12-19-2008, 10:00 AM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
Hamas ends ceasefire with Israel
Quote:The announcement came on the eve of the final day of a six-month truce between the two sides which had been brokered by Egypt.
"The calm is over," said Ayman Taha, a Hamas spokesman.
He said the ceasefire would not be renewed "because the enemy did not abide by its obligations" to ease a crippling blockade of the Gaza Strip and halt attacks.
It followed an outbreak of hostilities on Wednesday when Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets across the perimeter and the Israeli air force responded with airstrikes.
At least one Palestinian, believed to be a militant taking part in the launching of a rocket, was killed in an airstrike.
Several Israelis suffered slight injuries after more than two dozen rockets were fired into the town of Sderot.
It was the heaviest barrage since a ceasefire was agreed by both sides in June.
The ceasefire had come under growing strain since Israeli ground forces launched an attack into Gaza against what the Israeli army claimed was a group of Palestinians preparing to attack Israel.
This sparked a series of tit-for-tat exchanges which has built up steadily as the deadline for the ceasefire approached. In all 19 Palestinians, mostly militants, have died and no Israelis.
A senior Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhum, blamed Israel for the collapse of the truce and said that the Islamist group felt it a "national duty" for Palestinians to respond military to Israeli aggression.
"There is no possibility of renewing the truce which ends on December 19 (Friday),'' he said.
"The Zionist enemy destroyed it. "
Israel responded with similarly forthright language as Ehud Barak, the defence minister, warned that he could launch a large scale ground assault into Gaza.
"When the situation requires us to, we will act,'' he said.
"We are not afraid of launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza but there is no need to rush into it.''
While this might assuage some Right-wing Israelis demanding firm action, the reality is ground assaults have been launched before but have not quelled the menace of the home-made rockets and mortars.
Israeli tanks and infantry roll into parts of Gaza from where the rockets are fired. They carry out searches and often detain Palestinian men. But no sooner have they gone than the barrages begin again.
After more than 20 rockets hit Israel on Wednesday Israel launched five air strikes overnight. The Israeli government says it is up to Hamas to stop attacks often carried out by smaller Palestinian factions, while the Islamists insist Israel must lift its blockade of the impoverished territory.
As a result of the worsening military situation Israel has severely limited access into Gaza for commercial goods and humanitarian supplies.
The blockages have meant the warehouses used by the aid groups have emptied, meaning the supply of humanitarian aid has been disrupted.
The United Nations Works and Relief Agency said that its stocks of flour in Gaza had run out "due to the ongoing crisis with irregular border access" and the threat to deliveries by rocket attacks launched from inside the territory.
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara
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