Hamas announces attacks in israel for the first time since november 2004
Last friday, the palestinian family ghalya decided to have a picnic on the beach in gaza that they would not survive. An israeli shell tore apart parents and five of their children, ages 1 to 17. Only seven-year-old hadil survived. Television cameras showed the girl collapsing screaming among members of her dead family in the midst of rescue efforts. While an israeli government spokesman apologized for the civilians’ deaths, explaining that the military normally only conducts "surgical strikes". The 5.000 israeli rockets, tank shells, and rocket-propelled grenades that hit the gaza strip in april alone, however, speak a different language. The israeli military is still considering the possibility that the explosion could have been caused by palestinians, but there is no evidence of this.
The military killed a total of 14 people in the gaza strip on friday. Already on thursday, jamil samhadana and three other people were hit by a rocket. He was the leader of the popular resistance committees, an alliance of various movements in the gaza strip. Samhadana was also the head of the 3.000-headed hamas task force in gaza.
Under the impact of the deaths, hamas announced its 18-month unilateral cease-fire with israel and launched homemade rockets into israel across the border, which has been hermetically sealed since the early 1990s. One person was injured. The israeli air force flew attacks and killed two hamas fighters. Already on saturday, israel’s defense minister, labor party leader amir peretz, billed as a "leftist hope," declared that israel would resume its assassinations of hamas leaders after the group broke off the unilateral cease-fire. However, the fact that israel stopped these attacks in the past went unnoticed in the palestinian territories.
Despite the piling up of israeli attacks and the increasing death toll in recent months, the death of almost the entire ghalya family has greatly affected the palestinians. The hopelessness of one’s situation and the unprotectability of one’s life in any place was drastically demonstrated to the people in the occupied territories by the deaths on the beach. And the palestinians seem to agree that the israeli attacks of recent months have had only one goal: to provoke hamas. "The earthquake in the zionist cities will begin anew," their military arm announced on friday, announcing new attacks in israel. The islamists have not carried out a suicide attack there since november 2004 in order to distinguish themselves as a political party and prepare for the parliamentary elections in january 2006. The israeli death toll has declined. Moreover, its leadership inside the occupied territories has been striking new notes since 2002 regarding recognition of israel.
Since the hamas election victory in late january, 13 israelis have died in palestinian attacks (mostly by islamic jihad), five of them in the occupied territories. In the same period, israeli soldiers and settlers killed 128 palestinians, many of them civilians like ifaf zalat. The 43-year-old woman was shot dead in her home by a special unit in may. Two of her daughter were wounded. Target was actually a wanted palestinian in a completely different apartment. Her death was so commonplace that it was hardly newsworthy even for the palestinian media.
The hope for political change that was associated with the referendum announced by president mahmoud abbas has fizzled out again. At the end of july, the palestinians are to vote on a national unity government and the recognition of israel within the borders of 1949. 77 percent of the population backs it, according to a birzeit university poll on wednesday. "But what we vote on in terms of israel doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t matter to israel if we recognize it," said a customer in a supermarket in ramallah on saturday night, while the television showed the president. He explained live to his burgers why a referendum is still necessary despite the suffering. "That’s right," agrees the client, "we need the unity government. The internal fighting must stop."Hamas, however, declared on friday that it would boycott the vote. While the israeli bombing shows what israel thinks of the palestinians, there is no need to discuss their recognition.