Saturday, August 20, 2011

Attacks In Israel, Hamas Cancels Ceasefire

Just two days ago, a "multifocal" attack took place in north Eliat, killing at least seven Israelis and injuring more than 30 (there was also an attack in the Sinai). While Hamas denied any involvement in the attack, "Israel clearly believes that the origin of these attacks is in Gaza" and retaliated by launching airstrikes into Gaza. In response to this, Hamas' armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, announced that they were ending the ceasefire with Israel (although that may not be true).

Eliat is in southern Israel, near the Sinai Desert in Egypt.

Currently, many jihadists are in the Sinai Desert and just recently Egypt launched an attack on them. This Egyptian offensive "has the backing of Hamas, the Palestinian fundamentalist organization that controls the Gaza Strip that has been trying to eradicate jihadist interlopers for years." (emphasis added) It is also supported by Israel as they don't "want security in the Sinai to collapse and provide a sanctuary for al-Qaida nor [do they] want Egyptian forces in the region in strength once again." While Egypt denied playing a role in the Eliat attack, the Israeli government still assumed that the perpetrators were from Gaza.

This is a major problem for everyone involved, but especially the Palestinians. It seemed that Israel was too quick to assume that Hamas was involved, as they hold Hamas responsible for any attacks that take place from Gaza. The Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, believes that the Palestinian Authority is to blame for the attacks in Eliat. 

Today, Hamas has launched several rockets into Israel. This is a serious problem as they are only verifying the questionable ceasefire cancellation and giving Israel an excuse to engage in even more bombings of the Gaza Strip. Also, it allows the Israeli government to invoke nationalism, thus sweeping Israel's recent social unrest under the rug. In a broader context, it also could potentially put the Palestinian UN statehood bid at risk because it allows the US and Israel to say that the reconciliation and unification of the Gazan and West Bank governments have failed and that Israel cannot live by a neighbor who threatens its security.

While there have been moves to restore the ceasefire, Hamas needs to show restraint in this situation, not only for themselves, but for the future Palestinian state.

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