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ei: Israel’s fabricated rocket crisis
In Israel’s recent rush to invade Gaza, we witness the same predisposition to violence, the same aching aggravation with Palestinian peace offensives, and the same willingness to conflate all resistance, all frustrations, into a single enemy: ”They are all Hamas!” And we see that Hamas, like the PLO, refused to oblige Israel with a single provocative act. 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 evidence for this is ready to hand. For example, the Wikipedia entry on the events of the summer, ”List of rocket and mortar attacks in Israel in 2008” (revised 4 January 2008), based almost exclusively on Israeli newspapers and government sources, confirms that there were no rocket or mortar attacks claimed by or plausibly attributed to Hamas during the calm. This can also be verified by surveying archives of news reports from the period.
The few that were launched, none of them causing any casualties, were claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, by Islamic Jihad, by ”the Badr Forces,” or by nobody. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called repeatedly for a cessation of rocket fire, and denounced those factions who broke the truce. A Hamas spokesman criticized Fatah for allowing the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is affiliated with Fatah, to fire rockets. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces’ murders and settler pogroms continued unabated on the West Bank. They included an attempt by a settler to fire a homemade rocket toward the Palestinian village of Burin, which nearly killed another settler. During the lull, then, Israeli settlers fired more rockets (i.e., one) than did Hamas.
In a document entitled ”The Hamas terror war against Israel,” The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas’s good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center:
Monthly distribution of rockets hit
Monthly distribution of mortar shells
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.