Palestinians line up for drinking water in front of a UN water station in the Gaza Strip, 3 July 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)
Gaza locked in despite truce
“CAIRO (IPS) – Despite a torrent of mutual recriminations, the fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian resistance faction Hamas survived into its third week. Israel, however, has been slow to fulfill its pledge — as laid down in an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement — to allow desperately-needed humanitarian supplies into the outdoor prison that is the Gaza Strip.
‘Repeated closures of the border crossings [by Israel] … are indicative of Israel’s lack of seriousness regarding the Egyptian ceasefire agreement,’ Ismail Haniyeh, head of Gaza’s ruling Hamas government, told reporters Friday on 4 July. ‘If the ceasefire is to survive, Israel must open the crossings [into the Gaza Strip] and lift its siege.’
… According to Abdelaziz Shadi, head of the Israeli Studies Program at Cairo University, Israel is exploiting sporadic rocket attacks — real or imagined — to justify its continued stranglehold on the Hamas-ruled enclave.
‘Israel could easily determine the source of these rockets and punish the perpetrators,’ Shadi told IPS. ‘Instead, it prefers to collectively punish the strip’s entire population by depriving it of food, medicine and fuel.
The ongoing border closures confirm that, in regards to the Gaza Strip, Israel is still an occupying power — despite its so-called withdrawal from the territory in 2005,’ he added…”
—Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, The Electronic Intifada, 7 July 2008
Unite to negotiate a real truce
“After nearly one year of a suffocating siege imposed on Gaza by the Israeli military establishment, a truce agreement was reached between Hamas and Israel. This followed months of dedicated Egyptian good offices. Rockets launched from Gaza against Israeli settlements were to stop in return for gradually lifting the blockade. A ceasefire sustained for six months would then roll over to the West Bank. A hostage Israeli soldier would be released in a separate deal involving exchange of Palestinian prisoners. Future negotiations would set the terms for opening the borders between Egypt and Gaza.
Hamas vowed to respect the agreement as did other Palestinian factions. In addition to Hamas, only Islamic Jihad is to be taken seriously. Fatah, the faction linked to President Abbas, has long and vehemently criticized rocket firing from Gaza.
Five days into the long awaited ceasefire, Israel allowed the entry of tissues and sanitary napkins into Gaza as a form of ‘good will.’ Simultaneously, it carried out an early morning raid against a student hostel in Nablus, killing two Palestinians in their beds.
Seeking to justify what seemed to many an obvious provocation, Israeli spin-doctors once again invoked the ‘ticking time bomb’ rationale. It was claimed that the men, both in their early 20s, were plotting a terrorist attack that had been prevented only at the last moment. Israel was instantly rewarded with the response it expected. Rockets landed in Sderot, the first two fired by Islamic Jihad and the third by the al-Aqsa brigades of Fatah, who denounced the truce with Israel as a form of treason, taunting Hamas for being more concerned with the survival of its cadre in Gaza than with the fate of fellow Palestinians in the West Bank…”
–Dr. Eyad al-Sarraj, The Electronic Intifada, 4 July 2008