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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Hamas did not reject a ceasefire, Israel did

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Shayma al-Masri, age 4, wounded in an Israeli air strike that killed her mother and two of her siblings, in a hospital in Gaza City, 15 July 2014.

(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

It’s the siege, stupid. Talk to virtually anyone in Gaza and they will tell you the same. The siege is living death, slowly crushing the life out of Gaza. It has to end.

This is a main reason why Hamas did not accede to the attempt by Israel, through its ally the Egyptian dictatorship, to impose a unilateral “ceasefire” about which Hamas says it was never even consulted, hearing about the initiative only through the media.

Al-Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, said the initiative “is not worth the ink that wrote it” and “promised the Palestinian people that this blood and sacrifices will not be wasted by whoever was in this world.”

No return to status quo

As Mya Guarnieri explains succinctly in +972 Mag, the Egyptian “ceasefire” would have meant a return to a comfortable status quo for Israel in which:

Israel strikes Gaza from time to time and kills Palestinian civilians there and in the West Bank without garnering much scrutiny from the international media and, by extension, the international community. Returning to the status quo would also mean an end to the immediate damage to Israel’s image caused by the horrific photos and footage coming out of Gaza, and global protests against what Israel calls “Operation Protective Edge.”

But it would mean no change to the reality for 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza living under crushing siege.

In the immediate period, the bogus “ceasefire” initiative gives Israel the opportunity to spin headlines in its direction – claiming that Hamas are being irrational and unreasonable “terrorists.”

Already, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that “If Hamas rejects the ceasefire, we will have international legitimization to restore the needed quiet.”

That is a euphemism to kill more people, on top of the almost 200 Israel has already killed, the vast majority of whom civilians, including dozens of children. This systematic targeting of civilians and civilian objects in intense bombardments of Gaza has continued since 7 July.

Media are likely to follow the Israeli spin instead of asking Israel why it is maintaining the collective punishment of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and why it constantly violates ceasefire agreements.

But the fact remains: it is Israel that has rejected reasonable ceasefire conditions that have always been on the table.

Why won’t Israel accept what it already signed?

Hamas’ conditions for a ceasefire have been clear. As the Guardian reported on 9 July, Hamas has:

asked for the ceasefire conditions from the last major round of fighting with Israel in [November] 2012 to be reinstated, for the re-release of prisoners freed by Israel in exchange for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, who were rounded up again by Israeli after the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, later found murdered, and an end to what it says is Israeli meddling in the Palestinian unity government.

In other words, Hamas mostly wants Israel to abide by agreements it has already made.

In November 2012, Israel agreed to “stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip [by] land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.”

Another crucial condition of the November 2012 ceasefire agreement, to which Hamas remains committed is:

Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

But especially since the coup in Egypt last year, the siege, from all sides, has been tighter than ever.

As this graphic, made by Ben White and Rachele Richards using UN data in early 2013, shows, Israel’s gross violations of the ceasefire began immediately. “Ceasefire” meant, in practice, that the Palestinians ceased fire while Israel continued to attack, invade and kill.

“We don’t want to waste all this blood”

Many Twitter users in Gaza have expressed views reflecting that simply returning to the status quo is unacceptable, and would amount to a slow death, with Gaza out of sight and out of mind.

Here are some of them:

on Twitter

on Twitter

on Twitter

on Twitter

on Twitter

on Twitter

on Twitter

The intense Israeli bombing of Gaza has resumed, and retaliatory fire from Gaza has continued, which means that for Palestinians in Gaza the horror and dying has resumed, and for Israelis gathered to watch with picnics and lawn chairs, the enjoyable spectacle goes on.

Comments

Maybe Hamas might want to try not shooting rockets indiscriminately at Israel from sites in civilian areas, as if they're real men, hiding behind women and children. Get real.

Yeah... because the Israeli army are the real men hiding behind their missiles, jetfighters and drones. Get a grip!

And IF Hamas do irresponsibly bring civilians into the conflict (as is widely claimed yet less widely proven), where is the sense in bombing the entire location, especially if you know it will result in civilian casualties?

Oh wait thats right... I forgot the golden rule of Israeli warfare: "it is PERMISSIBLE to KNOWINGLY slaughter innocent Palestinians if Israeli lives are at risk. Never mind attempting to employ a more measured and proportional tactic... simply bomb them all, innocent or guilty!"

If Israelis are at risk? I dun think people flocking to hilltops with their lawn chairs to cheer bombing of civilians can be at risk, the scums are romanticizing the killings of civilians while the bitch of Israel, USA and world media r busy projecting these zionist dïcks as victims, shit world we are living in.

You make fair point. Israeli lives are hardly at risk at all. Which makes their carpet bombing policy all the more despicable.

As for the notion of "rocket fire from civilian areas" our Zionist-brainwashed friends may want to read the following from OCHA-oPT yesterday:

Taken from UN OCHA-oPT Situation Report, 19/07/2014:

"Since 7 July, hundreds of homes have reportedly been directly targeted by Israeli airstrikes, causing a large number of civilian casualties. Human rights organizations have reported on multiple occasions about incidents where civilians or civilian objects have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes, in circumstances where there was allegedly no rocket fire or armed group activity in the close vicinity. Such reports, along with the high proportion of civilian casualties, continue to raise concerns about respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack under international humanitarian law."

The Zionists can't claim that every airstrike has been conducted on a target where a rocket was fired. They can't claim that every airstrike was preceded by a leaflet or roof knocking.

Therefore if even one airstrike was conducted on a civilian home without any prior warning, that amounts to an incredible war crime of the highest stature. Something tells me there hasn't just been one such incident, but many.

"Maybe Hamas might want to try not shooting rockets indiscriminately at Israel from sites in civilian areas"

I'm sorry, but in an area as heavily populated as Gaza (mind you, an area even more densely populated than London) , it's kinda hard to find someplace that isn't a civilian area.
Also, Israel is indiscriminately dropping bombs as well, GBU's at that. I.e. they can pinpoint exactly where they want them to hit, and target 4 kids playing on the beach because somehow, children who have yet to hit puberty are a military threat. Meanwhile, Hamas (the democratically elected political group) is using homemade missiles with up to 100kg of TNT (which isn't even that much). Hamas has fired over 600 of these missiles, only two of which have actually caused any damage. The resulting death toll? 1. One person, that's all.
Furthermore, your "as if they're real men" statement is kinda, really, a lot of bullshit. You know what's not manly? Using supersonic jets and offshore naval destroyers to fire missiles and drop bombs. Israel has repeatedly broken every principle of Jus in Bello and you have failed to realize that. I give you an A+ on your understanding of the ethics of war and peace, and your global awareness. Way to go, here's a gold star!

That's the crux. Just because hamas' 600 odd rockets are doing no real damage to isreal, they are doing a lot more to gaza. They help isreal legitimise it's actions to the rest of the world. Reject a deal and chuck some more rockets over the fence, so letting your people be killed, that's how the world are seeing this whether you agree or not.

Thanks for clarifying these points, most of which are absent in mainstream media

Part 1 of a 2-part post.

Yes--Israel did provoke the conflict and I lay 90% of the blame on Israel for their being this war in the first place. The blockade against Gaza and the near daily price tag attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank set a poisonous background. The Nakba Day killings and the apparent IDF coverup understandably multiplies Palestinian anger and causes despair. And perhaps most importantly, as Max Blumenthal and JJ Goldberg revealed, Israeli officials knew the three Israeli teens were murdered the day after the kidnapping, but Shin Bet implemented a gag order to keep the population in the dark.

http://forward.com/articles/20...

Israeli officials misled the public and gave them false hopes that the teens might be found alive. They used this pretext to dismantle Hamas in a dragnet in which hundreds were arrested in the West Bank and six people were killed. Netanyahu's (and others) careless rhetoric helped fan the flames of racist fanaticism that got out of control, resulting in the torture murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. And perhaps worst of all, Netanyahu and friends refused to tell the Israeli public that murder of the three Israeli teens was carried out by a rogue element of Hamas and was not instigated by Hamas leadership.

They instigated the war, so up until the proposed cease fire, most of the blame for the Palestinian deaths should fall on them.

