According to the Palestinian Basic Law (Article 110), a state of emergency may be declared for 30 days. It may be extended for another 30 days with the approval of a 2/3 majority of Parliament members. At the present time, an extension is impossible without Hamas' consent because they have the majority (54% of seats). Note that almost half their members are in Israeli jail. Perhaps if the Law is misinterpreted to mean 2/3 of members present, then extension of 30 days may be granted, although Hamas will be able to claim it as illegitimate. [Note also that Parliament cannot be suspended during an emergency - Art. 113] Given that the emergency cabinet is made up of technocrats and not Fatah people, and that the siege will be lifted at least for its duration, it may be comfortable enough for Hamas to allow the situation to continue for a while provided that some concession are made to them. They may insist on getting their fair share of aid money, especially for Gaza, and may keep the control over Gaza. They will thus keep their gains, impress the people with their good governance, and hope to gain even more in the future. The bottom line will be that Israel may be finally negotiating peace with Abbas, although now Hamas is no longer bound to allow a referendum on the deal. Notice that this could have been done before recent events (and with a referendum), but Israel foolishly refused. In any case, I don't believe Olmert is flexible enough to reach a deal, so this does not matter. But the recent siege policy was counter productive. Hamas is still here, but will have less pressure on itself to moderate further. Three cheers for Olmert and Bush.
Jerusalem light rail conductors striking over new train schedule (Haaretz)
from the article: Sharon's dream