We’re less than a week into the supposedly six-month-long Gaza “truce” that Israel negotiated with Hamas, and already Palestinian militants are making a mockery of it.
Palestinians in Gaza fired a mortar shell into an empty area just before midnight last night. And then earlier today four rockets were fired into southern Israel, lightly wounding two. Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the rocket fire, explaining that it was retaliating for a pre-dawn Israeli raid in the West Bank that killed one of its commanders, along with a second Palestinian. The Israeli army says that the Jihad man was planning an attack, and that troops found explosives in his apartment.
How did Hamas respond to Islamic Jihad’s violation of the hard-won truce? Why, they blamed Israel, of course. The Associated Press reports:
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the rocket attack came because of “Israeli provocation this morning” and added that Hamas was “committed to the calm.” He said Hamas will talk with other factions and make sure they are committed, too.
Hamas is supposed to be enforcing the truce in Gaza, not making apologies for violations of it. The truce is limited to Gaza, and incidents in the West Bank shouldn’t be grounds for Palestinian factions firing rockets from Gaza. Indeed, while Hamas is busy blaming Israeli actions in the West Bank for Islamic Jihad’s rocket fire, Hamas itself has kept up its attacks on Israeli civilians in the West Bank. Today, Hamas’s military wing claimed credit for a West Bank shooting attack that injured three Israeli hikers on Friday, shortly after the Gaza truce took effect.
Then again, the notion that Hamas is untrustworthy is hardly news. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Israelis are so glum.
For more analysis of the truce: From the center, Ha’aretz’s Yoel Marcus argued that the truce might provide a useful respite for Israel, even though it’s ultimately not a solution to the problem with Hamas. From the right, The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick calls the truce a “diplomatic and strategic capitulation to Hamas.”