Attacks continue, but the Israelis are hoping they will stop. And Condoleeza Rice, let us remember, said a few days ago: “We should be in a position of encouraging confidence, not undermining it. No party should be taking steps at this point that could prejudice the outcome of the negotiation.” However, she was scolding Israel, not the Palestinians — for whom she has not had an unkind word.
“Israel confirms: Truce to begin Thursday; Kassams continue,” from the Jerusalem Post, June 18 (thanks to Sr. Soph):
Amidst confirmations from both Israel and Hamas of a cease-fire to come into effect Thursday morning, Kassam rockets launched from the Gaza strip continued to land in various areas of the western Negev on Wednesday.
Government spokesman Mark Regev confirmed Wednesday that Israel has accepted the Egypt-brokered ceasefire. As the truce goes into effect, talks to kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will intensify, Regev said.
Egypt announced a six-month agreement on Tuesday, saying it would begin Thursday at 6 a.m. Hamas confirmed the deal shortly afterward.
“Thursday will be the beginning we hope of a new reality where Israeli citizens in the south will no longer be on the receiving end of continuous rocket attacks,” Regev said. “Israel is giving a serious chance to this Egyptian initiative and we want it to succeed.” […]
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal also spoke of the truce, telling Reuters Tuesday night that “The enemy tried…to merge the issue of Gilad Schalit with the truce. We rejected this and in the final Egyptian offer the two issues are not linked,” he told Reuters.
“The Gilad Schalit issue is linked to an exchange deal … whereas the truce involves a bilateral cease-fire, lifting the blockade and opening the crossings,” Mashaal added.
Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau, stressed Wednesday morning that the truce is dependent on the cessation of Kassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with Army Radio, Gilad threatened that “if [firing of Kassam rockets] continues, it will constitute a violation of the cease-fire, and the IDF is also prepared for [this situation], regardless of where the Kassams come from, from Hamas or Islamic Jihad.”
Despite the imminent truce, a total of ten Kassam rockets landed in the western Negev Wednesday, Israel Radio reported. One rocket hit a greenhouse, causing minor damage. No casualties were reported in the attacks.
Also Wednesday morning, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on Bezeq employees who were working along the Gaza perimeter near Karni Crossing. There were no wounded in the attack….