HAMAS has accused Israel of violating the temporary ceasefire on Tuesday. It’s spokesman Moussa Abu Marzouq said on Wednesday that Israel ‘ended the truce claiming that three rockets hit Israel, which Hamas had no information about’.
He added that ‘All options are open now: a new truce, keeping the war going, or signing an agreement.’
On Wednesday, he received the Israeli answer. Israel opted for war with a failed attempt to assassinate the military leader of Hamas, Muhammad Deif. Israeli forces then killed four Palestinians in Gaza City on Thursday after targeting a cemetery in the Sheikh al-Radwan district.
These latest airstrikes bring the total death toll since midnight Wednesday to 22 Palestinians.
Earlier, Israel killed three of Hamas’ most prominent military commanders in airstrikes targeting a building in Rafah. The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah.
Abu Shammala was the general commander of the al-Qassam Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip and Raed al-Attar was the commander of the Rafah district. The two Hamas officials were on Israel’s most wanted list, with both men accused of masterminding the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
It was a case of murderous revenge for the prisoner swap of over one thousand Palestinians for the return of Shilat! Five other civilians were killed in the attack and at least 40 injured.
The Cairo indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israel have failed to achieve an agreement, with Israel repeatedly refusing to make any concessions.
The Palestinians demanded that Israel end its eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has crippled the tiny coastal enclave’s economy and led to widespread suffering. Israel, however, has demanded Gaza demilitarise, a demand that Palestinian resistance groups have scoffed at, suggesting that it is Israel that should consider demilitarising, since it is armed to the teeth with all kinds of weaponry, including nuclear bombs.
Israel is opposed to any peace that prepares the way for an independent Palestinian state, and a national unity government of that state. It wishes to carry on with the 67 years of occupation, that has cost the lives of countless thousands of Palestinians.
Hamas in fact has made Israel a historic offer. It offered Israel a ten-year truce in return for the withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border; Freeing all the prisoners that were arrested after the killing of the three settler youths; Lifting the siege and opening the border crossings to commerce and people; Establishing an international seaport and airport which would be under UN supervision; Increasing the permitted fishing zone to ten kilometres; Internationalising the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the UN and some Arab nations; and having an international force on the borders; Easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque; Prohibition on Israeli interference in the reconciliation agreement; Re-establishing an industrial zone and improvements in further economic development in the Gaza Strip.
Israel was not willing to satisfy a single one of these demands, and remains determined to oppose a free state of Palestine and a national unity government.
The trade unions in the UK must now use their great strength to intervene and fight for the Palestinian people.
The massive demonstrations in the UK in support of Palestine forced government resignations and the declaration by Business Secretary Cable that in the event of the ceasefire breaking down, the coalition will suspend 12 arms exporting licences to Israel. This pledge must be carried out immediately and the trade unions and the TUC must see that this is done and that all arms contracts with Israel are terminated.
The TUC at its September Congress must spell it out that the government must stop all arms supplies to Israel, and if it refuses it must organise a campaign of industrial action to achieve this. Further, it must also impose a trade boycott of Israel and spread it worldwide through the international trade unions.