Hamas Steps Up Bombings, Truce Plans in Jeopardy

Update: Reuters reports a ceasefire has been agreed to.

Yesterday a truce between Israel and Hamas seemed very close. Hillary Clinton traveled from Israel to Egypt for further truce talks. Today, a truce seems less likely. As to what's changed?

Hamas has stepped up its rocket launches into Israel, firing 80 missles into southern Israel in the past 24 hours. 20 were intercepted, in Ashkelon, Beersheba, Be'er Tuviya, Hof Ashkelon and Ashdod.

A package bomb was placed on a bus in Tel Aviv today (no deaths, several injured, seems to be the work of amateur terrorists). On al Aqsa (Hamas) TV: "G-d willing, we will soon see black body bags."

In Gaza yesterday, a Hamas gunman executed 6 people believed to be Israeli collaborators. The bodies were then tied to a motorcyle and dragged through the streets. Photos here, video here. [More...]

Six men accused of being 'Israeli spies' were dragged through the streets of Gaza City and executed in front of a chanting mob today as Israel warned Palestinians to evacuate some areas of the territory in apparent preparation for a ground invasion.

Witnesses said the six were taken to an intersection in the north of the city where they were summarily shot for providing intelligence that helped Israel pinpoint key figures in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad targeted by their warplanes.

Iran claims it has been supplying missiles to Hamas.

Israel continues its attacks on terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. Today, after dropping leaflets warning civilians in the area to get to a shelter, it bombed the Yarmouk sports stadium in Gaza City.

The Israeli military said its targets included the Ministry of Internal Security, which it says served as one of Hamas' main command and control centers, a military hideout used as a senior operatives' meeting place and a communications center.

Also on Wednesday, the IDF said it bombed more than 40 tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border used by militants to smuggle weapons into the territory. Overnight, Israel carried out more than 30 Israeli airstrikes over Gaza that hit government ministries, smuggling tunnels, a banker's empty villa and a Hamas-linked media office.

Unless Israel and Hamas decide to stop firing rockets without a truce in place, as they continue to work towards a truce, it seems the attacks on both sides will continue.
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  • Display: Sort:
    Right Now... (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:19:03 AM EST
    ...seems like instead of brokering peace we might be trying to figure how the hell we are going to stay out of it.

    Iran saying it's behind the missiles, Hamas praising terrorist and wanting body bags, Israel with airstrikes and calling up 75,000 reservists for a ground invasion.  And all of this over a tiny scrap of land that holds 1.5M people.

    Both sides are not just planning for a war, they seem to be excited about it.  I don't know how it can be avoided.

    By no means is " all of this" (none / 0) (#4)
    by Peter G on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:12:41 PM EST
    happening "over a tiny scrap of land that holds 1.5M people."

    Make Ceasefire (none / 0) (#2)
    by koshembos on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:59:52 AM EST
    Hillary has an important task; she can help get a ceasefire. Staying out is not an option for a superpower. The fight is not over land. The fight is about a way of life. Either ceasefire that benefits both sides or continued skirmishes.

    Neither side wants war, but they do have different views of "not war." Hamas seems to think that they can continue to shot rockets as they have basically done for the last five years. Israel, a vanilla flavored Democracy with strong free press, wants total quiet.

    Meanwhile we see death and destruction on both sides. Ceasefire will stop that.

    Quiet for Quiet (none / 0) (#3)
    by koshembos on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 12:17:44 PM EST
    Starting at 9pm Middle East time a defacto ceasefire will start. According to Haartz, Obama has asked Netanyahu to stop war activities and Hamas will do the same.

    That is not a strong ceasefire with duration and conditions, but rather admission of both sides that quiet is the better state. Israel is flourish country and will continue to be so. Hamas prevents imminent ground attack that will cause it huge damage. Sadly, it doesn't improve the conditions in Gaza. They can achieve that only with renouncement of military option, which they as fundamentalists cannot do.

    Israeli PM Netanyahu has become ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 02:34:06 PM EST
    ... trapped in a domestic political conundrum of his own making. Over the past two decades, the population of Israel has grown by well over 50% to more than 7.8 million people. Most of this growth can be attributed to both the increased birth rate and growth of the Israeli Arab communities, which currently comprise about 20% of the country's population, and the steady influx of Jewish immigrants, who are mostly from Russia and eastern Europe.

    Netanyahu's Likud party has never really enjoyed the confidence of most native-born Israelis whose families have lived there for several generations, and who have demonstrated an increased willingness to seek a negotiated peace with their Arab neighbors. Further, the Netanyahu government has generally incurred the hostility of the Israeli Arab community with its hardline policies toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

    Thus, the governing Likud coalition has come to rely ever more increasingly upon the rapidly growing Jewish immigrant community for most of its support. Unfortunately, over 500,000 of these recent arrivals have shown a marked tendency to settle upon lands that are still being seized from Palestinian ownership and control in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, even as we speak.

    Therefore, it's hardly surprising that the large immigrant community would generally be the most unyielding in their political opposition to the idea that there should be any sort of suspension or freeze on further Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They can further be counted upon to remain vehemently hostile to any proposed accord with moderate Palestinians that would effectively impose and implement a two-state solution, which would compel most if not all Jewish settlers / squatters to abandon their presence in the Palestininan territories and relocate within Israel proper.

    Suffice to say, both sides in this seemingly intractible conflict are at present being effectively held hostage by the most extreme elements amongst them. While the rhetoric and hostility has become most heated, one must hope that there is a lot of backchannel communications currently taking place between the sane adults in the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, to head off an armed confrontation which would serve neither of them well at all.


    I hate to say this, Donald, (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Zorba on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 03:11:50 PM EST
    But I don't see any good answer for this.  I am not optimistic that there are any "sane adults" in either the Israeli government or the Palestinian Authority.     :-(

    Much less do there seem to be any (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Peter G on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 03:47:37 PM EST
    in the rank and file of Hamas, and maybe not in the leadership either.