Normative Narratives

Conflict Watch: Rocket From Gaza Hits Southern Israel (Cease Cease-Fire)

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Well that cease-fire did not last long. Since agreeing to a cease-fire last November, brokered by controversial Egyptian President Morsi, Palestinians ended the 3 month cease-fire by launching a rocket into southern Israel from Gaza strip Tuesday. The rocket caused damage but no casualties:

“A subgroup of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of the PalestiniansFatah faction, said in an e-mailed statement that it had fired the rocket in ‘an initial natural response to the assassination of prisoner Arafat Jaradat,’ a 30-year-old Palestinian who died in an Israeli jail on Saturday. The statement also said that Palestinians ‘should resist their enemy with all available means.’

“During a rally Sunday in Gaza, Hamas officials had expressed frustration with its rival Fatah faction in the West Bank for not doing more to support the prisoners. Attallah Abu Al-Sebah, Hamas’s minister of prisoner affairs, urged Fatah ‘to set the hand of resistance free to deter the occupation and stop its crimes against the prisoners,’ and called for kidnapping Israeli soldiers ‘instead of pursuing playful negotiations that brought nothing to the Palestinian cause.'”

“Mr. Masri [a Hamas lawmaker] said Israel was “fully responsible for the consequences of the wave of the Palestinian public fury.” He also accused Israel of violating the cease-fire first, citing several incidents in which Gazans have been shot near the strip’s borders with Israel and fishermen attacked at sea; the Israeli authorities have said their soldiers and sailors were only responding to efforts to breach the new limits set out in the cease-fire agreement.”

It is deeply disturbing that high level political leaders in Palestine are calling for kidnappings and rocket strikes only three months after a cease-fire was agreed to. Even if Hamas claims are true, the death of a prisoner during an interrogation is a poor reason to resume open warfare (especially when the last time open warfare occurred, the Palestinian side took much larger casualties than the Israelis. Clearly extremist political groups like Hamas and Fatah have no interest in securing a lasting cease-fire in the Gaza strip.

After the rocket fire Tuesday, Israel shut Kerem Shalom, the crossing through which commercial goods enter Gaza from Israel, and closed its Erez border crossing except for medical, humanitarian and “exceptional” cases, according to a statement from the military.

Sari Bashi, executive director of Gisha, a group that advocates for lifting Israel’s restrictions on the Gaza Strip, protested the closures in a letter to Israel’s defense minister, saying the timing raised ;serious concern that this is not a travel restriction necessitated by a concrete and weighty security imperative but rather a punitive act aimed at Gaza’s civilian population.’ She called the move ‘a dangerous regression to a policy that violates humanitarian law.'”

You know what else violates humanitarian law? Firing rockets at innocent civilians. It is absurd to believe that there will be no response to a rocket being fired into Israel by Palestine; citizens of Gaza should hope that supplies are the only response Israel plans for the attack.

“President Shimon Peres, who was visiting southern Israel on a previously scheduled tour, said, ‘Quiet will be met with quiet; missiles will be met with a response.’

‘I believe both sides have a deep interest in lowering the flames,’ Mr. Peres added.”

Palestinians can claim humanitarian grievances, but if they continue to pursues actions  that are likely to lead to open warfare, their words will remain hollow. Any chance of a real two-state negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine requires trust between the two sides, but also the ability for The Palestinian Authority to keep factions such as Hamas and Fatah under control (not the other way around). A ceasefire also requires a certain admission of past wrongdoings (so they do not occur again); the fact the Palestinians routinely break cease-fires and continue to blame Israeli’s is a microcosm of the larger intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There has not been one rocket fired from Gaza since the operation, and the recalcitrant organizations were there all the time,” he said. “Now it is proven that the organizations can’t fire unless Hamas lets them.”

Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for the Palestinian security services in the West Bank, accused Hamas of wanting “to make chaos in the Palestinian territories” and working against the Palestinian Authority and its security force.”

It is unclear whether this is a tactic to shift blame from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas / Fatah, or whether a rift truly exists between the two. Either way, it is the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority (with the help of the international community if need be, Palestine recently secured “observer state” status at the U.N.) to control factions within its own borders. How can the Palestinian Authority believe it can agree to a meaningful two state solution (the organizations state goal) if it cannot even control security issues within it’s country?

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4 thoughts on “Conflict Watch: Rocket From Gaza Hits Southern Israel (Cease Cease-Fire)

  1. The Palestinians have been living under occupation in concentration camp conditions for decades, When God made the coin he made two sides to it.

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    • Calling them “concentration camp” conditions is unacceptable. Millions of people were enslaved and sentenced to death in concentration camps; living in the Gaza strip is NOTHING like a concentration camp. If the standard of living is poor for Palestinians, it is up to THEIR government organizations to invest in human capital and make life better (instead of routinely violating human rights in the name of religion). To blame Israel for Palestine’s problems is scapegoating.

      There are two sides to the coin, the Palestinian story just doesn’t hold up. You cannot say you are working for a two-state negotiated settlement and continuously violate cease-fires / have factions within your borders that you are not in control of breaking cease-fires. Why should Israeli’s even come to the bargaining table if the Palestinian Authority cannot ensure it can control Hamas and Fatah? What does Israel gain by making concessions with a partner that has proven time and time again it is not credible.

      If there is ever going to be a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will have to take the form of an “olive-branch” concession from the Palestinians, as well as proof the Palestinian Authority has control over extremist factions within its borders through a prolonged cease-fire (years, maybe decades, not 3 months). It will also probably take greater political stability overall in Palestine to ensure these things. There is no short-term political solution for this conflict, except laying the foundation for future negotiations (cease-fire and grassroots organizations working together from both countries, but then again can the Palestinian Authority ensure security of civilians who are seen as friendly towards Israeli’s from extremists within it’s own borders?)

      There are two sides of the story, but trying to say the Israel is responsible for recent violence in the Gaza strip because of how it treats those in Gaza is absurd. No ones hands are clean in a conflict that has lasted for decades, but Israel has routinely tried for political resolutions only to have it’s terms violated in the form of violence and civilian deaths. It is this authors opinion that whether the Palestinian Authority supports Hamas/Fatah or is simply unable to control them, it is responsible for failed peace-talks over the past decades.

      If The Palestinian Authority truly does not have the ability to control these groups but is serious about a political solution, there is always the international community. I’m sure the UNSC, the Arab League, and other international actors could support in suppressing extremist actions by Hamas / Fatah (which would actually help these groups gain political capital by separating the valid points from the extremists / jihadist factions).

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  2. If you have time, this website provides an alternative narrative to the one most of us In America have been raised on. The editors are Jewish and provide a wide range of views and voices on Israel/Palestine and America’s role relative to our foreign policy in the region. http://mondoweiss.net. I do stand by my statement but I respect that these are your views and this is your blog.

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    • I’ll take a look when I get a chance. As I said no ones hands are clean but I think there has been a disproportionate violation of cease fires by the Palestinian side.

      Are there things Israel could do differently? Sure. Has the majority of violence been proliferated by the Palestinian side, I do not think that’s even questionable. This is not based on any Western narrative, but what I have studied myself.

      Admittedly, my knowledge is more based on recent history (90s Oslo accords n stuff). Perhaps historically Palestine has a better claim to Israel’s role in the conflict ( these two sides were openly at war) but recent history seems to be dominated by Palestinian ceasefire violations.

      I will take a look at your site, you have to be open minded on complex issues such as these. One thing I will never agree with you on is comparing Palestine to concentration camps. That is a slap in the face to the 10s Of millions who died in those camps and their families.

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