Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not suspended the talks for a ceasefire with Hamas despite the continuing rocket fire from Gaza and the bus bombing in Tel Aviv today. He convened the nine-member forum of ministers to discuss the terms of a ceasefire. Although the meeting was scheduled before the bus bombing, Netanyahu did not cancel it.
It is not clear whether the bus bombing is a game-changer and alters the politicians' plans, but, for now, top diplomatic sources believe that the terrorist attack will not affect the reaching of a ceasefire, the terms of which are almost finalized.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to meet Netanyahu before the bus bombing, but this afternoon, she flew to Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, after earlier meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) in Ramallah. Upon her arrival, she condemned the attack, which she called terrorism. The White House also condemned the attack in a statement, adding, "The United States stands ready to provide any assistance that Israel requires to bring the perpetrators to justice."
Defense sources: Room for ceasefire
The fact that no one was killed in the bus bombing makes it easier for Israel to pursue ceasefire talks, mediated by Egypt.
Last night and this morning, the IDF identified 75 rockets fired against Israel from Gaza, most of which fell in open spaces and 20 of which were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries. Defense sources said that the continuing rocket fire will not force Israel to continue the fighting, and that the previous flare-ups in Gaza ended without a total cessation of rocket fire. The sources minimized the effect of the bus bombing, saying that, since the start of Operation Pillar of Cloud, the Israel Security Agency had received scores of reports about plans to make terrorist attacks and foiled most of them in the early stage. The sources said that there was room for a ceasefire on the basis of the achievements in past week of fighting.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 21, 2012
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