Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced Saturday, folllwing a Security Cabinent vote in favor of a cease-fire, said that the goals of Israel's offensive in Gaza had been achieved.
Israel has no immediate plans to withdraw troops from Gaza, but the cease-fire likely will entail the end of Israeli attacks on Hamas now that the militant Palestinian group appears to have been disabled to the point that there is less of a threat of rocket attacks on southern Israel.
Olmert said in a televised address that Israel's "goals have been achieved, and even more." Fighting stopped at 2 a.m. local time (7 p.m. EST) but Israel will keep troops on the ground for the time being, Olmert said.
This cease fire is inexplicable militarily, geopolitically, and politically internally. While the Israelis have no plans to leave Gaza yet, they also have stopped fighting. This makes no sense militarily. They had Hamas on the run, flat footed, and ready to be destroyed. Yet, right when they needed to tighten the proverbial noose around their necks, the Israelis agree to a cease fire. Hamas was ready to fall and yet the Israelis, again, stopped military operations leaving their enemy to fight another day.
Geopolitically this reminds of the old saying
the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result
Do the Israelis really believe that this cease fire will end differently than all the others? I know exactly how it will go because this has become a broken record. Hamas will cease firing rockets. The two sides will agree to a truce. Hamas will replenish its supplies, men, and money. Then, they will attack Israel at some later date. This is exactly how each and every cease fire has gone for as long as the two sides have had cease fires. This one will be no different.
Politically internally, the ruling Kadima party have all but handed the next election to Ben Netanyahu. The Israeli public is unlikely to be impressed with a cease fire. They will likely see this war much like they saw the war with Hezbollah two plus years ago. Hamas will be badly damaged but merely surviving will be enough to claim victory. The Kadima Party will again be seen as losing their will just when things got tough. The Israeli people will simply not allow for this and they will vote in the hawkish Netanyahu in the next election in February.