Left: Ceasefire before it's too late
Left calls for truce in response to Palestinian offer and subsequent Israeli refusal to ceasefire without Shalit's release. In Nazareth and Rahat, Arab-Israelis protest against operations in Gaza, demand government negotiation.
Saturday evening, the left-wing Peace Now movementcalled upon the government to agree to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's call for ceasefire. According to the group's statement: "One fatal accident is enough to turn the tables, complicate matters for Israel, and endanger the lives of IDF soldiers. Thus, wemust agree to a ceasefire before it's too late."
Among the Arab-Israeli population there is also a widespread appeal to the government to agree to the ceasefire. This is despite the fact that the Israeli government already stated publicly that any ceasefire agreement is contingent upon Cpl. Gilad Shalit firstbeing released.
Saturday afternoon, scores of protesters in Nazareth and Rahatprotested against military operations in Gaza. Chairman of the UnitedArab List-Ta'al faction, Knesset Member Talab el-Sana, who attended theprotest in Rahat, said that Shalit's release should be achieved through diplomatic channels, and not by military action.
Earlier, MK Ahmed Tibi (also of the UNited ArabList-Ta'al faction), in a radio interview with Radio Montecarlo saidthat "the Israeli government will sooner or later release Palestinianprisoners in exchange for the soldier. So why not avoid all thebloodshed?" Tibi also called upon the government to agree toHaniyeh's ceasefire offer.
State of affairs in Gaza
At least three Palestinians were killed Saturday as a resultof IDF activity in Gaza and almost forty have been killed in recent days. As aresult of the extreme hardship for the Gazan population, Haniyehapproached the Israeli government with a ceasefire request. Accordingto a statement issued from his office in Gaza, "in order to end thecurrent crisis, a mutual cessation of military action is required onboth sides."
Haniyeh emphasized that, regarding the issue of the kidnappedsoldier,there is no escaping the need for negotiation. "The Palestiniangovernment is interested in finding a solution in a quiet anddiplomatic manner, without pressure or military escalation," Haniyehsaid.
"The issue of Palestinian prisoners is a painful one in Palestinianhomes, and it is necessary for the international community to opentheir eyes to the tragedy of this issue." He again appealed for the release of Hamas ministers and parliament members who were arrested inrecent days and for "the elimination of the siege being waged on the Palestinian people, by allowing the reopening of border crossings for passengers and wares.