hand to know you are wrong, when you are wrong? And just for the record I am not saying that you are wrong, I am saying that gullible of the world always believe what they want to believe. Even French TV channels.

I am like any normal person, like the rest of you, I dislike the very idea of children being killed in situations like this, but having read some many of the posts here & newspaper from around the world I have actually found my feelings against the Palestinians/Hamas hardening. I started pro-Israeli & have become very pro-Israeli. The blind anger that has been directed towards Israel though so often hidden behind such caring words disgusts me. Something seems to happen to your intellects when it comes to Israel, so many of you seem to switch them off.

The real reason so many kill each other is because they believe everything they are told without first looking within themselves to ask themselves why they believe.

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If they stop now where will all the "War Tourists" go? -I say give it a few more weeks the media hasn't made enough off this war yet. The bottom line is always money ¥¥¥¥¥¥¥

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A complete waste of people, life, standing and a safer future for nothing but short term political gain

It was a case of "us or them". The so called Palestinians who are actually not Palestinians but rather a rag tag bunch of Jordanians and other Arabs of mixed persuasion would have done worse with no cease fire had they the means.

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Omert has just folded, it's all at an end, Lead Casket is over and Israel did not achieve its ends. A complete waste of people, life, standing and a safer future for nothing but short term political gain. Shame on them who played this 'game'.

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I love it when Israel pounds Hamas. Any group that dresses their kids up as suicide bombers deserves to get it. That should have taken a lesson from Gandhi.

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SuperLib: "I couldn't have asked for a better example of the famous "smithinjapan strawman debate tactic." Thank you! ;)"

Suits me, since you couldn't do anything but reply with the famous SuperLib: "Let's not address the topic at all but accuse the others of building a strawman (for every 10 of ours)". Now... what are the five 'd's of dodgeball you have covered flat out again...

Ummm.. dodge, dive, duck, dip.... what was the other one, again?

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“For eight years, they have been shooting at us,” said Yigal Hakmon, manager of a convenience store. “We can’t stop in the middle. We have to finish. We have to kill all the Hamas people.”

Eight years? Lucky he survived! Odd that he did not sell his conbini and move away....

Instead, he wants all the members of the elected political party in the ghetto his country bears the lion's share in creating to all...die! Moving is so inconvenient.

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There isn't going to be a cezsefire until Hamas have been squashed.

It isn't that hard to grasp.

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Therefore they deserve terrorist attacks on their innocent civilians, correct if I am wrong in your post.

Why bother? You will just forget what I say AGAIN and project the word "deserve" in there AGAIN and choose a target of your choosing and not mine AGAIN. So no, not bothering to correct you.

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Sarge can not be wrong. Sarge is right... but also a person who won't go out to make a stand, instead simply sitting there beating the same ol, same ol' rhythm that the keys make. Israel did and is and will but still has no safety until she talks, reasons and concludes that those who live in Gaza are ARE human too.

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Sarge what kind of post are that i dont mean anythink?

Israel should be disarmed, so it cannot kill its neighbours anymore.

Nato should enforce a ceasefire, becuase when they attack , they cannot stop from going nuts and killing tons of innocents.

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"Sage"

"Isarel"

OK.

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Actually, plenty of people show concern in other conflicts, but just not as much. The reasons why are quite simple: American money is being used to kill innocents when Israel kills innocents. American weapons and those of some European countries are being used to kill innocents

Therefore they deserve terrorist attacks on their innocent civilians, correct if I am wrong in your post.

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"Israel started it"

Some people are indeed clueless.

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like it or not -your money is being used to fight this war. -cut the funding and the war comes to an end.

War is genocide. These two groups of people need to work out their differences.

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Since Iran can't build them I'd have to guess zero.

Not only a very poor deflection, but also false. Iran builds tanks. They just did not design any until last year.

And of course the 50 tons of weapons from Iran that Israel, probably with US help, intercepted en route to Gaza in 2002 doesn't count either, does it?

Another poor deflection. Both Israel and the U.S. have armed Gazans. And do you really think 50 tons is going to compare with the amounts sent to Israel??? Of course it won't, but you trying is clear evidence of your agenda.

Were you trying to bring up the fact that capitalist, democratic, secular Israel, occupying less than 1 percent of the area called the Mid East, has an economy which dwarfs the surrounding failures of Islamic social engineering?

The five D's of dodgeball are dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. You have utilized four of those. But we are not playing dodgeball.

