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Breaking: Unilateral Israeli Cease Fire begins at 7pm EST (UPDATED)
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, January 17, 2009

That according to a CBS email alert.

More when I can find it.

My guess is they're going to shut it down in place (assuring they're in well defended positions) and see if Hamas can manage to behave for a few days before they pull out.

UPDATE: The NY Times says:
Mr. Olmert, who said all Israeli objectives for the war had been reached, said Israel was responding positively to a call by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt earlier in the day for an immediate cease-fire, in a clearly orchestrated move by two countries that both see the Hamas movement in Gaza as a threat. Meanwhile, Hamas leaders outside Gaza have insisted that the group will fight on, regardless of any Israeli declaration.
That paragraph is just loaded with goodies. First, Olmert is declaring this in response to a call by Egypt. So he tips his hat to an Arab country (and, of course by so doing, responds to the calls from the rest of the world to stand down), thereby eliciting the support of other moderate Arab regimes to support the cease fire. He claims Israel's objectives have been met (not matter what they are, Israel has decided they're met and has also decided it can quit fighting). Last, the "leadership-in-exile" for Hamas (i.e. in Syria but a proxy for Iran) has declared that Hamas will fight on. However, all indications are that the part of Hamas that has actually been doing the fighting - if you can call it that - has indicated it is very interested in a cease-fire. That split we talked about may widen.

UPDATE II: Ah, the other Israeli shoe drops:
Olmert said that "if Hamas entirely ends its rocket fire on Israel, Israel will consider an IDF withdrawal from the Gaza Strip." If that did not occur, he said, "The IDF will continue to operate in order to protect our citizens."
A statement guaranteed to have one of two effects - end the rocket attacks on Israel and seeing Hamas "in exile" split from Hamas in Gaza, or give Israel a good reason (after a reasonable offer) to continue its operations against Hamas Gaza. A win-win.

UPDATE III: Don't look for the cease-fire to last too long if this keeps up:
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to fire rockets at the western Negev on Saturday evening, despite a cabinet decision that the IDF would halt their fire from 2 a.m. Sunday. At least seven rockets were fired after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced the unilateral cease-fire, with one Grad-type rocket causing power outages in Ashdod.
The cult of death continues to ask Israeli assistance in attaining their goal.
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