Coffee House

Ceasefire in Gaza?

20 November 2012

20 November 2012

A ceasefire is expected in Gaza later this evening, but is yet to materialise. Unsurprisingly, agreement has been hard to reach. Indeed, it has become a tool of propaganda. Hamas was busily briefing the world’s media that the ceasefire had been agreed even as rockets struck Rishon LeZion in southern Israel at 16.22 (GMT), causing two light casualties. Israel, for its part, was clear that there would be no ceasfire while it was still under attack.

It was hoped that the message had got through: the BBC reported that the guns, so to speak, fell silent shortly after 16.40 for more than half an hour. However, it was the triumph of hope over expectation. A little while ago, Paul Danahar, the BBC Middle East bureau chief, reported from Gaza City that Israel launched an air strike soon after militants in Gaza fired a rocket at Israel. The hours leading to a ceasefire, assuming these are such hours, are often active militarily, so this needn’t be the death knell for the prospects of a truce.

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Any truce, obviously, is going to be uneasy, especially given the doubts over Hamas’s ability to control the operations of other militant groups on the Strip. The fog of war contributes something to this. It is not wholly clear, for instance, whether Hamas was responsible for or simply failed to contain the grotesque acts that saw a man, accused of spying for Israel, be lynched and then dragged through the streets. 5 other ‘collaborators’ were executed by a group that the BBC describes as ‘linked to Hamas’, which is not quite the same thing as saying Hamas did it. The worry is that Hamas would be unable to enforce a ceasefire.

Foreign policy experts tell me that Israel’s retaliation would be swift and heavy should any Gazan provoke them. This recalls Israel’s age-old problem in Gaza: to ‘win’ tactically but lose strategically when the world condemns the price of its victory. Earlier this afternoon, the IDF dropped leaflets among towns along the Gazan border, advising residents to evacuate to specific areas Gaza City. The IDF’s Twitter feed implied that these flyers were intended to limit civilian casualties; but broadcasters have suggested that the IDF was preparing the ground for the much threatened land operation or at least an incursion. Hamas, for its part, wants to keep the civilians where they are to discourage Israel, and has told them to ignore the Israeli ‘propaganda’. It seems that, judging by broadcast reports and social media, many Palestinians have obeyed their government. Let us hope, both for innocents on the ground and for Israel’s long-term strategic cause, that the IDF is not given cause to enter Gaza.


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Show comments
  • Roy

    Israel should be more robust in its firing plan. If Hamas want to shelter behind civilians so be it, take out the lot of them. It didn’t stop Bomber Command in World War II.

    • hateignoramus

      Israel isn’t Sri Lanka, not Turkey nor are they Croat, Bosniac or Albanian, therefore they can’t.

  • anyfool

    This little spat was probably an exercise in checking the effectiveness of the Israeli Missile Defence Shield, it looks like it is about 70% against the limited rockets of Hamas, it will not be so effective against the 30.000+ of the more efficient Hezbollah weapons.

    Israel will face more of this as soon as its enemies work out the pros and cons of this latest skirmish.
    For Israel to survive in the long term the time will come when all they have left will be its nuclear weapons, its real enemies are not Palestinians, Syrians or even Iran, its real enemy is Saudi Arabia the home of most of the vile hatred that epitomises the Arab psyche.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      There are likely a few people the Israelis want liquidated in Gaza though. And the new Egyptian thugocracy likely has a few Gaza enemies on its own kill wish list, and have shared that list with the Israelis no doubt, to make sure all of their common ne’er-do-wells get terminated. This appears to be a bit of housekeeping, from the looks of things. The Egyptian guy doesn’t need the Gaza nutters messing up his world with their fresh ideas, and he needs to let them know who’s boss here. The Israelis are the triggerman, and yes they benefit if the worst actors go see the virgins, but most of this is about eliminating the worst actors, I suspect. Just about everybody wants those guys dead, except the Iranian mullahs and Assad, who welcome them as a distraction.

