Who Broke the 2008 Cease-fire between Hamas & Israel?

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow (Jan 7, 2009)

We have gathered FROM OFFICIAL ISRAELI SOURCES some information about the background of the bloodshed in Gaza that is not widely available.

Most of the American media have asserted that Hamas canceled the cease-fire. It is true that Hamas has been firing rockets at Israel, but this is not the whole story.

Israeli Intelligence authorities, in a Web posting on November 16, reported that rocket firings from Gaza had been extremely few from June, when the ceasefire began, into November. In June, 5 rockets and 4 mortar shells; in July; 4 rockets and 8 mortar shells; in August, 8 rockets and 3 mortar shells; in September, 1 rocket and 3 mortar shells; in October, 2 rockets and 0 mortar shells. And these, the report concluded, were being fired not by Hamas but by small terrorist groups.

Then, the report said, on November 4 Israel dropped bombs to stymie what the Israelis believed was an impending attempt to abduct some Israeli soldiers. The attack killed several Palestinians. Then and then only, according to Israeli Intelligence, Hamas sent rockets flying again into Israel .

Then on November 15, a similar scenario. Israel "preventively" attacked what it thought was a new tunnel to smuggle arms into Gaza, killing several Palestinians in the process., Again, Hamas fired a flurry of rockets. After that, Israeli intelligence concluded that it was unlikely the previous "calm" or ceasefire could be restored.
I repeat, this report was put on line by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC). Their title for it is " Significant erosion of the lull arrangement in the Gaza Strip."

The report can be seen, including graphs of the drop and rise in rocket attacks, by clicking to –


What to make of this information?

· In terms of actual, physical violence, the first such major violence after the ceasefire began came from Israel. That violence, at first glance, broke the ceasefire.

· But -- could Israel have been expected to hold back if an abduction or a dangerous tunnel were really being planned? Was their estimate correct? If so, why was Hamas doing this after months of imposing deep calm?

· When the Israeli Army did attack, could Hamas have responded in another way -- for example, supporting a huge expansion of the nonviolent "ship-ins" that were breaking the Israeli embargo and bringing foods and medicines to Gaza by small boats? If so, why did they not choose to do that?

· Did the Israeli government discuss whether to renew the ceasefire on the Israeli side by halting attacks they claimed to be "preventive," and seeking renewal of the cease-fire by Hamas? What was the effect of the oncoming election on the Israeli government's assessments?