Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The End of Another Ceasefire
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.
Posted by Amos at 1:02 PM