DOES ISRAEL EVEN WANT PEACE?
You tell me…
“(Barak) promised peace and brought war, and not by accident. While speaking about peace, he enlarged the settlements. Cut the Palestinian territories into pieces by ‘by-pass’ roads. Confiscated lands. Demolished homes. Uprooted trees. Paralyzed the Palestinian economy..Conducted negotiations in which he tried to dictate to the Palestinians a peace that amounts to capitulation. Was not satisfied with the fact that by accepting the Green Line, the Palestinians had already given up 78% of their historic homeland. Demanded the annexation of ‘settlement blocs” and pretended that they amount only to 3% of the territory, while in fact he meant more than 20% would remain under Israeli control. Wanted to coerce the Palestinians to accept a ‘state’ cut off from all its neighbors and composed of several enclaves isolated from each other, each surrounded by Israeli settlers and soldiers…Boasts publicly that he has not given back to the Palestinians one inch of territory…When the intifada broke out, sent snipers to shoot, in cold blood from a distance, hundreds of unarmed demonstrators, adults and children. Blockaded each village and town separately, bringing them to the verge of starvation, in order to get them to surrender. Bombarded neighborhoods. Started a policy of mafia-style ‘liquidations’, causing an inevitable escalation of the violence.” — Israeli peace activist, Uri Avnery, February 3, 2001, http://www.gush-shalom.org
“During the six-year period 2001 and 2007 Israel has, on average, killed more Palestinians per year than it killed during the first 20 years of occupation. Moreover, since the eruption of the second intifada (in 2000) Israelis have killed almost twice as many Palestinians as they killed in the preceding 34 years”
“During the past two decades the number of settlers in the West Bank has increased by about a quarter of a million people, from 111,600 settlers in 1993 to more than 350,000 in 2013. If one includes East Jerusalem, then well over half a million Jews now live in the territories from which Israel promised – back in September 1993 – that it would withdraw.”
9126 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel since 2000
1523 children have been murdered by Israel since 2000
2269 died last year alone in Gaza over 50 days, 1400 died in 2008-9 over 30 days, 1032 died in 2002
1 Palestinian child has died every 2.5 days for 15 years.
No “rockets” have been fired from the West Bank but more than 25% of Palestinian fatalities occurred there…
1792 West Bank civilians have been killed by Israeli military. Including 317 children and 53 women.
41 West Bank civilians have been killed by Israeli civilians
804 of which weren’t “involved in hostilities”, and a further 404 “not known if they were ‘involved in hostilities'”.
29 September 2000 – 26 December 2008
(That is, in any language, 1208 innocents.)
[Note: “hostilities” can range from “throwing stones”, alleged “suspicious activity”, or an alleged activity based solely on the word of those who killed them, to actual acts of violence that can lead to death or injury]
122 West Bank Palestinians (of which 25 were children) have been killed by Israeli military
8 West Bank Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians
46 West Bank Palestinians were killed in 2014 alone.
19 January 2009 – 31 January 2015
“we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.”
“Thus, a pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.”
On July 25, as Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials meet to shore up a six-week-old ceasefire, Israel assassinates a senior Hamas member in Nablus. Nine days later, Hamas responds with a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem pizzeria.
On November 23, Israel assassinates senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud. At the time, Hamas was adhering to an agreement made with PLO head Yasser Arafat not to attack targets inside of Israel. Following the killing, respected Israeli military correspondent of the right-leaning Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Alex Fishman, writes in a front-page story: “We again find ourselves preparing with dread for a new mass terrorist attack within the Green Line [Israel’s pre-1967 border]… Whoever gave a green light to this act of liquidation knew full well that he is thereby shattering in one blow the gentleman’s agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; under that agreement, Hamas was to avoid in the near future suicide bombings inside the Green Line…” A week later, Hamas responds with bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa.
On January 14, Israel assassinates Raed Karmi, a militant leader in the Fatah party, following a ceasefire agreed to by all Palestinian militant groups the previous month (December 16 2001), leading to its cancellation. Later in January, the first suicide bombing by the Fatah linked Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade takes place.
JERUSALEM, July 24— Tanzim, the Palestinian militia connected to Yasir Arafat’s Fatah faction, was preparing to announce a unilateral cease-fire with Israel before an Israeli warplane dropped a one-ton bomb early Tuesday on a Hamas leader’s home in Gaza City, Palestinian officials and Western diplomats said today.
