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Truce violated by both sides? Rockets hit Israel as drones circle over Gaza

Published time: November 22, 2012 03:47

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern city of Ashdod, about an hour after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, November 21, 2012. (Reuters / Amir Cohen)

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­RT: Cheering and chanting have been heard in the streets of Gaza, celebrating the truce. But how long do you expect the agreement to last?

John Glaser: It is an unanswerable question. A truce like this one has been entered by Israel and Hamas before, only to have the fundamentals of the situation stay the same, and eventually somebody breaks this ceasefire – typically, that's Israel. That is what happened in 2008-2009, which led to the Cast Lead operations. There were no Hamas rockets prior to that invasion and that escalation of airstrikes. Israel broke that ceasefire, and it was a much worse war than this time around. Thankfully, they reached a ceasefire deal before things got as bad as they did in Cast Lead. We have to see how well it holds, but if the fundamentals stay the same – that is to say that the blockade still remains in place, if Gazans are continued to be targeted by Israel through overhead strikes or through artillery through the borders, we're still going to see tit for tat exchanges of fire and possibly another outbreak of war.

RT: Hamas claims it's their victory, saying Israel "has failed in all its goals" – but with more than160 civilians killed in Gaza and widespread destruction throughout the territory, just how much of a victory is it really?

JG: Well, it is typical for people that are in power in a certain territory to brag about this or that thing and try to assign victory to this and that event, and Hamas is doing that. But it is not much of a victory. Gaza was virtually destroyed prior to this outbreak of violence over the past week. Cement and metal and construction materials have been blocked from entering since Cast Lead ended in January 2009, and much more of the residential areas and the government infrastructure has been ruined in this latest conflict. And you're right – the ratio of death and injury is not in the Palestinians' favor. So while it's typical for people to claim victory, I think we need to try and think soberly about this. It was not a happy time nor was this ceasefire for Gazans.

RT: According to Israeli officials, around 12 rockets have been fired from across the border since the ceasefire came into force. Is this really a truce, then?

JG: The reports that I've seen at the latest point possible, right before this interview, CNN confirmed that five rockets from Gaza into Israel were fired after the ceasefire – that is unfortunate, that ought to stop. It is possible that these smaller militant groups that are not Hamas are doing this, and doing it without the permission from Hamas, as typically happens – but it is also true that Israel has been flying drones over Gazan territory; it was contingent within the truce deal, the ceasefire deal, that overhead flights would end. So, this might take time to die down a little bit. It does not appear that Israel is responding to those five rockets, so overall the ceasefire is holding.

RT: Iran has recently confirmed that it has been supplying Hamas with the technology to construct long-range missiles. What kind of reaction can we expect from Israel to this?

JG: Israel has sort of lost the diplomatic and political battle to have the US back a war against Iran. The primary reason they had for that is the non-existent nuclear weapons program, which they persistently harp on. This might be another pretext, but the sort of diplomatic ducks are not in a row for Israel to start complaining about a war against Iran again. But we will have to see about that.

RT: The Israeli-Gaza war just four years ago, but didn't cripple Hamas in the long-term. Has this offensive proved to be any different?

JG: No, typically overly harsh measures which are severely disproportionate – like the economic blockade and bombing Gaza from the sky – those typically work to strengthen the radical elements of the Palestinian resistance. This has been stated again and again by, for example UN chief Ban Ki-Moon. The more crafty Israeli leaders should recognize that wars like this and tit for tat conflicts, and imposing harsh economic warfare, typically bolsters Hamas as opposed to weakening them.

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