Unanswered Questions: What Type of Cease-fire, and With Whom?

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are "considering" a ceasefire - but Israel is not sure if this includes all Israelis or only those living in certain areas. Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal says it's the latter.


Hamas and Islamic Jihad are still not ready to stop even some of their terrorism. Egyptian and PA efforts to get the terrorists to agree to any type of cease-fire have been frustrated by the terrorists' demand that Israel stop IDF activities, including raids and targeting killings. Hamas and the Jihad say they want "genuine international guarantees" that will rein in Israel.

Israel has said that it will cease its targeted killings of terrorist leaders, unless they are what is known as "ticking time-bombs" - terrorists on their way to an attack. GSS head Avi Dichter is in Washington, providing the Americans with explanations and examples of this term.

One important unanswered question is what type of cease-fire Hamas and the Jihad are prepared to accept. Islamic Jihad sources said yesterday that they would agree to stop terrorism against civilians living in pre-1967 Israel. Residents of Yesha and soldiers would continue to be fair game for their murderous designs, however.

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal also said today that he will only agree to ceasefire against Israeli pre-'67 civilians, and certainly not to a collection of Hamas weapons.

In any event, the lack of a PA-Hamas agreement is delaying Israel's transfer of security control in northern Gaza to the PA. Israel is apparently unwilling to withdraw its forces and entrust control of Kassam rocket cells and other terrorists to the PA until Hamas agrees to some sort of ceasefire.

The next Abu Mazen-Hamas-Jihad meeting is tonight, pushed off from yesterday. Abu Mazen must first meet with his Fatah terrorist organization and make sure that it will stop its own attacks against Israel. As reported here yesterday, even though Hamas has become the terrorist organization the world loves to hate, Fatah - the PLO's largest faction, headed by Yasser Arafat and Abu Mazen - has also been involved in many murderous terrorist attacks, the most recent being the murder of Avner Maimon of Netanya on Thursday and the killing of four Israeli soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint in Gaza nine days ago.