Monday, January 19, 2009

Hamas joins fragile Israeli ceasefire.

Hamas have agreed to the Israeli ceasefire for a week, but have attached some conditions of their own, not surprisingly, an insistence that the siege of Gaza must end.

Israel's ceasefire, which came into effect at midnight on Saturday, was followed yesterday afternoon by the announcement from Hamas that it and other factions would follow suit. "The Palestinian resistance movements announce a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and demand that enemy forces withdraw in a week and open all the border crossings to permit the entry of humanitarian aid and basic goods," Mussa Abu Marzouk, deputy leader of Hamas's political bureau, said in Damascus.
As ceasefires go, this one is fragile to say the least.

Israel, having battered the Palestinian civilian population to a pulp, are now unilaterally seeking to impose a ceasefire on it's terms, insisting that it be allowed to continue to starve the Palestinians whilst they agree not to attack it with rocket fire.

The international community is seeking to use this opportunity to end the siege:

News of the ceasefire galvanised international diplomatic activity. The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, the chief Arab mediator, called a brief summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. "We must secure the ceasefire and in the next phase make certain that Israeli forces withdraw from Gaza, the crossings are reopened and the siege is lifted," he said.

Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced a tripling of UK humanitarian aid to Gaza, pledging an additional £20m. He also criticised Israel for using excessive force. "We are yet to discover the full scale of the appalling suffering. But what is already clear is that too many innocent civilians, including hundreds of children, have been killed."

I noticed last night that Brown, whilst falling over backwards to please the Israelis, nevertheless insisted that the crossings be reopened.

This will be the place where this ceasefire holds or breaks.

The Israelis are unilaterally calling for a ceasefire, but insisting that they still have the right to starve the Palestinians. That is simply not acceptable.

Israel must end their cruel siege of the Palestinian people.

Olmert and others are boasting that they have proved, after the disaster of Lebanon, that Israel once again has the ability to deter it's enemies. And there's a certain truth in that. Israel has certainly proved that she is willing to inflict terrible damage on to a civilian population. But she didn't wipe out Hamas, nor did she manage to stop the rocket fire.

But, if the message was that we will kill indiscriminately until you understand that we have been armed by the greatest superpower in the world, then the message has been received.

But the damage done to Israel by this tactic is immeasurable.
Ari Shavit, a leading columnist on the newspaper, 'Haaretz', was a fervent proponent of the "just war" at the outset. By Friday, he was writing: "Shelling a United Nations facility is something not to be done at any time, but doing it on the day when the UN Secretary-General is visiting Jerusalem is beyond lunacy. The level of pressure the Israel Defence Forces have been exerting on Gaza may be squeezing Hamas, but it is destroying Israel. Destroying its soul and its image. Destroying it on world television screens, destroying it in the living rooms of the international community... "
Olmert may think that he has avenged his disaster in Lebanon, but I feel he has only compounded it. He has shown, once again, that Israel will inflict terrible damage on to a civilian population who were not guilty of the original crime.

Recent reports are claiming that 86% of those killed in Gaza were civilians.

If that's the message he intended to send then it has been well received. But Israel's reputation lies in tatters.

Here we see Mark Regev, interviewed on British television, claiming that many of these deaths were actually caused by Hamas.

As the interviewer states, "You are not serious are you?" But Regev insists that he is "100% serious I assure you."

That's where this conflict has left Israel; claiming - with a straight face - that Hamas have been killing the Palestinians and not them.

It says a lot about Israel's credibility at this moment in time that Regev can even make such a claim.

Click title for full article.


Steel Phoenix said...

The timing from beginning to end was so perfectly coinciding with political pressures, slaughter so premeditatedly choreographed. It really makes me wonder what Israel would do if the rest of the world weren't watching. How much soul have they sold for their holy dirt?

Thank you for having an excellent blog. I'm surprised you don't get more comments.

Kel said...

The timing was horrendously political, right down the "ceasefire".

And I've always been surprised by the lack of comments on here. But I keep going anyway. I just want to keep up the good fight, whether or not anyone engages.

Steel phoenix said...

I'd send you some readers, but I'm in the same position.

I've actually had pretty good luck bringing in relevant visitors by submitting links to my posts to a site called Twine. It is a social networking site that isn't so bogged down with users that you go unnoticed. There is also a service like google alerts for blog comments called backtype. I've used it to some success by targeting niche terms and commenting elsewhere. It's actually how I found you. I have more info on them at

Kel said...

Thanks for that SP. I'll have a look at both of them.