What we don’t know

The brokered 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza fell apart only 90 minutes after it began. Both sides blame the other for the failure. That is the only fact anyone knows for sure.

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We don’t know with any certainty —

  • What actions did the IDF take immediately before and after the ceasefire began? I’ve heard the following:
    • Destroying tunnels (allowed by the terms of the ceasefire)?
    • Invading houses in Rafah looking for entrances to tunnels?
    • Advancing beyond the front line?
    • Hurting and/or killing Palestinian civilians in their homes in Rafah?
Hamas spokesman

Hamas spokesman

  • What actions did the Palestinian fighters in Gaza take immediately before and after the ceasefire began? I’ve heard the following:
    • A suicide bomber killed 2 IDF soldiers before the ceasefire began……or maybe after the ceasefire. Conflicting reports.
    • An IDF soldier was captured (or kidnapped in the Israeli version), but Hamas and Islamic Jihad both deny they have taken an Israeli soldier.
    • Israel has shown pictures and identification of the missing soldier. Is he alive, wounded or dead? Has he been secreted away somewhere in Gaza, or in the Sinai or in Israel?

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  • We know President Obama believes Israel’s version of the story because, he says, Israel has provided convincing evidence. What evidence? I’d like to see it. CNN asked the IDF spokesman for the evidence but he refused saying he didn’t feel the need to prove his point with Hamas terrorists.
  • Who violates all of the ceasefires proposed over the past 3 weeks? Israel says Hamas does. Hamas claims Israel does. No evidence has been provided to validate either side.

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So, what are the possible scenarios?

  • Hamas never intended to honor the ceasefire but merely used it as a ruse for their own purpose.

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  • Hamas thought the IDF violated the terms of the ceasefire and so retaliated in self-defense.

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  • Hamas doesn’t control other militant groups in Gaza, and maybe another group violated the ceasefire and abducted the IDF soldier.

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  • Hamas wanted to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible on Palestinians in order to gain the world’s sympathy, and they knew or should have known that Israel would retaliate very forcefully.

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  • IDF never intended to honor the ceasefire (we know there was considerable reluctance among Israeli leaders to agree to the ceasefire), and so they provoked Palestinian fighters into responding so that Israel would have an excuse to wreak more death and destruction in Gaza. (IDF killed 95 civilians in Rafah within 24 hours of the end of the ceasefire.)

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  • IDF wanted the ceasefire to work but engaged in actions (eg. destroying tunnels) that Palestinian fighters interpreted as violations of the ceasefire.
IDF Spokesman

IDF Spokesman

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What’s the truth? We don’t know …. yet. But everyone is jumping to conclusions.

Meanwhile, the massacres in Gaza continue.

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4 Comments

Filed under Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Israel Defense Forces

4 responses to “What we don’t know

  1. Yaniv

    The main point you need to ask yourself, and everyone should – is does Israel want to kill civilians, and if it does – what are its interests? I do not think it has any interests, and nothing to gain from it. In addition, as an Israeli, I know the people of the country, and I know for a fact that the vast majority have zero interest of killing civilians. It’s never in the rhetoric. Maybe in areas which are so radical that they’re absolutely marginal, and less than 1% of population.

    Can you say that about the other side? Can you say that the rhetoric and interest of killing Israeli civilians adds up to less than 1% of the population? Can you say less than 10%? 30%? Because as far as I know, Hamas’ leaders repeat that rhetoric all the time. Everyone has seen many videos. Hamas has been elected into government, i.e. over 50% voted for it.

    That’s where the difference comes from. You can always point at radicals. The question is how many on each side are really interested in peace. Israel is not stupid, and Israelis know that peace means better economy and life for each and every one of them.
    I’m not saying Palestinians are stupid. But many of them believe in killing the Israelis, hope for a solution that is eradication of Israel, and put the economy of their country secondary to the fulfillment of goals of the Islam. That makes it very hard to work with to reach a peace agreement.

    • I lived in Gaza for 9-10 months (2012-2013), and met many Palestinians, talked with Hamas members and others, shared meals with them, etc.

      I don’t believe your understanding of Hamas is correct.

      • A reliable new West Bank/Gaza public opinion survey commissioned by The Washington Institute just weeks ago shows overwhelming support for the destruction of Israel among the Arab population of Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

        A clear majority (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal “should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.”

        Only a third said that “it might be necessary to give up some of our claims so that our people and our children can have a better life.

        Perhaps having lived in Gaza for months, you could comment on these findings?

  2. “IDF killed 95 civilians in Rafah within 24 hours of the end of the ceasefire.” These are grave accusations, that need strong evidence to back them up.

    Do you have a credible source for these numbers? How many of the dead are, in fact, civilians? Who’s actions lead to their death? Even if civilians died as a result of IDF actions, were they deliberately killed as you imply or were they unfortunate victims of fire exchanges?

    Without credible answers to these (and other) questions it sounds like you’re jumping to conclusions just as everyone else.

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