But Hamas's rejection of the cease fire is morally bankrupt and tactically stupid. They can't touch Israel militarily. They give Israel a propaganda victory since Israel now looks reasonable in its acceptance of the cease fire. In the eyes of the world, Israel is now justified in its attacks on Gaza since they were willing to stop, but Hamas continued to fire rockets. Hundreds more Gazans will die while Hamas leaders cower in their bunkers. And to what avail? Hamas now bears most of the blame for those deaths.

Dude, i don't think you've fully read the article above. it says that hamas were not informed of the ceasefire proposed by egypt and if they did, they just want zionist to reinstate the previous ceasefire they had been made previously.

Why the heck hamas want a ceasefire since zionist cannot even honored the previous agreed ceasefire for both sides? Hamas know the truth that zionist won't even honor the same ceasefire as they did in the past as long as they are being initiated by the same zionist government and egypt government's traitorous act of helping zionist in some ways or another. smart enough for you to call others stupid and immoral who are fighting to defend and taking back their homeland from invaders. quite shallow fellow we have here when he uses only one side to convey his view of judgment.

Part 2 of 2

If Hamas is playing this to get world sympathy for their cause, they are playing it stupidly. The Israelis get to say "What choice do we have but to keep up the attack? We want peace. We want it to stop. We are willing to stop. But they will attack us and attack us and attack us. We have no choice but to counterattack until they stop."

And while there will be a great deal of sympathy and sadness for the innocent Gazan civilians who are killed and maimed in the Israeli attacks, there will be no real concerted effort to stop them. It will be impossible to organize significant pressure against Israel while Israel is under unceasing rocket attack. Hamas will be largely blamed for their bullheaded insistence of sacrificing Palestinian lives in a futile attempt to gain propaganda points.

If Hamas was truly interested in the welfare of the Palestinian population it would accept the cease-fire, distasteful though the terms may be. It would let the BDS movement continue to pressure Israel. And it would encourage the PA to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice. As a military force, Hamas is a joke. Military means will not enable it to benefit the Palestinian people.

And if Hamas REALLY wants to get world opinion on its side it will revise its charter to accept Jews living peacefully in Israel/Palestine, or whatever political entity or entities evolve in what was the Palestinian Mandate. Israel will come under tremendous world pressure if it does not reciprocate by taking a more judicious approach towards the Palestinians.

Hamas revised its charter in 2006!! Keep up.

Thanks for informing me of this. I have been unable to find anything about the 2006 revision of Hamas's charter. I have seen its 2006 election platform.

Summary of platform
http://israelipalestinian.proc...

The platform itself.

http://www.ikhwanweb.com/artic...

Is this the revision in its charter that you are talking about? If so, then you are confusing a platform--which spells out the temporary details of how to implement the charter--with the permanent goals enunciated in the charter itself.

And then there is this excerpt from an article in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01...

"Despite the platform's relative moderation, a Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, vehemently denied any contradictions with the charter. "The platform refers to details and implementation methods for the next four years, while the charter lays out our permanent strategic views," he said."

Am I missing something? Did Hamas genuinely change its charter in 2006? Has it officially repudiated its claim that all of Historical Palestine is part of an Islamic waqf? If so, could you please provide a link to the new charter?

Israel is a terrorist state. This fact is resounding.

Quote from OCHA's report: "According
to the ISA, in 2013, 63 rockets and 11 mortar
shells were launched towards Israel compared
to 2,327 rockets and 230 mortar shells in 2012". Get your statistics right. http://www.ochaopt.org/documen...

Your title says "Israel rejected the ceasefire" but the content doesn't gives facts for this say, making the whole article very misleading. If you have a claim or a say prove it, and don't just write an article about "how bad Israel is" without proving your claims.

Right!

It simple really: israel rejected the ceasefire which was agreed PREVIOUS to this one (upon certain conditions) by breaking it and invading Gaza anyway - thus causing Hamas to continue its resistance.

Why do the illegal immigrants (zionists) say Hamas are using women and kids as shields.When looking at the map of Gaza it looks like one massive prison with illegal settlements all around with lots of Zionists millitiary installations.