Reuters U.K. reports “Here is a timeline of events since early December”
This must be the new way to report things – in a manner to show that “poor” Israel is such a peaceful loving bunch; that they simply had enough aggression against them and finally had to “defend” themselves!
Really! But here’s the full timeline and what happened earlier and before Reuter’s December timeline!
Here are the facts and the documented timeline:
The truce between Hamas and Israel was reached on 19 June 2008 by virtue of Egyptian mediation: the aim was that of favouring an agreement between Al Fatah and Hamas, as a result of the internecine clash that had been going on for months, as indispensable promise to achieve an accord with the Jewish State, according to the expectations of Egypt and Saudi Arabia who are lined up with the western countries in demanding a partition, albeit unequal, of Palestine between Israel and Palestinians.
What is clear is that the truce was necessary to Hamas which had just taken over the control of the Gaza Strip, having to cope with, on one side, the Israeli army’s pressure and, on the other, the sealed Egyptian border and the civil conflict with Al-Fatah. After all, this is maintained, without mincing his words, by what today seems to be the Israeli strong man, Minister of Defence and former chief of staff of the Jewish State, Ehud Barak.
To the Italian correspondent who interviewed him, during the truce, by asking: “The Israeli government has agreed on a truce with Hamas. Does this mean the failure of the political/economic embargo policy?”, he clearly replies: “Quite the contrary. Hamas demanded the ceasefire due to the embargo’s pressure and the military operations against the Qassam rocket launches. We won’t negotiate with Hamas, we are only dealing for having the kidnapped soldier released (translator’s note, Gilad Shalit). And we won’t negotiate until they accept the Quartet’s conditions: the recognition of Israel, acknowledgment of previous agreements and the giving up on violence. In short, until Hamas stops being Hamas.” (Corriere della Sera, 7 August 2008).
As gesture meant to prove its good will, on 30 October Hamas released all of the 19 Al-Fatah members it had been keeping in detention, in consideration of the opening of direct talks, which were to start on 8 November in Cairo. On Monday 3 November, Hamas dispatched beforehand a delegation to study Egypt’s and Al-Fatah’s proposals.
November 2008 (breaking the truce)
Wednesday 5 November an Israeli paratrooper unit carried out a “targeted” attack over the little town of Deir-al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, reportedly at the aim of destroying a tunnel used for introducing men and materials in Palestinian territory: a Palestinian fighter died during the operation. Hamas’ answer was a mortar shell towards Israeli territory. Israel then launched an air attack during which a further five Hamas fighters died.
Under the pretext of the rocket launches following the killing of the six militants, at that point Israel started closing all the border crossings thanks to which all the food, fuel and medicines could enter to bring relief to the 1.5 million Gazans.
“The attack comes shortly before a key meeting this Sunday in Cairo when Hamas and its political rival Al-Fatah will hold talks on reconciling their differences and creating a single, unified government. It will be the first time the two sides have met at this level since fighting a near civil war more than a year ago”, is the comment by Rory McCarthy, Jerusalem-based correspondent from the Guardian.
According to the Associated Press, the decision of the attack came directly from the Minister of Defence Ehud Barak: hence, not a mere routine operation but a military one which was politically motivated, since it infringed the truce standing since June 2008 and just at a time when the Palestinians had the first serious chance, after a year, of re-establishing a unified government to negotiate, in a united way, with Israel.
Yet, the importance of the attack didn’t only lie in making a détente between the 13 Palestinian fighting factions impossible: the political stakes for Israel were much higher, by investing a strategic element, preventing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from getting internationalized and to keep handling the negotiations within the Jewish State.
As a matter of fact, on 9 November in Sharm-al-Sheik, Egypt, a meeting of the so-called Quartet composed of US, EU, Russia and UN was expected to take place. Their main task was to keep the Annapolis peace process alive, after it had been started without any outstanding result by the American President Bush. The target, announced in November 2007, was in fact that of reaching an agreement between Israel and Al-Fatah within 2008, in order to avoid the definitive failure of the peace process.
Actually, the 9 November 2008 talks do nothing but bring about an outright impasse: considered that the US and Israel have a change of leadership ahead of them, the only new fact might just be a re-unified Palestinian leadership that might exert a strong international pressure in favour of the peace process, since only the Palestinians had a concrete interest in reaching an agreement by the end of the year, well aware that otherwise Israel would settle the question on its own.
Therefore, the Israeli attack warded off this risk as well. Actually, Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni would later say unmistakably: “We have taken steps so as to assure that the [peace] process will go on being bilateral and that the world won’t interfere with the contents of the talks but will back them without trying to impose solutions or to come up with frail ones”. Putting the international initiative off until an unspecified time, maybe to spring 2009 in Moscow, Israel therefore won again enough political manoeuvring room to take up the initiative in Palestine without any international interference.
On 11 November, the Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert claimed the inevitability of a clash with Hamas and, the following day, Israel carried out a raid provoking the death of further 4 Hamas militants in order to make the message clear both to Hamas itself and to the international community.
On 23 November, Hamas, urged once again by Egypt, stopped launching rockets and decided to resume talks with Al-Fatah, on condition that Israel would open the crossings in Gaza.
On 17 December, just on the eve of the truce’s expiration, Israel launched another air strike against Gaza to which Hamas responded by firing eight rockets and five mortar shells against small Jewish towns in the south. At the same time, Hamas’ official spokesman Ayman Taha stated that, as Israel had been no longer complying with the truce since November, Hamas wasn’t going to prolong the truce beyond its expiration term, at 6 a.m. of 19 December.
In the meantime, since 4 November, Israel had killed in different operations at least 18 Palestinians altogether, mainly but not only fighters, while Hamas had launched about 200 between rockets and mortar shells, claiming no lives.
Just on 17 December, owing to the renewed hostilities, Israel again closed the crossings preventing the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees) from delivering food to the approximately 750 thousand Palestinians looked after in the Gaza Strip.
Read the full article – and source – her: Palestine Think Tank- Chronicles of a Predicatable Slaughter!
Uri Avnery wrote:
“ISRAEL MUST defend itself against the rockets that are terrorizing our Southern towns,” the Israeli spokesmen explained. “Palestinians must respond to the killing of their fighters inside the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas spokesmen declared.
As a matter of fact, the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.
..But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians.
Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.
That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.
And Israel continues its Ethnic Cleansing and Massacres!