Tag Archives: rocket attacks

Hamas Says It Does Not Want Rockets Fired

Many Middle Eastern leaders are seeking to find new ways of ending conflict in the Middle East and bring about some type of agreement between Israel and Palestinians. Great Britain has announced it will enter discussions with Hamas political leaders and even allowed a prominent Hamas official to speak in London. After recent rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, the Hamas leadership made clear it will not support such violence. “Regarding the report about rockets fired from Gaza, we emphasize that these rockets have no link to any of the Palestinian resistance groups and are being fired at the wrong time. We emphasize that the security agencies are investigating who is behind such acts.”

There is evidence Hamas understands it has to make moves to reflect a regional desire for peace and it most probably is ready to enter into what is termed a long term truce with Israel. Hopefully, if negotiations between President Abbas of Fatah and Hamas can conclude with some form of compromise, the stage will be set for serious negotiations with Israel. Perhaps, the modern problem is the inability of Israel to enter into such an agreement.

US-NATO Promise Aid To Halt Gaza Smuggling

The United States and NATO pledged to assist efforts to prevent the smuggling of arms into Gaza and to halt further rocket attacks from the area into Israel. The Israel government said it was pleased at this assurance and indicated this might lead the way to a cease fire in Gaza and an end to the carnage which has cost the lives of over one thousand Gazans. Secretary of State Condi Rice said the United States would provide technical support in order to monitor the border area in order to prevent smuggling.

Hamas insists it is fighting to open the crossings into Gaza. The death of over 1,000 people might have been avoided if Hamas had pursued other means to attain that goal. Children have died because Israel wants to send a message to Hamas and Hamas wants to send a message to Israel. Perhaps, both might have considered sending a message of life to the children who died.

Israel And Hamas “Welcome” A Cease Fire

Israel and Hamas both “welcomed”–but did not accept– an Egyptian-French plan for a cease fire agreement. The United States finally placed some pressure on Israel to agree to a cease fire as Secretary of State Condi Rice telephoned Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and urged an end to the fighting. However, Rice also added: “Our goal must be the stabilization and normalisation of life in Gaza.” But any cease fire “has to be a solution that does not allow the rearmament of Hamas.” Egyptian president Mubarak was reportedly trying to get a 48 hour cease fire to provide time to work out details of a longer term agreement. Hamas made clear it would insist that Israel forces withdraw from Gaza and open all crossings. Hamas leaders did not make any promises of halting rocket attacks.

The proposed plan includes such ideas as:

A cease fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

An international presence on the border of Gaza that might include American, Turkish and European Union soldiers.

The reality is no cease fire will last unless Hamas ends its rocket attacks once and for all. At the same time if rocket attacks end, Israel must open all border crossings.

Israel– The Right Or The Wrong War?

The Israel army has cut Gaza in half as ground forces ripped into the Strip in search of Hamas rocket launcher sites. There are a reported 30 Israel casualties as troops on the ground face well warmed Hamas forces which are ready to fight to the death. The past few days have witnessed an unprecedented air bombardment of Gaza as Israel planes attempt to take out Hamas military sites including those which have been established in civilian areas and even mosques. The growing issue is whether or not Israel is repeating its mistakes in Lebanon by confronting land forces with land forces. Will Israel get bogged down in the streets of Gaza and will Israel tanks by hit by new weapons given Hamas by Iranian sources?

Gaza is not Lebanon. It is flat and there is no equivalent to the mountains as was the case in Lebanon. If Israel troops enter cities, hundreds of innocent civilians will die and there will be heavy casualties on both sides. The reality is air bombing has resulted in massive destruction of the Gaza infrastructure and its population is even in worse shape than before. There is only one logical solution to the current situation– a cease fire supervised by UN forces and an end to rocket attacks along with opening all crossings so supplies can freely enter or leave.

Hamas Plays With Fire As Match Goes Out

Hamas has agreed to a temporary cease fire in its rocket attacks on Israel after receiving a warning from Egyptian officials that Israel was planning a massive attack on Gaza and would seek out Hamas leaders and kill them. “The Egyptians old us that Israel is planning to assassinate number of Hamas leaders,” according to one official. Hamas also indicated it was willing to discuss a long term end of attacks provided that Israel opens the Gaza crossings and agrees to end attacks on Hamas people on the West Bank. Israel officials believe Hamas is finally beginning to understand they simply can not continue sending rockets into Israel without some consequence to their action.

Egypt is trying to negotiate a truce that would witness opening the Gaza crossings and an end to rocket attacks. If those are the conditions it would be intelligent for Israel to cooperate and see what happens if they cease attacks on Palestinians on the West Bank.

Hamas Escalates Gaza Conflict

Hamas is ever ready to condemn Israel for violations of truce agreements, but it appears to ignore its own responsibility for the current conflict. Twenty three Kassam rockets pounded the western Negev area of Israel as Hamas prepared to end the truce with Israel. Of course, it is a rather strange truce highlighted by Hamas doing everything in its power to create turmoil and disorder in the region. Israel defense officials said the escalation would not result in any immediate action to enter Gaza and destroy rocket launch sites, but it left open the possibility of such an offense operation. Prime Minister Olmert stated in blunt terms: “the rocket fire is just clarifying what we’ve been saying all along, that we can’t have a situation where supposedly thee is an agreed-upon cease fire, while he reality on the found is completely different.”

