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Friday, January 09, 2009


Who broke the truce?

Israeli spokespeople and members of the U.S. government and almost the entirety of the corporate media routinely refer to Hamas having resumed firing rockets as if it happened out of the blue. Every once in a while, however, you'll see a reference to the exact event that broke the truce - the murder of six Hamas militants in an airstrike on Nov. 4. When that event is mentioned, here's how the corporate media typically refers to it (this from the New York Times on Dec. 18, before the Israeli assault was initiated in earnest):
While this back-and-forth did not topple the agreement, Israel’s decision in early November to destroy a tunnel Hamas had been digging near the border drove the cycle of violence to a much higher level. Israel says the tunnel could have been dug only for the purpose of trying to seize a soldier, like Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli held by Hamas for the past two and a half years. Israel’s attack on the tunnel killed six Hamas militants, and each side has stepped up attacks since.
Now read that again carefully. No alternative explanation for the digging of a tunnel is offered, only Israel's conjecture that the tunnel "could have been dug only for the purpose of trying to sieze a soldier." And it was on the basis of that conjecture that Israel murdered six people and broke the truce. Since then, that "conjecture" has been turned into alleged reality in numerous accounts.

But finally, along comes Jimmy Carter, in a Washington Post op-ed, with a different perspective:

This fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.
And, with the context of the current ground invasion, that explanation becomes quite clear, because it is widely reported that one of Hamas' defensive strategies is to use tunnels. Indeed, it's obvious that tunnels are an important "weapon" if an ill-equipped force like Hamas has any chance whatsoever to resist an invasion of their land with tanks, F-16 fighter jets, and helicopter gunships. And, needless to say, they have every right to dig tunnels within their own borders, which is what they were doing..

Who broke the truce? Jimmy Carter tells it like it is. Of course, Israel never actually lived up to the conditions of the ceasefire to begin with, since they maintained and even tightened the blockade on Gaza during that period. Attempting to starve a people to death (not to mention actually doing so) is no more civilized, and arguably less so, than attempting to kill them with bombs and missiles.

The U.S. Senate, by the way, yesterday unanimously voted that 100% of the blame for the breaking of the truce falls on Hamas, and I expect the House, with the exception of Dennis Kucinich and perhaps a handful of others, to follow suit. Facts, shmacts.

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