Israeli officials acknowledged that they had known of a possible Palestinian cease-fire proposal before the bomb was dropped, but they dismissed it as a futile attempt by Palestinians without influence over terrorist groups. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/25/world/palestinian-cease-fire-was-in-works-before-israeli-strike.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
June —”Measured on the scale of IDF killings, Palestinian strikes have been few and far between. The asymmetry was starkly exposed during Hamas’s unilateral ceasefire, begun in June 2003, and maintained throughout the summer (51 days) despite the Israeli campaign of raids and mass arrests that followed, in which some 300 Hamas cadres were seized from the West Bank.
On August 19 2003, a self-proclaimed “Hamas” cell from Hebron [the same group who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of the three settlers in 2014], disowned and denounced by the official leadership, blew up a bus in west Jerusalem, upon which Israel promptly assassinated the Hamas ceasefire’s negotiator, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas, in turn, responded. In return, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states cut funding to its charities and, in September 2003, the EU declared the whole Hamas movement to be a terrorist organization – a longstanding demand of Tel Aviv.”
“Five Israeli missiles incinerated Ismail Abu Shanab in Gaza City yesterday, killing one of the most powerful voices for peace in Hamas and destroying the ceasefire that Palestinian leaders believed would avert civil war.
Israeli helicopters struck the car carrying the third most senior Hamas leader in retaliation for Tuesday’s suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus on Tuesday, killing 20 mostly orthodox Jews, including six children.
The missiles also buried a seven-week ceasefire already strained by Israeli killings of Islamic militants and retaliatory suicide bombings, and threw the US-led road map to peace deeper into crisis.
Ariel Sharon could not have been in any doubt that killing Abu Shanab would wreck the ceasefire. He was widely seen as more pragmatic than fellow leaders. He broke a taboo within Hamas by recognising that there would have to be a Palestinian state alongside Israel, not in place of it.
Abu Shanab’s son, Hamza, said his father had wanted the ceasefire to continue. “He was trying to unite the Palestinian people and the ceasefire was uniting people.”
“Hamas has proposed a protracted peace with Israel in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Hamas founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, told reporters in Gaza earlier this week that the movement would be willing to end armed resistance in return for a “true and genuine” Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital…..Despite a virtual suspension of Palestinian resistance attacks, Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians continued unabated. On 21 January, Israeli army bulldozers once more rolled onto the streets of Rafah, flattening more than 40 homes…..Israel’s “final solution” (the code-name of the IDF operation in Rafah), was followed by the killing of at least five Palestinians, including an 11-year-old boy in Gaza.
March and April 2004
Just two months after the offer of a ten year ceasefire in return for internationally agreed upon and legitimate Palestinian demands, Yassin and Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, were assassinated.
January 2005 (— June 2006 Hamas 16 month ceasefire)
“The Palestinians also want the US to monitor Israeli actions to ensure that Mr Sharon does not use relatively small breaches of the ceasefire, perhaps by renegade Palestinian factions, as a pretext to resume attacks on the Gaza strip.
The Israeli army carried out raids on Saturday night in which four wanted Palestinian men were arrested in Nablus and near Hebron. The military’s continued detention of Palestinians, and more specifically their killing when they resisted arrest, was an important factor in the collapse of a 2003 ceasefire after 51 days.”
July 2005 (still committed to ceasefire despite provocations)
“Hamas says it remains committed to observing the ceasefire, despite the assassination by Israel of at least eight of its resistance cadres. Israeli warplanes on Friday carried out two pinpoint missile attacks on two Palestinian vehicles in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing at least eight Hamas resistance activists.”
STARVING GAZA: The myths about the blockade of Gaza are so legion that it is almost impossible to disentangle them. But let’s try tackling a few.
The first is that the blockade was a necessary response to the election of Hamas.
Tell that to John Wolfensohn, special envoy to the Quartet, comprising the US, UN, Europe and Russia, from May 2005 whose job it was to oversee the disengagement. Wolfensohn was succeeded by the far less principled former British prime minister, Tony Blair.
In an interview with the Haaretz newspaper in 2007, Wolfensohn explained why he had resigned in April 2006 after a brief tenure. Shortly after the disengagement in summer 2005, he said, Israel and the US had violated the understandings made to ensure the border crossings into Gaza remained open after Jewish settlers left. “Every aspect of that agreement was abrogated,” he said.
