Notwithstanding a handful of incidents on both sides, the dueling ceasefires declared by Israel and Hamas seem to be holding up. The Israeli military has even begun to withdraw some of its forces from the devastated Gaza Strip. The Hamas government’s ceasefire is predicated on Israeli forces leaving the strip in the next week, but so far no timetable has been set.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the troops will withdraw “as soon as possible,” which likely doesn’t mean physically possible because all the troops could’ve easily left in the time since Olmert’s announcement if that was the case.
Rather, Olmert says the pullout will come when the situation is “stable.” This too provides little clue of the government’s intention, as arguably the situation between Israel and the Gaza Strip has not been stable in Israel’s 60-plus years of existence. Negotiations for a more permanent ceasefire in the strip will continue in Cairo.
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