US, Israel sign anti-smuggling deal; Hamas: We will not accept Israeli conditions for cease-fire
The United States and Israel signed an agreement Friday intended to assure that Hamas militants will not be able to rearm if the Jewish state agrees to a Gaza cease-fire.
In front of an array of reporters and camera crews, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and visiting Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed the "memorandum of understanding" at the State Department.
At the signing ceremony, Livni described the deal as "a vital complement for a cessation of hostility" in the troubled region.
Livni said it could advance Israeli decision-making on the future of its offensive operations in Gaza. She added that it was meant "to complement Egyptian actions and to end of the flow of weapons to Gaza."
Under an Egyptian cease-fire proposal, fighting would stop immediately for 10 days, but Israeli forces would remain in place in Gaza and the border crossings into the territory would remain closed until security arrangements are made for the crossings. Ynet.com
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected Israel's conditions for a Gaza cease-fire and demanded an immediate opening of the territory's borders, taking a tough line Friday as he asked Arab countries to back him by cutting off any ties with Israel. JPost.com
Western intelligence sources said Hizbullah has intensified military preparations over the last few weeks during the Hamas war with Israel. The sources said Hizbullah was transferring command and control and logistics centers from Beirut to southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border.
"Hizbullah is reorganizing its military assets in a way that suggests preparations for an escalation along the Israeli border," an intelligence source said. WorldTribune.com
US military intelligence is suggesting that Hizbullah is gearing up for a war on Israel's northern front. The last thing Iran wants is to bring the international focus back on their nuclear program. With Israeli leaders voting to end the cease-fire on Saturday, whether Hamas likes it or not, Iran knows that it will be important for them to create another diversion. Exit Hamas... now entering Hizbullah. Israel is rumored to be preparing for a major strike against Iran's nuclear facilities just before US President-elect Obama is sworn in on January 20th.
In another development, that I believe will play a major part in escalating the peace process, the United States and Israel signed an agreement on Friday that is designed to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons on an international level. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said this agreement would complement Egyptian efforts.
"Under an Egyptian cease-fire proposal, fighting would stop immediately for 10 days, but Israeli forces would remain in place in Gaza and the border crossings into the territory would remain closed until security arrangements are made for the crossings." Ynet.com
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