The economy collapsed as a result, as Gaza’s farmers saw their produce rot at the crossings, and unemployment and disillusionment among Gazans skyrocketed. “Instead of hope, the Palestinians saw that they were put back in prison. And with 50 per cent unemployment, you would have conflict.”
It was the closure of the crossings in fact that Wolfensohn believes explains Hamas’s success in the subsequent elections, in early 2006. So, in other words, Israel’s blockade pre- existed Hamas’s rise to power and began when Fatah was still the ruler of Gaza.
The second myth is that the blockade was an attempt, if a futile one, to get Hamas to recognise Israel’s “right to exist”.
Tell that to Dov Weisglass, former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s fixer in Washington. It was he who suggested the true goal of the blockade that Israel intensified immediately following Hamas’s electoral triumph. The policy would be “like an appointment with a dietitian. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”
In short, according to Weisglass, Israeli policy in Gaza was “collective punishment” inflicted on the civilian population for choosing Hamas — a policy, should it need pointing out, that is a violation of international law and a war crime.
The hope, it seems, was that Gazans would, as they sank into abject poverty, manage to summon up the energy to overthrow Hamas. It never happened.
The third myth is that the blockade was designed to put pressure on Hamas to end rocket fire into Israel.
Tell that to Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, and Matan Vilnai, his deputy. This pair was plotting an invasion of Gaza throughout the six-month ceasefire with Hamas, and in fact much earlier.
In truth, they ignored every diplomatic overture from Hamas, including offers of indefinite truces, while they invested their energies in the coming ground invasion. In particular they worked on plans, noted in the Israeli media back in spring 2008, to “level” Gaza’s civilian neighbourhoods and create “combat zones” from which civilians could be expelled.”
— Jonathon Cook
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Brigades, and the Popular Resistance Committees have all claimed responsibility for firing rockets into Israel, though Hamas largely complied with self-imposed halts to such attacks between February and June 2006 and between November 2006 and late April 2007
Within the Bush administration, the Palestinian policy set off a furious debate. One of its critics is David Wurmser, the avowed neoconservative, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief Middle East adviser in July 2007, a month after the Gaza coup.
Wurmser accuses the Bush administration of “engaging in a dirty war in an effort to provide a corrupt dictatorship [led by Abbas] with victory.” He believes that Hamas had no intention of taking Gaza until Fatah forced its hand. “It looks to me that what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen,” Wurmser says.”
June 09 2006
JERUSALEM (CNN) — An Israeli navy gunboat fired shells onto a northern Gaza beach Friday, killing at least seven people and prompting the military wing of Hamas to call off a 16-month-old cease-fire with Israel.” [a Hamas official was killed the day before]
“Hamas has stuck to the cease-fire it announced in February 2005, but other groups did not sign on and have continued attacks against Israel. Earlier this year, Hamas won the Palestinian elections.”
“Five militants also died earlier Friday in two Israeli strikes in Gaza, Palestinian sources said.”
Video of aftermath:
“Operation Summer Rains”
“Since the start of the operation, codenamed Summer Rain, at least 240 Palestinians have been killed. One in five were children. According to the PCHR, which has investigated each case, 197 of the dead were civilians and the vast majority were killed in Gaza. Among them were 12 women and 48 children.”
Memory is supposed to stop in its tracks at June 28, 2006.
Let’s go on a brief excursion into pre-history. I’m talking about June 20, 2006, when Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile at a car in an attempted extrajudicial assassination attempt on a road between Jabalya and Gaza City. The missile missed the car. Instead it killed three Palestinian children and wounded 15.
Back we go again to June 13, 2006. Israeli aircraft fired missiles at a van in another attempted extrajudicial assassination. The successive barrages killed nine innocent Palestinians.
Now we’re really in the dark ages, reaching far, far back to June 9, 2006, when Israel shelled a beach in Beit Lahiya killing 8 civilians and injuring 32.
That’s just a brief trip down Memory Lane, and we trip over the bodies of twenty dead and forty-seven wounded, all of them Palestinians, most of them women and children.”
For more than four months after 19 June 2008, Hamas refrained from any military actions that might endanger the negotiated truce or “calm” with Israel.
