Cease-fire coming soon in Gaza?

posted at 11:01 am on November 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

With Israel poised to commence a ground invasion of Gaza, diplomats have rushed to figure out a formula for a cease-fire that would allow the current hot conflict between Israel and Hamas to return to the status quo ante — if possible.  Former Rep. Jane Harman, who left Congress after getting aced out of the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee in a Nancy Pelosi power play, told CNN earlier this morning from Egypt that the new government in Cairo has begun to take the issue seriously, and that prospects for a cease-fire agreement had improved:

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas could come as early as Monday afternoon, former Rep. Jane Harman said Monday morning. …

“Gaza is on the minds of everybody here, and as I have heard in the last hour or so, there is reason for optimism that a cease-fire could be announced as early as this afternoon, and the role Egyptians have played in helping broker that is viewed as very positive,” said Harman, the director of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Her comments come as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to intensify, and as reports indicate that delegations from Israel and Hamas have separately met with Egyptians to discuss the possibility of a cease-fire.

I share the CNN anchor’s skepticism on this point, or at least skeptical about their brokerage of a lasting cease-fire.  Can they get Hamas to stop shooting rockets at Israel?  Can they push Hamas to give up weapons that can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from Gaza?  If they can do that, then perhaps Israel has reason to stand down and stop their own military action.  The problem now, with the attacks on Jerusalem especially, is that Hamas has made it clear that they represent an existential threat to the entirety of Israel from Gaza.  Without guarantees that these weapons have been destroyed and that Egypt’s Hamas-friendly government won’t passively or actively resupply their Muslim Brotherhood brethren in Gaza, a cease-fire won’t last long.

The Politico piece offers this tantalizing rumor, one which hasn’t exactly gone mainstream until now:

Harman, who spoke from Egypt on CNN’s “Early Start,” has been mentioned as a possible successor to retired Gen. David Petraeus for as head of the CIA — something she wouldn’t rule out during her appearance.

Most have assumed that Michael Morell would naturally continue his current role at the top as soon as the White House got around to appointing him as the official CIA Director rather than acting CIA director.  They would probably prefer to wait until the Benghazi probes conclude, so as not to muddy Morell’s confirmation chances.  Current White House figures John Brennan and Tom Donilon would also make more sense than Harman, who was well-regarded on the intel committee, but hardly an obvious choice for running the show.  If she turns out to be wrong about the Mohamed Morsi government’s efforts to craft a cease-fire that isn’t just a defense of Hamas, the long-shot choice may quickly become the no-shot choice.

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