How Israel breached the ceasefire, to set up an invasion
ISRAELI propaganda is making much of the Hamas breach of the June-December Gaza ceasefire with rocket-fire into southern Israel. What is not being discussed — nor reported on — are Israel’s own breaches of the ceasefire, which left at least seven dead, homes bulldozed and women blind-folded and abducted… and set up the current attack on Gaza.
These incursions provoked the rocket attacks that are now being exploited to justify the current Israeli attack on Gaza.
Late on Tuesday 4 November Israeli tanks entered central Gaza near Deir al_Balah and Khan Younis and the Maghazi refugee camps. The incursion lasted for three days and was supported by air strikes, which directly killed four Palestinians.
On the night the Israelis breached the ceasefire the rest of the world — including the media — was focused on the election victory of US-President elect Barrack Obama.
Israel was already in breach of the ceasefire — it had never honored its ceasefire commitment to lift its blockade of Gaza and open the checkpoints, refusing to allow into Gaza much-needed resources.
The Ma’an News Agency first reported the Israeli ceasefire breach on Wednesday 5 November. The blog From Occupied Palestine filed its first report on 5 November and added more details on 6 November. The Israeli incursion appears to have been ignored by mainstream western media agencies.
Ma’an reported the Israeli army claim it was searching for tunnels which had been dug to abduct Israeli soldiers. There was never a claim by the Israelis that the incursion was aimed at stopping rockets being fired into southern Israel.
All told seven fighters of the Hamas armed wing, the al_Qassam Brigades, were killed.
It is apparent from the local Ma’an and Occupied Palestine reports that the incursions led to rocket-firing from a plethora of militant organizations… with Hamas struggling to calm the situation and hold the ceasefire.
But within a week statements by Israeli prime minister Olmert emphasized the rockets, not Israel’s own incursion.
Haaretz has reported: “Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”
It added: “The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.”
The blog From Occupied Palestine, with love reported, “additionally, several other palestinians, including a woman, were injured. some of the injuries were sustained as Israeli tanks fired on civilians homes in the Deir al-Balah area, while others were injured as the results of missiles launched from Israeli war planes.
“These missiles struck in various areas in Deir al-Balah. during these operations, four Israeli occupation soldiers were reportedly injured.”
Palestinian anger at the incursion led to the firing of some 40 or more rockets into southern Israel.
Reports by the Gaza-based Ma’an News Agency show the large number of Palestinian militias and factions in the area that responded. A press release from al-Qassam dated 6 November emphasized: “Our commitment to the calm depends on the commitment of the enemy, the occupation must be aware that we did not agree on calm from a position of weakness, but we are able to return to the battle at any time.”
On the same day of that release an update on the Occupied Palestine blog reports, “while Hamas attempts to negotiate with other Palestinian factions, urging calm and a return to the ceasefire, Israel carried out additional air strikes killing one Palestinian fighter.”
Reading the various reports, particularly the day-to-day reports from the Ma’an News Agency, indicates at least five Palestinian factions — including a Fatah al-Aqsa brigade working in conjunction with an Islamic Jihad al-Quds unit — responded with rockets after the incursion… while Hamas struggled with coping with the aftermath of the attack and arguing to maintain the ceasefire.
It was the firing of these rockets in the days after Wednesday 5 November that seem to be referred to in a BBC report two weeks later. This reported a further Israeli incursion into southern Gaza, when bulldozers were used to destroy agricultural land to the east of Rafah. The BBC reported: “Israel says it has tightened its blockade of Gaza in response to recent rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, which have caused minor damage but no casualties.” It added: “At least 16 Palestinian militants have been killed in skirmishes with Israeli forces along the border in the past two weeks.”
On the night of Tuesday 4 November, From Occupied Palestine reported, “armored Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian homes belonging to the al-Hamaydi family, in central Gaza’s al-Quarara neighborhood. Additionally, Israeli forces in this area seized at least seven Palestinians from the same family, including three women.”
The following day, the blog reports, a further Palestinian fighter was killed by a missile fired from an Israeli drone. “Israeli forces deployed unmanned aerial planes, also known as predator drones. these drones launched at least six missiles, three in northern Gaza, one in the al-Kukhari neighborhood in southern Gaza, and two in al-Qarara, east of Khan Younis.”
The Ma’an News agency reported three of the women were released after being “interrogated and assaulted for several hours”. A fourth woman, Hanin Al-Loh, remained in Beersheba hospital suffering from gunshot wounds to her back and legs.
The released women said Al-Loh was injured and left alone in the street bleeding for an hour before she and the others were abducted by Israeli soldiers. Two men, the husbands of the women detainees, were also abducted during the same raid.
On the Thursday, “Israel carried out a new type of ceasefire violation by directing live fire at Palestinian, Israeli and international solidarity activists engaging in an olive harvest.
“The harvesters were working inside the Gaza strip near the border fence with Israel. While working, Israeli occupation forces in several military jeeps arrived, and began firing. This was followed by live fire from an Israeli military watchtower. There were no injuries reported from the English, American, Italian, Israeli and Palestinians harvesters.”
Concurrent with this three-day incursion, the Israeli army bull-dozed four Palestinian homes in the Silwan district of Jerusalem. The week before the Israeli Navy had mounted a number of attacks on Gaza fishing boats.
It seems Israel’s latest assault on Gaza was actually launched in the first week of November.