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Ceasefire Backfire Redux?

Jonathan Schanzer

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced a unilateral truce in the Gaza Strip effective 2:00am Sunday morning, the New York Times reports. Troops, however, will remain there for an undetermined amount of time, and Olmert says that Israel will respond to Hamas violations. The announcement came after the Israel’s 22-day counter-offensive in response to rocket fire out of Gaza into Israel’s southern civilian areas.

Olmert stated that Israel “reached all the goals of the war, and beyond.” However, Hamas representative Usama Hamdan proclaimed that “as long as the troops remain in Gaza, resistance will continue.”

Unfortunately, if Israel stands by its decision to end its military operations, future conflict is guaranteed. As I noted at Palestinian Rocket Report, when Israel accepted the ceasefire on June 19, 2008, it provided Hamas with an opportunity to regroup and rearm for future conflict. Hamas’ raison d’etre is violence against Israel. Accordingly, Hamas can now be expected to smuggle more Iranian-supplied rockets and other weaponry into Gaza. It will undoubtedly use those weapons to provoke Israel into yet another round of violence that will generate needless casualties and unmerited outrage the world over.