Jerusalem – Palestinians fired 18 missiles at western Negev communities throughout the day yesterday. While no one was physically hurt and there was no property damage, people from communities in the Negev prepared a major demonstration in Jerusalem for today to demand a strong Israeli military strike against Gaza.

Yesterday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak to urge them to agree to the Egyptian-mediated truce proposal with the terror organizations.

The Israeli government security cabinet is to convene today, following the Olmert-Barak-Livni meeting.

Mr. Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi believe that, at the current time, it is not worthwhile to begin a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip. Their assessment is that a large-scale military operation will neither bring POW Cpl. Gilad Shalit back home nor will it stop the Kassam rocket fire.

Now a third option is beginning to crystallize: to opt for a localized operation, such as Operation Hot Winter, which was carried out by the Southern Command in the summer of 2007. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) seeks an operation that will not be too large scale but will create pressure on Hamas and other terror organizations.

There is no majority in the Israel government security cabinet in favor of the truce proposal in its current format. Mr. Barak, who has been the principal driving force behind this agreement, will try to persuade the security cabinet ministers today to support it. Mr. Barak believes that there is no need to obtain the security cabinet’s approval for such an agreement, because it is not a formal or binding agreement.

The truce will not be put in writing. It will begin with a telephone call from Cairo once the conditions for it ripen, and from that point onwards, there will be a cease-fire. Now, say IDF officials, the Egyptians have given assurances that they will take decisive action to prevent Hamas from building up its strength.

Israel’s intelligence establishment is not satisfied with the Egyptian proposal, which calls for an end to hostilities by all of the Palestinian organizations and an end to the arms smuggling into Gaza via Egypt. In that context, Israeli intelligence officials note that any truce would allow Hamas to gain strength.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.