Rice: US ‘Pleased By’ Egypt-Proposed Truce

Immediate Ceasefire Would Be Followed by Talks

Condoleezza Rice, still Secretary of State for two more weeks, says the Bush Administration is “pleased by and wish to commend the statement of the president of Egypt” with regard to his government’s proposal for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian proposal, declared after a meeting between President Hosni Mubarak and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, would call for an immediately ceasefire by both sides for a limited period of time, during which talks would be held to decide on the long-term arrangments in the Gaza Strip.

Yet the proposal seems incomplete: so far the terms of the international monitors placed in the Gaza Strip haven’t been finalized, though France and Turkey have expressed willingness to be a part of that hypothetical force, should it emerge. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has reportedly said he would agree to the deal “in principle” but the practical matter may be something else.

And whether American support for the proposed truce goes any farther than just non-specific pleasure at its proposal and to genuine willingness to pressure the Israeli government to participate remains to be seen. So far the US has seemed unwilling to consider anything but a long term arrangement, and has shot down UN Security Council moves to call for an immediate ceasefire.

Israel has likewise said repeatedly insisted it was unwilling to consider any peace deal involving Hamas. It rejected previous attempts to broker a ceasefire, leaving open the question of whether an agreement in principle will mean a continuation of the invasion in practice.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.