Saturday, June 14, 2008

A (Mediterranean) Sea Change

The admission is just this side of stunning for anyone who pays even idle, passing attention to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians - but in all likelihood the overture made by Hamas on Friday - that Israeli forces were not responsible for a massive blast that killed seven of its fighters and a baby in the Gaza Strip, by saying that the explosion occurred as militants were preparing for "a jihad operation" - can be interpreted as an act of reaching out in peace by the Palestinians of Hamas.

Initially, Hamas blamed Israel for the blast that leveled the house and injured up to fifty people. In response, militants fired dozens of rockets and mortar rounds at Israel in the hours following the explosion. And naturally the rest of the story follows...Israel retaliated to the mortars by targeting militants.

And then, a piano dropped on my head...or it might as well have.

On Friday, the Islamist movement's armed wing issued a statement/admission: "Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were trying to prepare for a jihad operation" when six members of the brigades were killed in the blast in Beit Lahya.
Despite preparations for further conflict, both sides on Thursday outlined their conditions for a truce with each other.

The Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, speaking from Gaza said that any truce must include, "a lifting of the [Israeli] siege, with a precise timetable for opening the crossing points [out of Gaza] and a list of the categories of products that will enter the Gaza Strip."

"It is important that the Rafah terminal [between Gaza and Egypt] be part of the project for calm. The Israelis and others have insisted that the Rafah terminal not be included" in an eventual deal, he added.

The Israelis have been linking the opening of Rafah – the only outlet for Gaza that does not pass through Israel – to the freeing of Corporal Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas and others in a cross-border raid two years ago.

What is really noteworthy in this is that this is the first time Hamas has demanded a timetable for opening the crossings and a list of products since Israel imposed the blockade after the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas last June.

And this post could go on for at least a thousand dissertations or at least as many pages as there are books in the old testament...but none of what would be contained therein is as important as this...HAMAS ADMITTED THEY WERE TO BLAME FOR AN INCIDENT IN GAZA.

I don't care what your politics or motives are...that is an undeniable peace overture.


No comments: