Thursday, June 19, 2008

Truce may include multinat'l Arab force

"The deployment of a multinational Arab force in Gaza as a final stage of the truce that was set to begin Thursday morning is being discussed at the highest levels of government, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to a senior defense official involved in the cease-fire talks, Egypt raised the request for the deployment of the Arab force during meetings between Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, and Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Israel, the defense official said, was not completely opposed to the idea since it would ultimately bring Arab countries such as Egypt to "take responsibility" for events in Gaza. The deployment was also raised as a way for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party to regain control of the Gaza Strip.

The official said that while Israel was therefore in favor of the initiative, the defense establishment was skeptical that it would succeed in light of Hamas's public opposition as well as the operational challenges it would pose for the IDF. One such challenge would be concerns over accidentally harming soldiers of the multinational force while pursuing terrorists inside the Gaza Strip........"

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