Cease-Fire in Gaza After Israeli Airstrikes Take Out Hamas Training Camps

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Israeli girl couldn't stop crying as she examined her brand new blue Honda Accord. The passenger door had been pierced with six shrapnel holes. She worked three years to make the down payment for her car. A kassam attack from Gaza hit her neighborhood in Sderot, Israel. No one was killed in this attack and there were no injuries. Sderot is less than half a mile from the Gaza-Israeli border where the rockets are launched constantly.

That was two weeks ago.

Yesterday was the first time in weeks that the sirens, warning a kassam attack is seconds away, didn't sound. A cease-fire initiated by Hamas is underway in Gaza. The kassam rocketing has decreased significantly.

Hamas is reassessing their strategy, after Israeli air strikes took out more than 60 of their militants. At least 35 training camps and posts, mostly Hamas-run, were also destroyed. The strain has even been felt on the streets of Gaza. Fifteen Palestinian civilians, two of them young children, have been killed by air strikes. From an economic standpoint, the Palestinian people can't get fresh produce across the border because of an Israeli blockade. There have also been electricity shortages. So now Hamas has been forced to rethink their game plan.

Both Hamas and their Palestinian rival, Fatah, have been meeting with Egyptian officials. They've put together a 10-point plan to stop the kassam rocketing. Palestinian President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is expected to present the plan to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when the two meet on Thursday.

The Palestinians have agreed to stop Kassam firing if Israel stops threatening to assassinate Palestinian leaders, particularly Hamas. Israeli jets targeted the house of Khalil el Haiya, a Hamas leader a few weeks ago. He wasn't home, but eight of his relatives were. They were all killed in the attack.

As part of the plan, Israel would also have to stop incursions into the West Bank. But it's not looking so optimistic that Olmert will agree to the plan.

So … what's next?

Israel has never succeeded in halting the Kassam firing from Gaza. And now, a new Israeli intelligence report cites Hamas has a more developed weapon that can reach much further into Israel. Hamas hasn't used it yet.

So now we wait and see what comes of the Olmert-Abbas meeting Thursday.

Today, Abbas said his people are on the verge of a civil war. He's calling for final peace process talks to begin. It's hard to forget that the last time peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down was right as the second intifada began.

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Check out Reena's latest Mideast news packages:

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Reena Ninan is FOX News Channel's new Middle East correspondent. Before coming to Jerusalem, Reena joined the NYC bureau of FNC as an on-air correspondent in March 2006. Click over to read her full bio.