      • anyfool

        In all probability you could be right but the longer view is a much more dangerous, the US is now on a course to become a hotch potch of cultures just like Europe where none will dare to upset any part of the electorate while at the same time large parts of the same electorate is virulently anti Jewish.
        Would you trust an entity like that to come to your help.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I don’t foresee the US electorate supporting the islamofascists, of any stripe, any time soon. The numbers are well skewed away from that, and even if they moved a bit, they’d still be a clear majority.

          • anyfool

            By long term i dont mean the current political idea of long term i mean 10 to 20 years, for the Israelis time is the biggest enemy they will have to act decisively soon.

    • Daniel Maris

      Not true in my view. Egypt has the biggest Sharia university in the region and surveys show its thinking is really archetypally pro-Sharia in everything from Jew hatred through oppression of Christians to Femal Genital Mutilation. And yes, I know FGM is not an obligation under Sharia, but it is protected by Sharia.

      • anyfool

        Like in most things, follow the money.

  • victor67

    Israel long term strategic goals are to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the Jordan valley, give the rest of Palestine to Jordan whether the Jordnians agree to this or not and Egypt to take over the Gaza strip.
    Netanyahu, Likud and Lieberman are not interested in peace and all this is funded by the US taxpayers and with tactic approval of the EU, Blair, Cameron and Hague.

    • Augustus

      Your moniker reminds me of another ’67’, the Six-Day War, when Israel was nearly annihilated by a host of Arab armies, emerging victorious by the skin of its teeth and the grace of God. This was the war that resulted in the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, and the repossession of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and the Gaza Strip. Rather than simply annexing the above territories, which were not only legitimate spoils of war, but historically Jewish since time immemorial, Israel made what would turn out to be a serious mistake. It administered, protected and funded them, in the hope that the Arab population residing in them would come to terms with their Jewish neighbours, eventually reaching an agreement that would be satisfactory to all concerned.
      This fact has been obfuscated to the point of eradication since those days. The Arab world knew a good thing when it saw one. This “good thing” took the form of a particularly effective propaganda campaign aimed at Western liberal
      sensibilities on the one hand and at Arab vulnerability on the other. Creating an entity called “the Palestinians (those Arabs who had lived in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza before the war and those born after 1967), enabled them to play David to Israel’s Goliath. It was a brilliant ploy, since up until then there had been little doubt that Israel was a tiny country surrounded by much larger Arab states bent on its destruction. Once “the Palestinians” were created, this reality became forgotten. The idea that the only real obstacle to peace in the Middle East was the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians took hold, and the ‘Palestinians’ have milked it for what it’s worth ever since.

      • victor67

        Legitimate spoils of war? How does that fit with International law. I am sure Hitler regarded Poland,Czeceslovakia and Saddam in Kuwait in much the same way.

        • Roger the Dodger

          Did you not realise Hitler lost the war? So did Saddam in Kuwait. The losers don’t get to have an opinion on the spoils of war.

        • hateignoramus

          what a stupid reply. are you not aware of history?

  • Cassandra1963

    There is the real world and a made up version, there is real world opinion and a fabricated world opinion as peddled by a liberal media conspiracy. Israel is held to a different standard and one impossible for any nation to live up to let alone one fighting for its very existence. The other side is not held to any standard at all, it can murder and butcher innocents at will with none of the vocal outrage from the usual suspects in the media and their backers. The tragedy is that hamas gets away with so much, is allowed to escape responsibility for starting and provoking the conflict and the biased media allows it and actively connives with the terrorists of hamas to peddle their lies.There is no balance of expectations from the biased media, Israel is expected to somehow defend itself by surrendering? WTF is going on with the Western media that it can get away with such an inversion of reality.

    And hamas gets away with unprovoked aggression without censure or media interest until Israel strikes back and then the biased media suddenly wakes up in a flurry of angst and outrage at civilian deaths. And when the biased media does get going it takes in unverified hamas sourced footage on trust that it is genuine and often it isnt. The real tragedy is not the conflict it is the outrageous and grotesque demonizing of Israel for simply defending its people, actions any decent nation would take to protect its people. We live in a perverted false world largely made up by the biased media that presents it as real, we see terrorists treated as world leaders and world leaders treated as terrorists. We see a media attacking an elected head of state for defending his people and a terrorist gangster being lauded and pampered for launching terror attacks on a neighbour, the world is entering a new and ugly phase where right is wrong and the criminals become the victims and the victims are either ignored or demonized, the world turned upside down and inside out.

