Unilateral Gaza ceasefire collapses.Israeli air strikes resume after dozens of rockets in hours
rime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the Israeli Air Force to resume strikes over Gaza Tuesday afternoon, six hours after a ceasefire proposed by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, was due to go into effect. During those hours, dozens of Hamas rockets raked town after town and village after village. debkafile: The White House called off US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Cairo visit upon finding Tehran’s hand behind the rockets. Netanyahu goes on the air at 8 p.m. to explain what went wrong.
Straight after the ceasefire was due to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m., Hamas fired 20 rockets from the Gaza Strip.The Israeli security cabinet had meanwhile endorsed Cairo’s proposal to mediate the conflict with the Palestinian extremists, but warned that if they continued to fire rockets, Israel would hit back with “all possible force.”
In Cairo, Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzuk took responsibility for eight of the post-“truce” rockets, most of which landed on Ashdod, slightly injuring one woman. Iron Dome intercepted four.
The first rockets hit Eshkol before 9.30, soon to be followed by a steady stream at Sderot, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Shear Hanegev, Gan Yavneh and Eshkol. As the Hamas official spoke, a rocket hit Netivot and Israel TV reporters at Shear Hanegev interrupted their broadcast and scurried to safety in a shelter.
At 12:30 p.m. Rehovot, Ness Ziona and Kibbutz Givat Brenner were targeted, then sirens blared on Mt. Carmel, in Haifa, Zichron Yaakov and Ain Hashofet and at 13.05 p.m. in the inland towns.
And the day was still young.
debkafile: It was obvious from the first that the Egyptian bid to enforce a comprehensive truce before summoning the parties to Cairo to discuss a substantial deal – on the lines published Monday night in Cairo – had no legs. It was artificially cobbled together by Israel and Egypt with no reference to the initial aggressor, Hamas and its pro-Iranian ally Jihad Islami. Had they been consulted, some sort of dialogue might have developed and led to a bilateral ceasefire, however fragile.
But this did not happen and the rosy bubble filled with nothing but hot air was bound to burst.
Early Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry was already heading to Cairo to take the lead in the Egyptian initiative when he was ordered by Washington to turn around and make tracks for home.
President Barack Obama had no wish to stand in line with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu behind their highly speculative initiative.
According to our sources in Washington, the real reason the White House pulled Kerry out of another certain fiasco in the nick of time was incoming intelligence that Tehran had ordered its Palestinian pawn Jihad Islami to ignore the ceasefire and keep on shooting from Gaza. This left Hamas no option but to follow suit.
The Obama administration was also advised of that hand behind the trickle of rockets fired this week from Lebanon and Syria at Western Galilee and the Golan. It was the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, PFLP-General Command, whose chief Ahmed Jibril has made his organization an operational branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Al Qods Brigades.
Israeli spokesmen have carefully refrained from putting these incidents together, all leading to Tehran, and inferring a well-orchestrated master plan afoot against the Jewish state that would not be put off by an unsustainable truce.
debkafile reported after midnight Monday:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accepted President Abdel-Fatah El-Siisi’s proposal to mediate the halt of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas faction ruling the Gaza Strip and agreed to a ceasefire going into effect Tuesday, July 15 at 9:00 a.m., debkafile reports.
The Prime minister informed senior security cabinet ministers Monday night, July 14, that he had reached this decision after conversations with Washington and Cairo, stressing that the mediation process did not mark any change in Egyptian and Israeli policies for Hamas and the Gaza Strip. The Gaza blockade would not be lifted, and Israel would not hand over the Palestinian prisoners, released for the Israeli soldier held hostage, and re-arrested again last month during the hunt for the three Israeli teenagers whom Hamas abducted and murdered. These demands were the price set by Hamas for halting its rocket fire against the Israeli population.
Netanyahu also reported the Egyptian president was fully aware that Israel would insist on any deal with Hamas being contingent on the creation of an international mechanism to dismantle and remove Hamas’s rockets stocks and production facilities from the Gaza Strip. The ministers gained the impression from his presentation that El-Sisi had not objected to this demand.
Monday night, the Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, announced in a speech that his movement had accepted Cairo’s proposal to negotiate a ceasefire with Israel. He held Israel responsible for initiating the military campaign against Hamas.