The Israel army is itching to respond to the rocket attacks with some sort of invasion of Gaza. Most probably, that is exactly what Hamas desires–chaos and the death of innocent Gazans. Hamas knows if Israel invades Gaza it makes impossible for Abbas to negotiate an agreement to create an independent Palestinian nation. Hamas will do everything in its power to prevent emergence of such a nation. It prefers disorder and anger toward Israel because, Hamas endures on the basis of rhetoric, not action. Peace is the last item on its agenda.

Cease Fire Ends In Gaza As IDF Raids Militants

A behind the scenes cease fire developed with the assistance of Egypt appeared to be at an end after israel Defense Forces during raids in Bethlehem killed five members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In response, to the attacks, rockets began to be fired from Gaza. The gunmen who were killed were cnsidered to be part of the leadership of Islamic Jihad which had connections with Jihad leadership in Syria. Hamas claimed it had only agreed to a one week period of peace with Egyptian negotiators and that would end on Friday. The Palestinian Authority denounced the killings as an effort to destroy hopes for peace.

A major issue that hampers possibilities for peace is the demand by Hamas for an end to killings and arrests of militants in the West Bank while Israel insists it can never cease its efforts to seek out and kill every millitant who has been involved in the murder of Israelis. At some point, Israel has to take a step back and ascertain if by focusing on the present, peace is possible. One side can not continue killing members of the other side while demanding peace. The lesson of South Africa is a leader like Nelson Mandela arose who urged forgetting about past murders and brutality and rethink what could be done in the present.

There will be no cease fire until all sides adhere to a belief a cease fire means an end to all forms of aggression. This stance is a gamble, but any attempt to end brutality is always a gamble on both sides.

Into Gaza –Out Of Peace Negotiations For Israel

Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told foreign diplomats that Israel would reoccupy the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip if that was the only way to halt Kassam rocket attacks on neighboring cities. Secretary of State Condi Rice is attempting new efforts to restart the apparently stalled peace negotiations with President Abbas which have broken down due to the Gaza rocket situation. Livni made clear “we cannot afford this kind of exreme Islamic state controlled by Hamas” and unless rocket attacks cease, “we might find outselves in a situation where we have no other choice” but to send troops back into Gaza. She also blamed President Abbas for weakness by deciding to halt further discussions with the Israel government on resolving issues between Israel and Palestinian leaders.

Hamas in Gaza has been able to control the situation and decide whether Abbas can continue to pursue peace with Israel. They are undertaking a dangerous gamble, but so far it is working by allowing it to decide the course of Israel and Abbas actions. Israel still doesn’t grasp the importance of engaging in peace discussions with all groups including Hamas. Israel actually believed President Bush had an idea on how to achieve peace by the fiasco of the Annapolis Conference which excluded Hamas. The Hamas leadership has placed on the table an offer of a hudna, a cease fire in which neither side is allowed to continue military operations. Israel should accept this offer and insist Hamas must participate in peace talks along with Abbas.

Egypt Seeks Quiet Gaza Border

Egyptian authorities captured 12 armed Palestinians in the Sinai who were heading for resort areas on the coast in order to kill Israel tourists. The men entered Egypt after fences were blown up at the Ratah crossing where there are now 25,000 Egyptian troops massed to force all Palestinians still remaining on their territory to get back inside Gaza. The Egyptians do not want to militants running around their country disturbing its huge tourist trade by killing people.

There was a meeting in Cairo in which Hamas representatives insisted they wanted sole control over border crossings and rejected any recommendation for outside obsevers. However, after they left, senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zaher, told the Egyptians his group was prepared to allow the Palestinian Authority to control border crossings provided Israel had no say in the matter and was even willing to accept EU observers. The Egyptians urged Hamas to negotiate with Israel and promise to end rocket attacks.

Hamas is now willing to accept new elections for parliament provided there is a new election for the president. At some point, Hamas leaders have to recognize reality of their situation. Israel is not going to end control over border crossings until the rocket attacks cease. Hamas leaders often inhabit a bizarre world in which they can fire rockets and assume the object of rocket attacks will go along with their demands. Egypt has given Hamas some sound advice, they are wise to accept these recommendations.

Israel Closes Gaza Strip To World

Israel tightened its control over access to the Gaza Strip in response to continued rocket attacks, by closing crossings into the area. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides food to Palestinian refugees said it was not allowed to deliver truckloads of humanitarian spplles on Friday morning as it usually does. A spokesperson for the agency said, “Gaza is completely shut down. This will only add to an already dire situation.” Under the decision of Israel’s Defence Ministry, Gaza’s crossings were closed to all goods except for so-called “humanitarian cases” that must receive prior approval from Defence Minister Ehud Barak. The closure is definitely a signal to Hamas to take some action regarding rocket attacks. Yesterday, Prime Minister Olmert pledged to wage a “war” on militants, unfortunately, the only direct victims of the war are innocent civilians.

This decision will not only impact the people of Gaza, but will make it extremely difficult for President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to continue the process of negotiating peace with Israel. He will be under extreme pressure to do something that indicates his support for the people of Gaza. Perhaps, it is time for the Arab League, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority to bring together all groups with Hamas leaders in an effort to find a solution which both protects the people of Gaza and puts an end to rocket attacks. As part of such an agreement, Israel might pledge to cease attacking Hamas leaders as long as no rockets are fired.