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This is has been a ghast;y event. Israel started it during the holidays hoping it would escape the worlds attention. Will they keep a ceasefire, i think theier government has beastly policies. I am agrown man, and i have had tears in my eyes , seeing the dead and wounded in Gaza. I know some Israelis died, but it is only a handfull. What Israel has done, is slaughter the innocents. Will Israels extermination ever end, even if they keep this ceasefire?

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Maybe Israel is happy wiv the amount they have killed already.

It is terrible watching all the deaths and suffering on the box. Believe you me, the British peoples view of Israel has gone well down hill after this genocide.

Strewth, give the Palestinians pace and give their land back. Remember Resolution 242? Well the rest of the world does innit.

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"Equating the huge with the miniscule is also reveals political agenda."

That one reads funny. Were you trying to bring up the fact that capitalist, democratic, secular Israel, occupying less than 1 percent of the area called the Mid East, has an economy which dwarfs the surrounding failures of Islamic social engineering? Yes, I'd say Israel has chosen the right agenda.

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"How many tanks and jet fighter aircraft have Gazans received from Iran?"

Since Iran can't build them I'd have to guess zero.

And of course the 50 tons of weapons from Iran that Israel, probably with US help, intercepted en route to Gaza in 2002 doesn't count either, does it?

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wuzzademcrat,

How many tanks and jet fighter aircraft have Gazans received from Iran?

Criticism of US aid to Israel is often very revealing; discerning the critic's political agenda is as easy as highlighting the omissions in their 'arguments' against any US aid to Israel.

Equating the huge with the miniscule is also reveals political agenda.

I read somewhere that the U.S. gives Israel along the lines of 3,000,000,000 dollars average every year. 26% is for military spending. That is every year. For decades.

By contrast, I can find little information for Iran funding Hamas and other Palestinians. I found an article stating Iran pledged 50,000,000 dollars after the U.S. withdrew funding in 2006. So the U.S. gave about 2,950,000,000 more than Iran that year, if Iran gave at all, and I have no idea if any was earmarked for weapons or were weapons, or how on Earth any weapons would get through the Israelis surrounding Gaza. I am quite certain Israel got the money and the weapons however. All those hundreds of millions a year.

So where is the outrage?

Sleeping quite soundly as whispers are not enough to wake it.

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Well said, Wuzzademcrat.

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smithinjapan: they simply start throwing out nonsensical extremes like 'If you don't believe Israel is 100% correct you support terrorist attacks'

I couldn't have asked for a better example of the famous "smithinjapan strawman debate tactic." Thank you! ;)

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likeitis: "In addition, I wonder if Hamas will be willing to rein in militant groups like Islamic Jihad."

No kidding. That's a bit of a fear of mine as well. I'm afraid that while pretty much everyone on BOTH sides will want peace, a few moronic militants in Hamas will fire more rockets once a peace deal goes through, potentially ruining it all again. THAT is one reason why I sometimes agree that Hamas needs to go... but they need to go democratically; the same way they came into power.

I also agree with the rift between the leader in exile and that in Gaza.

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Yet have Israel kill 80% fewer innocents during a war and suddenly it's another holocaust.

I believe the term being used was "genocide". Not that I agree with use of that term either. But the fat lady has not sung yet, and there are more issues here than just bombs and bullets.

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How come the only time those on the left show concern for civilian casualties is when the conflict involves Israel or the US? It's uncanny. One can only conclude they're using the civilian casualties for political gain...just like Hamas does. Geez, what a surprise.

Actually, plenty of people show concern in other conflicts, but just not as much. The reasons why are quite simple: American money is being used to kill innocents when Israel kills innocents. American weapons and those of some European countries are being used to kill innocents. The people's of those countries can be expected to express more outrage since its their money and their weapons being used to kill innocents. And its not only shame. Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in general know perfectly well where the money and weapons are coming from. If you think that won't translate into some terror attacks on us, think again. Every day of death in Gaza increases the odds.

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Hardly a "promenant" protest. A handful of arabs getting wound up by their community leaders more like...

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smithinjapan: You tried putting this argument out there yesterday or the day before, and it was quickly shot down, so to speak, as the situations between the terrible events of 9/11 and what's happening in the Gaza are not at all comparable. What's more, YOU GUYS, or at least a number of you, have even gone so far as to suggest that not supporting Israel means you want another Jewish holocaust!! Where do you guys come up with the links in thought??

Smith I really have no idea how to respond to this. First of all, I didn't link 9/11 to Gaza until today. And if you have problem with something Helter said then address your post to him and use his words. From the looks of it you're responding to something Helter said and using my post and including me because I'm part of some generalized "you guys" that exists in your head.