Official Egyptian sources published some high points of Cairo’s proposal Monday night, whereby Egyptian officials would meet with each side separately for talks held in accordance with the Cairo-brokered ceasefire of 2012 (which ended the Israeli Defensive Pillar operation). “Israel should put an end to all of its land, sea, air hostilities against the Gaza Strip while emphasizing that no ground invasion will be implemented against Gaza or the targeting of civilians,” the Egyptian proposal stipulated.
“To end all hostilities by political factions (DEBKA: Hamas is not mentioned by name) based in Gaza against Israel via land, sea, air and underground, while emphasizing the stoppage of rockets of all kinds, assaults on the borders and the targeting of civilians,” the document said.
The proposal also called for the opening of crossings and facilitating the movement of people and goods through border crossings – but only in consideration of “ground security conditions”.
IRAN ATTEMPTING TO REARM HAMAS WITH MISSILES Amid international calls for cease-fire
Amid international calls for a cease-fire, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization is already implementing plans to rearm Hamas in the Gaza Strip with more missiles following any truce, according to informed Middle Eastern defense officials. Israel, meanwhile, continues its aerial offensive aimed at minimizing Hamas’ rocketing capabilities as the Arab League and the European Union join other international calls for a truce.
Among them are Secretary of State John Kerry, who has offered to broker a cease-fire. Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem say Israel is willing to discuss a 48-hour respite in the military campaign targeting Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure while a longer-term truce is negotiated. The sources said it is Hamas that has rejected the truce, believing it can still achieve a mass-casualty event inside Israel so that it can emerge from the week-long confrontation declaring a “victory.” To that effect, Hamas attempted Monday to escalate its attacks with bombardments of southern Israeli communities and foiled attempts to send drones into Israel.
One drone was shot down with a U.S.-supplied Patriot missile as it flew over the southern city of Ashdod. Video footage of the explosion indicates the unmanned aircraft was carrying a large payload of explosives that could have been used to carry out a devastating attack. Hamas claims it successfully flew two more drones over Israeli territory Monday, one armed with missiles. It claims one unarmed drone flew over the Tel Aviv headquarters of the Israel Defense Forces. IDF said it was not aware of any drone activity over Tel Aviv.
Hamas says all drones deployed Monday were models of the Ababil-1, an Iranian-made drone. Egyptian military sources told KleinOnline the Hamas claim of flying a drone over Tel Aviv is being taken seriously. Hamas, the Egyptian sources said, laid out its conditions for a long-term truce, including the reopening of Egypt-Gaza crossings and the release of more than 60 Hamas officials arrested by Israel in the West Bank in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens. The report of Iran’s Hezbollah proxy attempting to rearm Hamas comes after KleinOnline reported Saturday Hezbollah reopened an operational room with Hamas to coordinate regional militant developments, according to informed Mideast defense officials.
The operational room, commissioned at the direction of Iran, is in Lebanon. It is coordinating with Hamas command and control in the Gaza Strip, the defense officials said. In another alarming development, the defense officials said the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist organization is not answering to Hamas and is shooting rockets into Israel at times without the approval of Hamas leaders. The move could complicate any cease-fire achieved between Israel and Hamas, and it gives Iran more discretion over the Gazan Palestinian arena.
The reopening of an operational room between Hezbollah and Hamas signifies the rapprochement of cooperation between Iran and Hamas in the current crisis in Gaza. In the last two years, Iran has tempered its relationship with Hamas because it failed to aid in any significant way the regime of Iran’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has been facing a Sunni-led militant insurgency.
On the ground, the strengthening of Hamas-Iran ties could have two major implications for Israel. First, Israel could face coordinated rocket attacks from both Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. On Friday, one Katyusha rocket was fired into northern Israel, prompting fears of the opening of a second front against Israel. On Monday, two more rockets were reportedly launched from Lebanon. Second, Hamas may be more hardened in its truce talks with Israel. KleinOnline reported Thursday that Iran opposes a truce at this time and has even been attempting to use jihadist surrogates in the Gaza Strip to cause a mass casualty event in Israel that would provoke an Israeli ground operation, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
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