“Hamas could learn both positive and negative lessons from the last round of escalation. On the positive side, it succeeded in consistently and systematically launching rockets at Israel, extending the rockets’ range to Ashkelon, and it had victories in the battle for hearts and minds.” — from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center’s (ITIC) summary of the recent escalation of rocket terror
There is talk circulating about the opportunity to communicate and reach an understanding with Hamas, to give Hamas a chance in creating a ceasefire with Israel.
How many people remember that there was, in fact, such a ‘ceasefire’ with Hamas-controlled Gaza only one year ago? How many people remember what occurred during that ‘ceasefire’?
Well, the people in Sderot and the western Negev remember. Even if no one else does.
Let us refresh out memories. From November 26, 2006, until May 15, 2007, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel went on for almost six months. One cannot ignore the statement made by Hamas five days before the ceasefire: “Hamas’s military wing will stop the rocket fire when residents evacuate the city of Sderot.” (from November 21, 2006)
During that ‘ceasefire’, Gazans launched 315 missiles targeted at Sderot and the western Negev, according to an IDF spokesman. There was not one IDF response to the rocket fire during that ceasefire period.
During a recent presentation at the IDC in Herzliya, to the cream of the crop of students of Israeli intelligence, the audience reacted with disbelief when they heard that there already was a ‘ceasefire’ last year, and that it wasn’t kept in the slightest.
During that ‘ceasefire’ period, on February 27, 2007, there was an agreement reached between the Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). The agreement took place three months after the ceasefire went into effect; after 160 missiles had been fired at Israel since the day the ‘ceasefire’ commenced. Mashaal promised, in Moscow, to stop the Kassam rocket attacks. Two days later, seven missiles were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel.
The question begs to be asked: What kind of Western democracy in the world would allow for a one-sided ceasefire? What other state would allow for a rocket to explode within its territory?
Israel is going to celebrate 60 years of its independence in a few more weeks, as for the first time in 40 years a significant portion of its population are living under rocket threat. In the north, Hizbullah threatens with rocket fire from southern Lebanon. In the southern area of Israel, Hamas continues to fire from Gaza at Sderot, the western Negev and now Ashkelon. Hamas is also developing rockets that will reach Ashdod. At this point, up to half a million Israelis will be under rocket fire.
No family in the state of Israel should have to live under rocket threat. At 60 years of independence, Israel’s goal should be to end the rocket terror upon its citizens. It all starts with Sderot.
Also, what most people forget is that Israel’s adversaries are not advocating a ‘ceasfire’; they promote a hudna.
A hudna means no more than a temporary respite in the war between Islamic forces and non-Islamic forces. The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines hudna as a “temporary treaty” which can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam; and a hudna cannot last for more than 10 years.
The Islamic Encyclopedia mentions the Hudaybia treaty as the ultimate hudna. Yasser Arafat also talked about a hudna in his speeches when he would refer to the Oslo Accords. In the words of the Islamic Encyclopedia, “The Hudaybia treaty, concluded by the Prophet Mohammad with the unbelievers of Mecca in 628, provided a precedent for subsequent treaties which the Prophet’s successors made with non-Muslims. Mohammad made a hudna with a tribe of Jews back then to give him time to grow his forces, then broke the treaty and wiped them out. Although this treaty was violated within three years from the time that it was concluded, most jurists concur that the maximum period of peace with the enemy should not exceed ten years, since it was originally agreed that the Hudaybia treaty should last ten years.”