As you can imagine, creating a response for you is a bit difficult since technically I'm not included in the conversation. I'm not Helter's representative and I have no interest in defending his positions so please refrain from hijacking my posts so you can attack him.

Moderator: We have already requested that readers not discuss 9/11 on this thread.

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"What's more, YOU GUYS, or at least a number of you, have even gone so far as to suggest that not supporting Israel means you want another Jewish holocaust!! Where do you guys come up with the links in thought??"

Smith,

At a promenant European protest the other day, the crowd was chanting: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!" I don't beleive that criticism of Israel (or support of Palestinians) = anti-semitism, but its not nearly as big a leap as you think.

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Well not surprised that all liberal media people support liberal ideas only and don't like anyone who is opposed to them. But it is amusing to read them. When will we see the end to this 'genocide'? oh the horror! the horror!

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Yet have Israel kill 80% fewer innocents during a war and suddenly it's another holocaust.

Well said SuperLib. Glad you see through their phoniness as well.

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In fact, MOST people on here agree that both are in the wrong, and that war is utter folly, chiding both sides for what's happening.

Absolutely. There is really no other way to look at it.

One great concern I have for the Palestinians and specifically for Gazans in the rift in Hamas itself between the leaders in exile and the leader in Gaza. There are some large differences of opinion between them although they are attempted to gloss over them for now. In addition, I wonder if Hamas will be willing to rein in militant groups like Islamic Jihad.

In Israel, I really hope Netanyahu does not become prime minister again. While he was not as bad as Olmert, who has been absolutely horrible. Netanyahu was a big disappointment filling his time appeasing groups on the fringes instead of doing what he promised in the election, which was to focus on trade and technology...

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SuperLib: "Yep. I'm betting that none of them has ever described the WTC attacks as "genocide" against America by Muslims. Yet have Israel kill 80% fewer innocents during a war and suddenly it's another holocaust."

You tried putting this argument out there yesterday or the day before, and it was quickly shot down, so to speak, as the situations between the terrible events of 9/11 and what's happening in the Gaza are not at all comparable. What's more, YOU GUYS, or at least a number of you, have even gone so far as to suggest that not supporting Israel means you want another Jewish holocaust!! Where do you guys come up with the links in thought??

Let me state for the record, and for Helter's benefit so he cannot later try to claim again that none of us care, what happened at the WTC and the US in general on 9/11 was absolutely inexcusable, undefendable, horrific, and an absolutely disgraceful day for humanity as a whole (save for the bravery of the men and women who tried to help others at the WTC on that day, and on the flight that was downed by the passengers, etc.). It cannot be compared in terms of terrorist attacks, and deserves its own special place among humanity's darkest moments.

It cannot at all be called an attempt at genocide. The argument that what's happening in Gaza is 'genocide' is also tenuous at best, but there are far more grounds for applying the label than with what happened on 9/11. You need only compare the fenced off area of gaza and the number of people in it compared to the size of the USA and the per capita populations, to begin with, to see how unrelated they are.

Come on, SuperLib, you're one of the few posters 'on the right' who tends to be objective... I expect better from you.

Moderator: Readers, 9/11 is not relevant to this discussion.

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Helter_Skelter: One can only conclude they're using the civilian casualties for political gain

Yep. I'm betting that none of them has ever described the WTC attacks as "genocide" against America by Muslims. Yet have Israel kill 80% fewer innocents during a war and suddenly it's another holocaust.

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I still demand that if people are going to make the accusation that WE don't care about innocents unless they are the 'enemies' of Israel and the US, or that we are like Hamas, that they give proof of such examples. So far, it's only silence, and for good reason.

I don't know a SINGLE poster on here that does not agree with Israel's actions and therefore agrees with the rockets Hamas is firing are a good thing, or that think the death of Jews is okay but Hamas is not. In fact, MOST people on here agree that both are in the wrong, and that war is utter folly, chiding both sides for what's happening.

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Helter: "How come the only time those on the left show concern for civilian casualties is when the conflict involves Israel or the US? It's uncanny."

Show me examples of other threads about war and deaths of innocents and the subsequent comments where people don't care. I can give you DOZENS of examples of pretty much all the same people 'on the left' writing their disgust about the death of civilians in other cases, so stop with the hateful posts already. Just because YOU may not care about the 'collateral damage' in the Gaza does not mean the people arguing against Israel don't care about Israeli deaths, American deaths, or the deaths of any other innocents around the world (or even non-innocents).

"One can only conclude they're using the civilian casualties for political gain...just like Hamas does. Geez, what a surprise."

Actually, your own comment is a clear-cut case of hypocrisy, since you are outright talking about innocents for the sake of your political 'argument'.