The graphs show that the total number of rocket and mortar attacks shrank from 245 in June to 26 total for July through October, a reduction of 97 percent.
Even this was not enough for Israel, which violated the truce by imposing a terror-famine in Gaza for most of these months. But despite these violations, Hamas refrained from launching rockets until Israel definitively cancelled the truce on the night of 4-5 November by sending an Israeli commando squad into Gaza, where it killed six Hamas members. Hamas responded with 30 rockets.
Mark Perry, co-director of the Conflicts Forum, a British-American group which mediates between the West and Islamist groups, including Hamas, stated on PBS’s “Newshour” (1/5/09) that contrary to US-Israeli propaganda, “During the six months of the cease-fire [agreed on between Israel and Hamas in June 2008], there were 153 violations of the cease-fire by Israel, and 36 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces. Most important of all, the economic siege of Gaza continued.”
Publicly, Hamas leaders have stated time and again that the lull is a Palestinian national interest. On several occasions, Hamas members have arrested Fatah operatives who were involved in firing at Israel and confiscated their arms. However, Hamas carefully avoids military confrontations with the other organizations, particularly the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). It does not want to be perceived as collaborating with Israel and compromising the “resistance” (which remains one of the key values in its ideology).
— Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire that came into effect at the end of a three-week war in Gaza in January 2009. However, smaller militant groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have continued sporadic rocket fire.”
The interest of Hamas in a ceasefire agreement that would actually open the border crossings was acknowledged at a Dec. 21 Israeli cabinet meeting – five days before the beginning of the Israeli military offensive – by Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet. “Make no mistake, Hamas is interested in maintaining the truce,” Diskin was quoted by Y-net News agency as saying.
The ceasefire agreement that went into effect Jun. 19, 2008 required that Israel lift the virtual siege of Gaza which Israel had imposed after the June 2007 Hamas takeover. Although the terms of the agreement were not made public at the time, they were included in a report published this week by the International Crisis Group (ICG), which obtained a copy of the understanding last June.
In addition to a halt in all military actions by both sides, the agreement called on Israel to increase the level of goods entering Gaza by 30 percent over the pre-lull period within 72 hours and to open all border crossings and “allow the transfer of all goods that were banned and restricted to go into Gaza” within 13 days after the beginning of the ceasefire.
Nevertheless, Israeli officials freely acknowledged in interviews with ICG last June that they had no intention of opening the border crossings fully, even though they anticipated that this would be the source of serious conflict with Hamas.
Despite Israel’s refusal to end the siege, Hamas brought rocket and mortar fire from Gaza to a virtual halt last summer and fall, as revealed by a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) in Tel Aviv last month. ITIC is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Centre (IICC), an NGO which is close to the Israeli intelligence community.
In the first days after the ceasefire took effect, Islamic Jihad fired nine rockets and a few mortar rounds in retaliation for Israeli assassinations of their members in the West Bank. In August another eight rockets were fired by various groups, according to IDF data cited in the report. But it shows that only one rocket was launched from Gaza in September and one in October.
The report recalls that Hamas “tried to enforce the terms of the arrangement” on other Palestinian groups, taking “a number of steps against networks which violated the arrangement,” including short-term detention and confiscating their weapons. It even found that Hamas had sought support in Gazan public opinion for its policy of maintaining the ceasefire.
On Nov. 4 – just when the ceasefire was most effective – the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed, including two commanders, and several more were wounded. The IDF explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducing Israeli soldiers.
Hamas officials asserted, however, that the tunnel was being dug for defensive purposes, not to capture IDF personnel, according to Pastor, and one IDF official confirmed that fact to him.
After that Israeli attack, the ceasefire completely fell apart, as Hamas began openly firing rockets into Israel, the IDF continued to carry out military operations inside Gaza, and the border crossings were “closed most of the time”, according to the ITIC account.”
2011 – On October 29, Israel breaks a truce that has maintained calm for two months, killing five Islamic Jihad members in Gaza, including a senior commander. The following day, Egypt brokers another truce that Israel proceeds to immediately violate, killing another four IJ members. In the violence, a total of nine Palestinians and one Israeli are killed.
On March 9, Israel violates an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assassinates the head of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, sparking another round of violence in which at least two dozen Palestinians are killed, including at least four civilians, and scores more wounded. As usual, Israel claims it is acting in self-defense, against an imminent attack being planned by the PRC, while providing no evidence to substantiate the allegation.
