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.
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?
- 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?
- 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.
So, what are the possible scenarios?
- Hamas never intended to honor the ceasefire but merely used it as a ruse for their own purpose.
- Hamas thought the IDF violated the terms of the ceasefire and so retaliated in self-defense.
- Hamas doesn’t control other militant groups in Gaza, and maybe another group violated the ceasefire and abducted the IDF soldier.
- 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.
- 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.)
- IDF wanted the ceasefire to work but engaged in actions (eg. destroying tunnels) that Palestinian fighters interpreted as violations of the ceasefire.
- A July 28 poll found that 86.5% of Israelis did not support a ceasefire. Israeli leaders don’t want diplomacy, recognizes that Israel has military superiority, and sees the public relations coup in its version of the story.
What’s the truth? We don’t know …. yet. But everyone is jumping to conclusions.
Meanwhile, the massacres in Gaza continue.