A senior Israeli official is meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo on 15 January 2009 regarding a proposed ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel. Reports emerged on 14 January that Hamas has accepted in principle the Egyptian-proposed plan; however, despite some signs of progress, both sides have issues with certain aspects of the proposed truce, reducing the likelihood that it will be implemented immediately. Few details regarding the ceasefire proposal have been made public, but it reportedly calls for an immediate short-term truce that will be followed by a longer-term ceasefire; additionally, the plans implementation could be divided into several phases. In other related developments, the Arab League announced on 14 January that it had not garnered a quorum to convene a summit in Qatar on 16 January to discuss Israel’s operations in Gaza. Saudi Arabia is hosting an emergency meeting on 15 January regarding the situation, and many Arab states are expected to discuss the situation at the upcoming Arab Economic Summit in Kuwait, which is scheduled to take place on 19-20 January.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead continues in the Gaza Strip, where on 15 January the U.N. headquarters was reportedly bombed. Thus far, more than 1,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, while approximately 13 Israelis have died. Rocket attacks on southern Israel continue as well; at least 21 rockets were fired on 15 January, while about 15 rockets were launched on 14 January. Locations such as Ashdod, Sderot, Ashkelon, Gedera, Beersheba and other communities located close to the Gaza Strip border continue to be affected. In northern Israel, the border with Lebanon remains tense but calm since three rockets were launched from southern Lebanon on 14 January; later in the day, Lebanese officials announced that Lebanese troops found and dismantled three other rockets that were aimed at Israel and ready to be fired. The potential remains for militants in Lebanon to fire additional rockets into Israel.