A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 5, 2009--Hamas Stalls on Ceasefire-Elections Getting Close
Hamas continues to refuse to accept the Egyptian ceasefire agreement. The Hamas spokesman blamed Isreal, but in fact, Israel and Egypt are in complete agreement to the terms of the ceasefire. Despite intense pressure on Hamas by Egypt, they continue to delay their agreement, most likely due to counter pressure from Teheran. The fissures and overlaps in the Arab/Muslim world between, Arab and Muslim and Sunni and Shite continue to both complicate the state affairs and make it all the more interesting at the same time. Mubarak continues to attack the support Hamas receives from Iran. He attacks the outsiders who want to shed the last Arab blood for their own goals. His attacks are stricking a strong Arab nationalist chord that has been somewhat muted in recent years in Egypt– so much so that the Muslim Brotherhood has been reluctant to attack him for his lack of support for Hamas.
In the meantime Israel stopped a Lebanese ship trying to break the embargo on Gaza. No less than Navies Commandoes – were used to take control of the ship. The capture was carried live on Al Jazeera TV. The Egyptians stopped the Hamas spokesman on his return to Gaza, and intercepted him with 14 million dollars in cash. In the past Egypt would have let him pass, this time they confiscated the money.
The elections are finally becoming interesting. The Likud continues to lose support to Lieberman and other parties of the right. So much so that the differential between the Likud and Kadima is now down to 2 or 3 seats. Between 15 and 20 percent of the electorate is still undecided five days before the vote. The Likud ads today showed a series of unflattering picture of Livni, each time tied with another party, and said that if you vote Lieberman you could end up with Livni who would ……. It ended by saying that only a strong Likud could stop Livni from becoming Prime Minister. Kadima, on the other side, ran an ad that showed Netanyahu lying and changing his opinions and saying he will once again fail at what he does. Lieberman, for his part, says his natural partner for a coalition is with Netanyahu, but he does not rule out a partnership with Livni.