from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

The Cease Fire That Broke Itself, Part II

August 20, 2014

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In a recent post, found here, I noted the widespread failure of news media sites to say straightforwardly that Hamas has broken several cease fires. This just happened again, so herewith a couple of the most remarkable examples.

Foreign Policy wrote this:

Efforts to end six weeks of fighting in Gaza collapsed as rocket fire from the strip broke a cease-fire and Israel carried out renewed strikes in the area.

Interesting formulation: Israel carried out strikes, but on the other side was "rocket fire." It would seem that in Gaza rocket fire makes its own decisions about shooting: no terrorists, no Hamas, no Islamic Jihad.

Then there is this rather fantastic example from the Daily Telegraph in London:

Israel has confirmed that it tried to assassinate the most senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip. Mohammad Deif, head of Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, was targeted in a strike on a house which killed his wife and seven-month-old son in the early hours of Wednesday morning. A third dead body was identified, but it is not clear whether it was Mr Deif. The strike followed the resumption of violence between Israel and Gaza since rocket fire from the Strip on Tuesday afternoon violated the six-day ceasefire between the two parties. Subsequently Israel launched air strikes at Gaza and abandoned the ceasefire negotiations in Cairo, mediated by the Egyptians.

Now, it’s an obvious fact that Hamas broke the cease fire, and Israel then responded with air strikes--including the one aimed at Deif. But in the Telegraph, there was a "resumption of violence." Like cease fires that break themselves, violence "resumes:" no human agency. But Israel is responsible because it launched air strikes and then abandoned negotiations in Egypt. That the Israeli negotiators withdrew after Hamas broke the cease fire is not mentioned, of course, because the predicate is never mentioned: that Hamas broke the cease fire.

Sadly, each day provides more and more examples of this unwillingness to state clearly that Hamas breaks cease fires. I will not offer a theory as to why, but it is certainly bad journalism.

 

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