Iran's ally Syria has called for a cease fire in Gaza that accepts at least part of what the Israelis wanted.
Syrian President Bashar Assad called on Israel to cease its military operation in Gaza immediately, while simultaneously demanding that Hamas cease its fire towards Israel.Aside from the usual anti-Israel rhetoric this is a big development. Both Syria and Hamas are supported by Iran. As to making extremism in the Middle East worse. I believe the war with Hamas is doing the opposite. It is showing that extremism doesn't pay.
In an interview with the BBC network Assad warned that the fighting in Gaza could lead to the exacerbation of Islamic extremism in the Middle East.
"The effects of the war are more dangerous than the war itself," he said during Wednesday's interview. "It's planting the seeds for extremism and terror in the entire region."
Assad accused Israel of refusing to honor the ceasefire that expired in December and claimed it was the State's responsibility to halt the "murder" of the Palestinians and the siege on Gaza.
He claimed Syria, which plays host to a number of senior Hamas officials, was doing everything in its power to put an end to the fighting.
As for Israel refusing to honor the cease fire? I believe the cease fire never existed - the rockets never stopped. In addition Hamas called off the cease fire anyway. Just the normal cease fire deal in the Middle East. Israel must cease firing and for its enemies ceasing fire is optional.
In theory negotiations are going on in Egypt for a cease fire which Hamas claims to have accepted and also claims to have rejected.
Hamas has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, the group said Wednesday evening, after talks in Cairo.It will be interesting to see what is in the Egyptian proposal. I think it can be reliably assumed that stopping the rockets is a central element.
The Hamas delegation was making it way back to Damascus to brief the group's leaders.
Egyptian officials told the Middle East News Agency (MENA) that Hamas had responded positively to the country's efforts to mediate a Gaza cease-fire.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he would relay Hamas's response to the Egyptian proposal to Israel.
However, Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, said that Hamas's position regarding the Egyptian initiative had not changed. He said that despite reports that Hamas had agreed to the cease-fire initiative, there were still a number of differences between Egypt and the Islamist movement that needed to be addressed.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni were meeting in Jerusalem to discuss Israel's response to the initiative.
Also on Wednesday, France's foreign minister said his government was ready to talk to Hamas, if the group renounced violence and recognize Israel.
And those French. What dreamers. Hamas is dedicated to killing all the Jews in the world. Renouncing violence and recognizing Israel is not in the cards for Hamas.
I wonder how long it will take to complete the cease fire negotiations? The fact that Syria - who in effect speaks for Iran - has caved is significant. A cease fire by Friday is not out of the question. Of course this being the Middle East, negotiations could drag on for another week or more.
Cross Posted at Classical Values