Hamas Accuses Israel as Fragile Ceasefire on Edge of Collapse
    2011-02-28 20:36:10     Xinhua      Web Editor: Guo
 

The deposed government of the Islamic Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, on Monday accused Israel of escalating violence against the Palestinians in the coastal enclave as an undeclared fragile ceasefire between military factions and Israel is about to collapse.

Taher al-Nouno, spokesman for the Hamas government, told Xinhua that the current Israeli military escalation on the Gaza Strip "is part of the Zionist enemy's nature, where it expresses the internal crisis that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is passing through and the failure of the peace process."

Over the past few days, Gaza militant groups fired around 12 homemade projectiles, rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, according to the Israeli army. Israeli war jets struck training camps belong to Hamas and Islamic Jihad armed wings in response.

Rockets attacks by Palestinian militants have caused no damages or injuries, but the Israeli war jets and tanks had killed two members of the Islamic Jihad armed wing Saraya al-Quds and injured about 15 Palestinians.

"The international community is sharing with Israel the terrorist attacks on the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, because the world keeps silent in carrying out practical measures and taking those Zionist criminals to courts to sue them for their awful crimes," al-Nouno said.

The leaders of the military factions and Israel had traded accusations over the past few days on who is responsible for the growing wave of violence in the Gaza Strip, amid fears that this would turn into a large-scale Israeli military operation on the entire enclave.

Observers in Gaza said that this fear is related to the collapse of an undeclared ceasefire, which was reached between Israel and the Palestinian military factions and militant groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, at the end of the three-week operation Cast Lead in 2009.

Talal Oukal, a Gaza-based analyst, told Xinhua he doesn't believe that the Gaza military factions are interested in escalating violence with Israel. However, he said that Israel is the one which is looking for enlarging the circle of escalation to prepare for a large-scale operation against Gaza.

Following the increase of rockets attacks on southern Israel, mainly after two Grad rockets hit the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheba, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that the army would harshly respond to these attacks.

Although Hamas called for refraining from launching rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the military wings of Hamas and Jihad responded to the Israeli threats by saying that they are ready to confront any upcoming Israeli large-scale operation.

Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, said it still abide by the undeclared ceasefire reached with Israel in 2009. However, it added in a press statement that this "is linked to the development on the ground, mainly stopping the ongoing aggression and lifting the ongoing siege."

Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas armed wing, told Xinhua that " with or without a ceasefire, Israel is always planning military escalation against the Palestinian people because it is sure that the world will keep silent," adding "Israel will be responsible for any upcoming escalation."

"Al-Qassam Brigades is completely and fully ready to confront any new Israeli aggression whatever it is and at any time," Abu Obeida said. "We don't have in our dictionary an expression called retreat or being defeated."

Meanwhile, Abu Ahmad, spokesman for Jihad's armed wing Saraya al-Quds, told Xinhua that Israel exaggerates the fact when it says that the Palestinian groups of resistance have sophisticated kinds of weapons "in order to justify its military operations against us. It is a psychological war."

"We believe that the enemy is not willing to open a new front of war with the Gaza Strip for many reasons, one of them is that it faces lots of troubles. The Israeli enemy is also facing the world's criticism due to settlement and the siege imposed on Gaza," Abu Ahmed said.

Despite the ongoing escalation and threats, Hamas began a series of contacts with leaders of the factions to secure a ceasefire with Israel, mainly in the borderline areas between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and to refrain from firing rockets and mortars at Israel.

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