    • telemachus

      I cannot recognise the tenets of this post
      The Western Media is universally pro-Israel
      It does not understand the Palestinian question
      Just scan the evening feeds talking about Hamas Rockets when the thoughts of ceasefire are thwarted by Israel pounding Gaza and killing children again

      • Cassandra1963

        You islamofascist cowards started the conflict and now you whine and cry like spoiled kids about being the victim, you hide behind women and children while trying to kill women and children like the snivelling cowards you most certainly are. Stand up and fight like real men, dont hide behind women and children, take up your weapons and fight the IDF in open combat instead of hiding and skulking in the shadows. Stop crying about being the victim, you are not the victims you never were. But man to man you are no match for the IDF, they fight like men and you fight like cowards.

        • telemachus

          The Palestinians of Gaza are crowded into a tiny land 7 miles wide and 25 miles long
          One a half million of them
          The aggressor talks of surgical strikes but not possible
          The brave defendents of the Palestinians cannot do as you claim they should
          The aggressor could stop the bombing now as demanded by the UN instead of sitting smiling next to Clinton saying look at me, I am brave and powerful
          Well hear this
          It will be a different story when the Palestinians have a suitably armed Persian friend.
          How long
          Not long

          • HCollins

            ‘The Palestinians of Gaza are crowded into a tiny land…’
            Well, poor them for having more than 4 times the space per head of population as the (presumably even more oppressed) population of Manhattan Island. Manhattan 87km2, Gaza 360km2, with almost identical population sizes of about 1.6 million.
            ‘Stop the bombing as demanded by the UN’? Sorry, I must have missed that bit. For once the UN and most other countries seem to have seen through Hamas’ dishonest victim narrative.
            ‘a suitably armed Persian friend’? So, having poked the country next door with your rockets, you’re now looking for a big boy to look after you?
            It’s really very simple. Stop the rockets.

            • vix

              ‘So, having poked the country next door with your rockets, you’re now looking for a big boy to look after you?’ I do believe the Zionists sought help from UK, Germany (yes, really, the Kaiser) and the USA before settling on the fact that the USA was becoming the big boy on the block. There used to be a King David Hotel, and villages like Dir Yassin. The Zionists had their terrorists too. The Irgun used cutlasses on women and children in Dir Yassin which was a key reason why other villages fled to Gaza- use of swords not dissimilar in my mind from beheadings with the sword. Both reprehensible. But, ‘pass go’ and collect 200 pounds. Yes, the Zionists won the war. But this is not is not a electronic war game. There is an aftermath Israel and the USA have not dealt with intelligently or empathetically. That is, if peace for Israel were the aim at any point. Jabotinsky was very clear the Arabs had to be ground in to the ground to achieve the Zionist aim and that was what his Iron Wall speech was all about. Combine superior weaponry, USA aid and the drive to settle the land and peace really would be counter-productive just now.

              None of this is ‘simple’, unless one has the mental capacity of a teenager.

      • Augustus

        “It does not understand the Palestinian question.”

        Well, your erstwhile hero now seems to. Barack Obama supported the operation and reiterated Israel’s right to defend
        itself, despite predictions that after the U.S. elections Obama would take his revenge
        on Netanyahu. Anyway, it’s good to know that Washington and Jerusalem know how to work in conjunction with one another. Hamas again raised its ugly head. Pity the operation didn’t end with a headless Hamas!

  • vix

    ‘Foreign policy experts tell me that Israel’s retaliation would be swift and heavy should any Gazan provoke them’.
    No sh1t Sherlock. You need a foreign policy expert to tell you this?
    And why would you refer to ‘innocents’ on the ground in Gaza.
    One: there are no innocents. See previous comments on Gaza articles in Spectator for flavour.
    Two: Israel uses proportionality and only targets the guilty.
    It is not that Israel wants all those in Gaza dead, however. It just wants Gaza emptied.

    • telemachus

      This is appalling
      The vast majority of Gaza residents are lost souls seeking a peaceful life.
      Sadly 100 of them found peace only in death

      • vix

        The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. Elie Wiesel.

