I’ve stopped counting the number of days that Operation Protective Edge lasted so far, and more importantly I’ve lost count of the number of ceasefires that Israel has agreed to and which Hamas has violated. Hamas has even broken its own ceasefires that it itself initiated! How perverse is that!
So here we go again, with the Gaza war reaching its 34th day (I think) and we’re probably up to ceasefire no. 7 or 8, or possibly more by now. At any rate another ceasefire is supposed to go into effect from midnight as long as Hamas ceases its rocket-fire.
Meanwhile the rockets are still falling on the south (the center has gone quiet tfu tfu tfu). According to the IDF blog the numbers are:
Sunday, August 10
8:25 PM: Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has fired 3,488 rockets at Israel.
Israel says it will not negotiate under fire, so what happens next might be anybody’s guess but I’m willing to give it a go.
I predict there will be probably more of the same: talk-talk in Cairo, Hamas demands a ridiculous shopping list consisting of everything but the kitchen sink and a pink pony, throws its toys out of the pram when it doesn’t get a fraction of what it wants, and starts shooting rockets at Israel. Israel retaliates and Hamas demands a ceasefire. rinse and repeat.
However, something funny happened to Hamas on the way to the ceasefire. Quoting from the above link, Hamas
leader coward-in-exile Khaled Mashaal said:
The 72-hour ceasefire Hamas reached with Israel on Sunday “is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” says Mashaal.
Now I can understand the Gazans’ need for humanitarian aid (though of course if they would only stop shooting at Israel they could have all the aid they could possibly want and more), but then why, for Heavens’ sake, did Hamas fire at Kerem Shalom, the very crossing point for humanitarian aid from Israel into Gaza?! (h/t Israel Matzav). Here’s the Defence Ministry video of the mortar attack as it happened:
Here’s the Defense Ministry announcement.
“After continuous and deliberate fire at the Kerem Shalom crossing, which almost hit trucks carrying flammable materials to Gaza, we reached the unusual decision to close the passage, in order to protect the workers and the merchants,” said the Crossings Authority. “The crossing remained open throughout the despite incessant fire in its vicinity, and was an exclusive artery for passage of goods and essential humanitarian equipment for Gaza.”
I guess all those Hamas employees for whom money was allowed into Gaza today aren’t going to have any place to spend it anyway (link in Hebrew). For the last two months, Egypt had blocked the transfer of money into Gaza from Qatar for Hamas to pay salaries.
The money that Carl referred to above was somehow smuggled into Gaza by Hamas:
Hamas has managed to bring millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip to pay the salaries of thousands of workers, a Gaza-based news agency reported on Sunday, after two months in which no such payments were made.
According to the Palestinian Sawa news agency, salaries were paid to all members of Hamas’s military wing, and the salaries of government officials in the Strip were expected to be paid as well. It was not immediately clear how Hamas managed to transfer the money into the Strip and/or whether the move was intended to help quell unrest in the Palestinian enclave, as a step toward a possible lasting ceasefire.
The unpaid salaries of Hamas members have also been the focus of a major dispute between Fatah and Hamas, and were a significant factor prompting the recent escalation in Gaza.
The salary crisis, which has plagued Hamas for months, compounded the most severe financial shortfall in the organization’s history, caused by significant loss of revenue following the destruction of smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border.
In mid-July the United States blocked the transfer of Qatari funds earmarked for the salaries of civil servants hired by Hamas in Gaza.
It would be very interesting to discover who transferred those funds and how. And how many sanctions were violated in the doing.
Meanwhile, the initial spark of Operation Protective Edge – the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens Naftali Frankel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah – has been proven to have been planned and funded by Hamas, despite Hamas sympathisers’ denials to the contrary:
The brother of a Palestinian man arrested as the ringleader of a terror cell that kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in June, suspected of funding the attack, has fostered deep Hamas ties since being deported to Gaza, Palestinian security sources said.
Mahmoud Ali Kawasme was one of the Palestinian inmates deported to Gaza in the 2011 prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit.
He is suspected of funding and planning the June 12 West Bank attack in which Israeli students Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel were abducted and killed near Hebron.
His ties to the attack and to Hamas will likely further implicate the terror group in the killings. Israel has alleged Hamas involvement, though Hamas’s leadership has denied any connection to the scheme.
Mahmoud Kawasme’s brother, Hussam, was recently arrested by the Shin Bet and the police anti-terror unit near Jerusalem.
Hussam Kawasme admitted during his interrogation that he was the commander of the two kidnappers, Marwan Kawasme and Omar Abu Aysha. All four live in the same area of Hebron. The latter two are from the Haris neighborhood, while the families of Hussam and Mahmoud live in the nearby Wadi Abu Ktayla neighborhood in the northwestern part of the city.
…According to Palestinian sources, Mahmoud Kawasme initiated and planned the kidnapping along with his brother Hussam. Senior members of Hamas’s military wing were aware of the plan, and gave him money to fund the attack. The kidnappers needed vehicles, Israeli license plates, weapons, and safe houses.
After his arrest, Hussam admitted to receiving money for the attack from Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip.
Hussam Kawasme revealed that the alleged killers, Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, drove to his house after killing the three youths. Together, they drove to the plot of land in Halhoul which was bought by Kawasme ahead of time. There, they buried the three.
Hussam also helped the two killers hide from the Israeli security forces who were scouring the West Bank for them, the Haaretz daily reported, citing the Shin Bet security service.
It seems this is the story of the Middle East in Israel’s neighbourhood: ceasefires declared, ceasefires broken, repeat ad nauseum. Terrorists arrested, terrorists released, terrorism committed, repeat ad infinitum.
When will we ever break this vicious circle?