Egypt's foreign minister on Sunday condemned recent Israeli raids against Palestinians and suggested they instead should focus on returning to peace negotiations. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip that have killed 15 Palestinians since Friday were a violation of international conventions. "The time has come for the Israeli leaders to realize that by negotiations, and not violence, they will restore peace and security to Israelis," Aboul Gheit said in a statement issued by his office after a meeting with the Palestinians' top Muslim clergyman, Mufti Ikrema Sabri.
At no time does Ahmed Gheit acknowledge that the Palestinians may be a little more than culpable for the attack launched by the IAF. And he neatly side steps the fact that the Israeli air strikes were the response from the almost constant daily Kassam rocket barrages emanating from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper beginning a few short weeks after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in late August. No doubt the Kassam’s that continue to fall into Israel is a moot point that would be lost on the likes of Gheit.
But while the Egyptians are busy denouncing the Israelis for violations of international conventions the Jerusalem Post is reporting Hamas is attempting to point fingers and stake out the claim of their being the “last of the good guys”:
Some Fatah-affiliated militias are behind the latest wave of Kassam rocket attacks, in the hope of prompting a massive IDF operation in the Gaza Strip that would eventually bring down the new Hamas cabinet, Hamas officials claimed on Sunday. The officials told The Jerusalem Post that the timing of the recent increase in attacks -almost immediately after the Hamas cabinet was sworn in - was not coincidental. They also accused some elements in the rival Islamic Jihad of working together with Fatah militias.
"Their main goal is to drag Israel into a major confrontation in order to bring down the Hamas administration," a Hamas minister said. He pointed out that Hamas was not involved in firing rockets and that the movement would continue to honor the unofficial truce with Israel. He said he did not rule out the possibility that some of the Palestinian Authority's security forces were also involved in he "conspiracy" to topple the Hamas cabinet. "The situation is very dangerous," he said. "I don't rule out the possibility that some of the security forces and their commanders are behind the rocket attacks. They want to plunge the area into anarchy so that they can say that Hamas has failed."
Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas cabinet, said the latest wave of violence was clearly aimed at confusing the new cabinet. He expressed regret that the international community was more interested in finding ways to isolate Hamas than in forcing Israel to halt its "state terror."
Another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused Israel of trying to bring down the new cabinet. "The latest Israeli military escalation is aimed at forcing the Palestinians to succumb and bringing down the new cabinet, which was elected in democratic elections," he said. "The Zionist crimes won't break the will of the Palestinian people and the occupation will pay a heavy price for its crimes." Both Hamad and Zuhri refrained from openly blaming Fatah or any of the PA security forces.
Meanwhile, a row has erupted between Islamic Jihad's political and military wings over whether to stop Kassam attacks. Sources close to the military wing, al-Kuds Brigades, announced on Sunday morning that the group had decided to halt its attacks for at least one week because of the IDF strikes over the past few days. "The decision was taken to prove to the world that Israel is initiating attacks on the Palestinians and that we are only responding," it said in a leaflet distributed in Gaza City. "We want to show the world that we are only defending ourselves and that we don't love bloodshed." Hours later, Khaled al-Batsh and Khader Habib, the top political leaders of Islamic Jihad, denied that the group had agreed to suspend its rocket attacks.
PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh chaired an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Sunday to discuss the latest cycle of violence. The cabinet decided to request an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians were entitled to "resist the occupation."
If people weren’t dying, I would be tempted to make popcorn and sit back to watch he show. Justifying the Kassam barrages originating from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper as legitimate resistance to the “alleged” occupation by a people who withdrew 8 months ago breaks out of the bounds of acceptable chutzpah and veers firmly into the delusional.