        • telemachus

          Elie Wiesel also wrote

          I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

          On whose side are you?

          • vix

            Yes. Reduce the argument to yes and no.
            Whereas education allows for shades of grey and intelligent debate.
            You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?
            So, just for you. Is gaza a ghetto. Yes or no?

            • hateignoramus

              no, there is an open border – intermittently closed when their patrons in the brotherhood dont get their way – across the philadelphia route to the south… facts are annoying aren’t they?

              • vix

                Damn those annoying facts. You are so right.
                So, actually, you could have an empty Gaza. Why doesn’t someone do something to encourage them to leave then? I mean you could farm it, exploit the oil (or is it gas) offshore, put in the hydroelectrics to the Dead Sea, no end of things… What a waste of an economic opportunity.

                • hateignoramus

                  Oh, i get it. without acknowledging your mistake/lie/over-exaggeration of gaza being a ghetto, you do what you always do – shift the framework of debate to another frame of reference. hoping to throw enough bile at the wall something will stick. you have been found to be ignorant of the basic realities belying a complex dispute with seismic geopolitical dimensions where both sides have legitimate and wholly illegitimate claims that you so wish to boil down to the lowest denominator you really are vacuous and wholly intellectually dishonest.

                • hateignoramus

                  and what is with the, constant ‘you’ labelling? i am not israeli, nor am i a jew. i am not a zionist as i dont wish to move there though i do agree that in the context of post war state building, the jews had as much right to a country within a territory they had once ruled and had resided for millenia – contiuously – as any body else.

                  Where did that comment of emptying Gaza come from? you have been found to make a mistake so you resorted to a childish diatribe that had nothing to do with anything I had said. Yes Vix, you are doing your side of the argument much justice, aren’t you?

                • vix

                  Which bit of ‘you are right’, did you you not get? The rest of the use of ‘you’ is the generic ‘you’. Sorry if you felt it was targeted:
                  So, actually, one could have an empty Gaza. etc. I thought it a reasonable deduction from your indicating that they (the Palestinians) had an exit route. Note I do not call you vacuous, childish, ignorant, little-brained and dishonest and can understand your viewpoint…..

                • hateignoramus

                  vix, your reposte was veiled in sarcasm, reread it.

                  if generic, use ‘one’.

                  you see this argument in such black and white terms, blind to the nuanses of reality that you decided that was what i MUST have been inferring. anyone who doesnt agree that the fault of all this lies with only the israelis must therefore hate the arabs and by deduction – wish for ethnic cleansing. preposterous. a reflection of your ‘hot-headedness’ when it comes to this discussion.

                  vix, your arguments,as pointed out – are clearly childish, based in ignorance, one-sidedness and more than slightly vacuous. some opinions are wrong, namely – (on this topic at least) – most of the ones you have posted here. i cant empathise with most of what you say. my logic wont allow it. sorry.

                • hateignoramus

                  you see this argument in such black and white terms, blind to the nuanses of reality that you decided that was what i MUST have been inferring. anyone who doesnt agree that the fault of all this lies with only the israelis must therefore hate the arabs and by deduction – wish for ethnic cleansing. preposterous. a reflection of your ‘hot-headedness’ when it comes to this discussion.

                  the question begs to be asked… if you didnt know something as basic and transparent as the status over Gaza’s borders…. why bother having such an intense opinion on the situation?

                  would you have such a strong opinion on the merits of my father’s radiation treatment? considering you don’t know all the facts surrounding his health or circumstances i would guess you wouldn’t.

                  interesting thought, no?

                • vix

                  Well we won’t agree on the facts or their interpretation but I am genuinely sorry that my post has you still upset on this a day later. What was meant to be challenging banter has obviously been too much. I am very sorry to hear about your father. Best wishes.

            • telemachus

              Yes
              It is reminiscent of the Warsaw Ghetto
              The question is are we seeing the events of 19 April 1944(the uprising)
              Or are we seeing the final destruction

              • vix

                Interesting (no sarcasm). I always hope the Israeli people will have enough empathy remaining from their own history to fight without becoming indifferent to those Palestinians who have no choices left and voted for Hamas only in despair. It doesn’t look like it, however, and claiming Israel’s victim status now, I find abhorrent.

