Israel appears keen to halt the Gaza offensive before Barack Obama is sworn in as U.S. president on Tuesday, to avoid clouding a historic day for its main ally. Israelis mostly back the war, but much of the world wants the bloodshed to stop.
–Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters, Saturday, 17 January, 2009: “Israel plans ceasefire, Hamas vows to fight on.”
From the same report:
“There is no agreement with Hamas,” the Israeli official said…
1. a suspension of hostilities for a specified period of time by mutual agreement of the warring parties; cease-fire; armistice.
2. an agreement or treaty establishing this.
3. a temporary respite, as from trouble or pain.
Synonyms: accord, agreement, amnesty, armistice, break, breather, cease-fire, cessation, de-escalation, detente, halt, intermission, interval, letup, lull, moratorium, olive branch, pause, peace, reconciliation, reprieve, respite, rest, stay, suspension, temporary peace, terms, treaty, white flag, wind-down.
BBC News, “Gaza strikes ahead of truce vote.” Saturday, 17 January, 2009:
Under the Egyptian proposal, fighting would stop immediately for 10 days and Israeli forces would remain in Gaza while the border crossings into the territory would remain closed.
A spokesman for the militant group, Osama Abu Hemdan, told AFP news agency: “As long as it [the Israeli military] remains in Gaza, resistance and confrontation will continue.”
Hamas insists any ceasefire must involve Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza and an immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade.
In the US capital, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Israel would have to suspend any ceasefire if Hamas continued to fire rockets.
When a language becomes this complex, it is not surprising that malicious intent can find ways of cloaking itself in an unintelligible mass of contradictory signs. The only intelligible understanding is the one placed at the very top of this piece.
What the Israeli “truce” is not:
Any Israeli unilateral truce is not, given the definitions and synonyms above, either an accord, agreement, amnesty, armistice, olive branch, peace, reconciliation, treaty, and certainly not a white flag.
Hamas is not agreeing to the terms established for it by outside parties who have as much to answer for in the criminal blockade of Gaza as anyone else. Nor have any of the parties involved, aside from Hamas itself, done anything at all to defend the people of Gaza against the Israeli military onslaught. Hamas is right not only to reject a plan that freezes Israeli troops in place, in a colonizing space, on their land, but that also continues to impose the economic equivalent of martial law on all civilians by retaining the blockade, a blockade established because Israel and the West regretted having demanded democratic Palestinian elections which Hamas then won.
What the Israeli “truce” IS:
The unilateral Israeli truce is merely a temporary respite, much like reloading a weapon also offers a momentary respite. It is, more than anything listed above, a break, breather, intermission, interval, letup, lull, pause, rest, stay, or suspension.
The reasoning behind it is utterly cynical: Israel claims it has achieved its objectives — then go home; there are too many wars of occupation already by imperialists claiming to have reached their objectives, but who nonetheless “linger.” Others interpret this as a pause to allow Americans and their intended world audience to party for the arrival of this plastic messiah called Barack Obama. As we have already seen on numerous occasions, nothing and nobody can take the attention away from Obama, during Obama’s time to celebrate himself, during a party for Obama, when Obama is supposed to be the object of fixation.
Under these circumstances, and with more insults added to already grievous injuries, the last thing Hamas can or should do, is stop fighting back.