“Hamas is taking action to prevent an escalation and is turning from a terror group to a sovereign movement that is assuming governmental responsibility. They have to worry about feeding and educating people, and every act of terror costs them dearly.
“But the day the decision is made, we’ll know how to bring it to its knees. There will be a (ground) operation in Gaza. The only question is when,” — Colonel Tal Hermoni, the IDF’s Gaza Division commander
However, we believe that it is important to look at the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups in context. For example, of the grad rockets, homemade rockets, and mortars fired by Palestinians between January 1and November 1, 2012, approximately 70% were fired during three distinct periods of escalation in March, June, and late October. Each of these escalations correlates with an assassination/killing, incursion, or other Israeli military action. Only a small percentage of the other rockets and mortars that were fired during 2012 were fired in isolation from Israeli military actions in Gaza.
On November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to a truce following several days of violence, Israel assassinates the leader of Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Jabari, threatening to escalate the violence once again after a week in which at least six Palestinian civilians are killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks.
In the draft, which I understand Mr. Jabari saw hours before he was killed, it was proposed that Israeli intelligence information transmitted through the Egyptians would be delivered to Mr. Jabari so that he could take action aimed at preventing an attack against Israel. Mr. Jabari and his forces would have had an opportunity to prove that they were serious when they told Egyptian intelligence officials that they were not interested in escalation. If Mr. Jabari had agreed to the draft, then we could have prevented this new round of violence; if he had refused, then Israel would have likely attacked in much the same way as it is now.
The proposal was at least worth testing. Moreover, it included the understanding that if Israel were to take out a real ticking bomb — people imminently preparing to launch a rocket — such a strike would not be considered a breach of the cease-fire and would not lead to escalation.
Instead, Mr. Jabari is dead — and with him died the possibility of a long-term cease-fire. Israel may have also compromised the ability of Egyptian intelligence officials to mediate a short-term cease-fire and placed Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt at risk. This was not inevitable, and cooler heads could have prevailed. Mr. Jabari’s assassination removes one of the more practical actors on the Hamas side.
— Gershon Baskin (Jewish peace activist who had negotiated the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit)
Today, 3 Israelis were killed as a result of rocket fire from Gaza.
This came after Israel had killed 13 Palestinians, including 3 children and a woman, and injured 115, including 26 children and 25 women since yesterday, 14 November.
This will be presented by Israel – and sympathetic or careless world media – as another justification for Israel’s attacks on Gaza to stop rocket fire. But this narrative is false.
Where there was calm and an effective truce, Israel chose to shatter it, bringing about the current deadly escalation.
November 21 (ceasefire)
Israel and Hamas agreed Wednesday to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accord to end a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip following days of marathon talks.
Here is the text of the ceasefire agreement which is set to take effect at 1900 GMT:
“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.
“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”
“Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.
“Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.
“Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”
Ceasefire immediately and continually broken by Israel on a daily basis
22/11/2012 – 07/06/2014
December 23 2012
A rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Sunday night for the first time since the Nov. 21 cease-fire that ended the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense. The rocket fell short of its target, however, and landed inside Gaza territory.”
November 2012 — January 2014
The chart below depicts a few things; Israeli cease-fire violations, Palestinian projectile launches and Palestinian casualties that resulted from Israeli cease-fire violations week by week of the cease-fire through January 2014
January — March 2013
According to the Israel Security Agency reports, in 2013 (until 31 March 2013), Palestinian organizations fired 15 rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel”
15 “rockets” fired even though Israel continued killing, harassing and provoking:
Less than 200 people per day were allowed out of Gaza via Israel in the first half of 2013.
Less than one truckload of goods per day were allowed out of Gaza during the first half of 2013.
57 percent of Gaza households are food insecure, and approximately 80 percent receive some form of food assistance.
35.5 percent of those able and willing to work are unemployed – one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.
Due to fuel shortages, there are power outages for up to 12 hours per day in most areas of Gaza.
Only 25 percent of households in Gaza receive running water every day, and then only for a few hours.
Over 90 percent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption, while needed filtration equipment cannot be imported to Gaza.
Nearly 90 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage is dumped into the sea off of Gaza every day while equipment needed to build new or maintain existing treatment facilities are banned from entering Gaza.
Does Israel want peace? NO.