And thus Helter_Skelter continues the trend of beating his own arguments into the ground.

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How come the only time those on the left show concern for civilian casualties is when the conflict involves Israel or the US? It's uncanny. One can only conclude they're using the civilian casualties for political gain...just like Hamas does. Geez, what a surprise.

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Iran is offering 1 million dollars for the assassination of Mubarak.

Hamas lost.

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"Under the terms of the proposal, Israeli troops would remain inside the territory for an unspecified period, a senior Israeli government official said on condition of anonymity"

Sounds quite a bit they want the Gaza back after all.

So, 700 rockets fired since the start of the war that was supposedly started in order to halt the rockets completely... hmmm...

bushlover: "Unlike your backward islam friends who haven't caught up to that technology to make life better."

Ah, yes... that's right... the generalization that any and all who don't support Israel 100% are friends of Islam. Why not just give up and get a new handle, mate. No one takes you seriously at all... particularly since you get riled up and insinuate anyone who doesn't like Israel is a terrorist, etc.

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The city is located on the Mediterranean coastal route, between North Africa and the greener lands of the Levant.

Does the word "between" mean anything to you Sail? Anything at all?

And a little history about Gaza being located on an ancient trade route is fascinating and all, but it has little bearing on today, particularly when Gazan trade is completely regulated by the Israelis. Even if it were not, Cleopatra is dead.

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likeitis, the land Israel has is only fertile because they know about this wonderfully new technology called "irrigation". Unlike your backward islam friends who haven't caught up to that technology to make life better. Look at the Masada story and present day Israel to see that. If the Palestinians and their Hamas masters would only spend that aid money on education and farming equipment then maybe they wouldn't have to import food via tunnels along with their weapons and would have a more trusting trade going with Israel who must be doing well with industrial goods and all. But no they choose rockets to lob and PO the neighbors instead of learning from them. Reap what you sow I guess. They can count themselves lucky they are getting this break in violence. Thanks Hamas for continuing the Palestinian's pain.

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The good land has already been taken. Gaza strip is about as barren as the moon. Its also tiny. But I do not expect you have seen any maps or satellite photos of the area.

Israel is in a very precarious position. They cannot murder their victims outright or the aid from the U.S. that keeps them going will dry up. So instead they wall their victims up in a barren wasteland, and convince suckers like yourself that they are some sort of humanitarian group because Israel sends them just enough food to stay alive.

So much for your barren wasteland theory

The history of Gaza, one of the oldest cities in the world, has been shaped by its strategic location. The city is located on the Mediterranean coastal route, between North Africa and the greener lands of the Levant.[5] Ancient Gaza was a prosperous trade center and a stop on the caravan route between Egypt and Syria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza

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Wait, hang on... I thought all Israel wanted was land. That and to kill Arabs. They're calling a cease fire without taking over Gaza, and leaving more then 1.5 million people alive? What the heck!

The good land has already been taken. Gaza strip is about as barren as the moon. Its also tiny. But I do not expect you have seen any maps or satellite photos of the area.

Israel is in a very precarious position. They cannot murder their victims outright or the aid from the U.S. that keeps them going will dry up. So instead they wall their victims up in a barren wasteland, and convince suckers like yourself that they are some sort of humanitarian group because Israel sends them just enough food to stay alive.

to try for a lasting peace.

A lasting peace the consist of one group living comfy on their stolen land, and the other still locked in their over-crowded desert wasteland. Good luck with that.

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Wait, hang on... I thought all Israel wanted was land. That and to kill Arabs. They're calling a cease fire without taking over Gaza, and leaving more then 1.5 million people alive? What the heck!

So much for the genocide eh. Hopefully the Hamas cowards will take this opportunity Israel is giving them, to try for a lasting peace. Even if they hate Israel, they should at least give the citizens of Gaza a chance to live free of warfare. The citizens of Israel deserve no less as well.

Really, I hope both sides give peace a chance.

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1,188 dead (inlcuding 410 kids)..... Don't be surprised if you witness a new rise of "terrorism". If they can be called "terrorists"... In this case, i think that Israel earned the title.

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Unilateral halt is good. Fighting is coming to a wind down. Good for all.

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Sounds good to me.

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Over 700 such projectiles have been fired since the start of the war." what's the list price on those? If they are just hobby rockets and doing nothing as is assumed, why even get them?

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Muslims and Jews have been enemies since the beginning. Each feels justified in what they are doing. The violence won't ever completely stop.

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Israel running out of women and children targets

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The Israelites running out of rockets, missiles and WP? < :-)

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The word offensive is offensive. Should read slaughter.

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