                • telemachus

                  My fervent hope is just that
                  The sense of shared persecution may in the end lead to a meeting of minds
                  I have a profound sense of the dialectic and by synthesis arriving at a just solution
                  At last vix I find an open mind

                • vix

                  I see you too, Nkozi. Lets hope for more dialectics ( though I had to look it up!)

  • Kevin

    “when the world condemns the price of its victory”

    The “intolerable price” being that Jews should get used to life without being shot at.

    • swatantra

      Yet another cease fire, and a final resolution, Armageddon, postponed.
      The fact is its an unequal playing field, or battlefield, heavily onesided in terms of arms and weaponry, and economically, on the side of Israel. Until ithe situation becomes more balanced there will never be a resoution. Israel will never come to the negotiating table as long as it is in a position of dominance.
      Those who really care about peace in the Middle East must do their best to make it a fair and even fight between these two Old Testament adversaries. Its the only language they understand: ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
      Its regretable, but that is the fact of the matter.

      • Cassandra1963

        The ‘Palestinians’ cannot live in peace, they cherish and nurture their hate like a doting mother and her child, its all they live for apart from breeding the next generation of haters,a cesspit of hatred. In a just world they would be excluded from the civilised world and kept behind barbed wire and high walls.

        • vix

          Errr – they are. Gaza is a ghetto. They can’t get out. They are short of food. They are limited in what they can do and they are locked up more than just at night…..It sounds horribly familiar doesn’t it?
          On the other hand, I expect they would be allowed out to emigrate.
          How simple to hate a whole people so much. I am trying to think when I saw such demonstrable and generic hate of a people before.

          • hateignoramus

            Errr, where do I start picking apart your simplistic, intellectually lethargic argument?

            There are two borders to Gaza – one is open, therefore it isnt a ghetto is it?

            Short of food and yet they dont exactly look malnourished on the TV when calling ‘Itbach al Yahud’ from the depths of their lungs. An anomaly easily explained away by the observation that they clearly are not short of food – or rockets for that matter. there is a nuance of difference between not living a life of luxury and going hungry you know.

            As for not seeing such a demonstrable generic hatred of a people before – you wouldn’t have to think so hard if your head wasn’t buried in the sand whilst Bahai, Circassian, Coptic, Assyrian, Sufi, Kurds and Maronite peoples are brutally suppressed whilst arab children are told in their text books that the infidels are like monkeys. anyway… dont let me keep you from the ostrich strategy you are currently employing.

        • victor67

          You really do epitomize the ugly face of zionism espoused by the likes of Lieberman and fanatics in the settler community.

          • Colonel Mustard

            And you epitomise the ugly face of left wing double standards, hypocrisy and general tediousness.

      • Augustus

        What a load of bollocks. It was the Arabs that attacked the Jewish state for the unforgivable crime of not wanting to live as second class citizens under islamofascism. Israel won that war and the right to exist. The surrounding muslim nations kept starting new wars, in 1956, in 1967, and were about to start another war in 1973 but the Israelis beat them to the punch. In each one of these wars the Israelis were outnumbered by muslims, but they defeated the aggressors. Muslims have committed terrorist atrocities repeatedly, attacking civilians, shooting up Israeli schools, blowing up buses, sending in mentally retarded women and children with suicide bomb vests to blow up shops and restaurants. Truly vile and utterly contemptible acts of barbarism. Now muslims are launching missiles supplied by Iran and Egypt from Gaza, and the IDF is responding to protect their country. Israel has every right to defend itself against muslim aggression. Arabs in Israel have the right to vote, to hold public office and to be free. They are not treated as second class citizens within Israel. There is no such country as ‘Palestine’ and if other muslim countries actually cared about the well being of the ‘palestinian refugees’ they would take the money they are spending trying to exterminate Israel and use it instead to take the land – perhaps the Sinai Penninsula that Israel already gave back to Egypt as part of the Sadat-Begin peace treaty that Egypt is now looking to break – to help these refugees build themselves a nation.

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