A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is in its sixth day. Will it hold? That may depend on Israel (and it doesn’t look promising).
by Kathryn Shihadah
The ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took effect at 2:00 am May 21. Israel claims that no demands were attached to the mutual agreement to the cessation of hostilities; Hamas asserts that the ceasefire included terms: that Israel would “lift their hands off” the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Whether or not the demands are real, Israel’s actions in Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah were the spark that ignited the recent hostilities. Hamas issued an ultimatum, demanding that Israel withdraw its forces from both locations, and began firing on Tel Aviv when Israel did not comply.
The durability of the ceasefire may well depend on Israel’s behavior at these two flashpoints – as Israel well knows (in fact, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said as much today).
As usual, Israel has been testing the limits – some would say provoking – Palestinians’ patience all over the region.
If this continues, one incident or another will be the final straw, and Hamas rockets will fly again. If and when that happens, many Americans will believe the usual spin, that “Hamas just started attacking Israel because it is a terrorist group.”
But know that this is a lie.
WITNESS: Israel has been inciting Palestinians every day since the ceasefire began. Below are just a few headlines attesting to that fact.
WITNESS: Friday, May 21
On Friday, just hours after the ceasefire took effect, this occurred:
Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered to worship at Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday. CNN and Ha’aretz reported on Israeli soldiers assaulting journalists and storming the mosque grounds, though nothing illegal was happening.
Another headline the same day read:
Here are just a few other incidents that happened Friday across the West Bank:
- Israeli Soldiers Abduct a Palestinian in Tubas
- Israeli Soldiers Shoot a Palestinian with Expanding Bullet Near Ramallah
- Israeli Army Injures Several Palestinians in Ni’lin
- Israeli Soldiers Abduct Three Palestinians in West Bank
- Israeli Army Injures Many Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum
- Israeli Soldiers Injure 120 Palestinians in Nablus
- Israeli Soldiers Attack Joint Israeli-Palestinian Protest Near Bethlehem
- Israeli Colonists Attack Homes, Injure Several Palestinians, In Hebron
(Palestinians often use the word “colonists” instead of “settlers”; to them, this word speaks more directly to the central issue in the Israel/Palestine conflict: Israelis are, almost exclusively, immigrants or families of immigrants who recently arrived to colonize the land; Palestinians are indigenous people of the land. It is well-documented that in many areas, colonists – already illegally living on Palestinian land – are enabled, and often even assisted in their harassment and often violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military.)
WITNESS: Saturday, May 22
One full day into the ceasefire, even as Palestinian news sites were Tallying the Casualties from 10 Days of Bombardment, Israel was perpetrating further violence.
Ha’aretz reported that Israeli soldiers used “skunk water” to disperse the Sheikh Jarrah protesters. “Like most of the recent cases in Jerusalem over the past months,” writes the Israeli reporter, “the dispersal was not preceded by stone throwing or violent provocations by the protesters, but only by calls of protest.”
A few other incidents on Saturday:
WITNESS: Sunday, May 23
The Washington Post described, on the second day of the ceasefire, a provocative visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound by a group of right-wing Jews, accompanied by Israeli security.
- Report: Israel committed 89 violations of medical teams during latest aggression on Gaza
- Israeli Colonists Injure 7 Palestinians in Wadi Qana
- Israeli settler extremists attack Palestinians near Qaliqilia with pepper spray
- Soldiers Injure a Palestinian Child, Abduct Father and Son, in Hebron
- Army Abducts 22 Palestinians in West Bank
(The abduction of Palestinians – often by the dozens – is a nearly everyday experience in the West Bank. It often happens under cover of darkness, and often involves children, both of which are illegal practices under international law.)
WITNESS: Monday, May 24
Some headlines from the third day of the ceasefire:
- Israeli Army Abducts 36 Palestinians, Including 20 in Jerusalem
- Two Palestinians Die from Serious Wounds in Gaza
- Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Teen in Jerusalem
- Sheikh Jarrah Families Petition Int’l Criminal Court – Endorsed by 191 Orgs
- Report: Israel Issued 155 Administrative Detention Orders Against Palestinians So Far in May
- Palestinian Detainee Continues Hunger Strike for 20th Day
(Administrative detention (AD) is a practice that Israeli occupation forces apply in order to hold prisoners indefinitely on “secret information” that neither the detainee nor his lawyer may see. AD allows prisoners to be held without charging them or allowing them to stand trial, and can last indefinitely. Its wide use in Israel is a violation of international law.)
WITNESS: Tuesday, May 25
A few headlines from the fourth day of the ceasefire:
- Gaza: 4 More Palestinians Found Killed, Buried in Rubble
- Palestinian Dies from Wounds Suffered in Gaza (over 250 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed in Gaza since May 10)
- Undercover Israeli Soldiers Kill a Palestinian Near Ramallah
- Israeli Soldiers Injure 2 Palestinian Workers Near Jenin
- Israeli Soldiers Abduct 22 Palestinians in West Bank
- Israeli Army to Demolish 3 Commercial Structures Near Nablus
- Israeli Soldiers Abduct 2 Siblings From Jenin
- Israeli Army Abducts a Palestinian National Security Officer in Jericho
- Israeli Soldiers Abduct 8 Palestinians in Jerusalem
- Israeli Colonists Attack Homes, Uproot Trees, Near Hebron
WITNESS: Wednesday, May 26
One headline today, the fifth day of the ceasefire, reads,
Another headline, Israeli court postpones decision on Silwan evictions amid crackdown on protest, refers to Silwan, another neighborhood in East Jerusalem that, like Sheikh Jarrah, is facing the possible forced eviction of Palestinians to make room for Jews.
In addition, today Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians; Israeli soldiers abducted Palestinians, forced Palestinians to demolish their own homes, and invaded the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS – like the Red Cross), fired gas bombs at medics, and causing a fire.
According to the report,
the PRCS slammed Israel’s ongoing and escalating Israeli violations against the Palestinian people, including paramedics, and added that Israeli frequently targets medics to prevent them from performing their humanitarian duties in occupied Palestine.
Remember these headlines if the rockets start again, and know that Israel has not been innocent.
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress: NO MORE MONEY TO ISRAEL. PERIOD.
Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew.
She also blogs at Palestine Home.
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