Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The End of Another Ceasefire

An ambulance in Sderot evacuates the wounded

Despite a cessation in Israeli army operations in Gaza, as per an agreement reached with the Palestinians, militant groups have fired more than 50 Qassam rockets since this latest ceasefire began. A number of rockets have hit perilously close to strategic installations in Ashqelon. Today, one teenager is in critical condition after a Qassam hit a residence in Sderot. Another youth suffered moderate injuries. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility.

There have been numerous cases in which rockets landed in family living-rooms or narrowly missed people's bedrooms. There are certainly factions in the Gaza strips who do want a cease fire, including members of Hamas. But it is clear that neither those with the strongest militias nor those with the most popular legitimacy have been able to prevent the ongoing rocket fire. Of course, even military action - whether in the form of ground incursions, air force strikes, or artillery - has not been entirely effective. For now, Israel has appealed to the United Nations. But can the Israeli government really continue to treat these rocket launches as mere crimes or small-scale cease fire violations? Already yesterday, Defense Minister Amir Peretz called for an end to the policy of restraint.

World opinion will probably continue to condemn Israeli counter-attacks, while belittling the impact of the Qassams. At the same time, with every Qassam strike that Israel absorbs during cease fires such as this one, the Palestinians lose credibility among those powers who have invested in mediation.


Anonymous said...

stop the fighting

Zach said...

Remember that this policy of restraint began when the last incursion failed to limit Qassam rocket fire. All it seemed to achieve was a staggeringly high Palestinian death toll, both militants and otherwise.
Peretz seems to have no real plan to halt the Qassams. And the recent Israel-approved transfer of some 2,000 assault rifles from Egypt to the PA seems like a petty attempt to shore up one side against another.

Amos said...

Yup, you're right Zach. I think the threats to target the Hamas political leadership again worked in helping some of the organizations to agree to a ceasefire.