Previous cease-fires with Palestinians paint a bleak picture

A look at previous tahadiyehs casts doubt on the likelihood of this latest truce holding at all.

hamas 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Aiming to end months of bitter clashes between the IDF and Hamas terrorists in Gaza, a fragile truce has been formally recognized between both Israel and the Hamas-led government there, in which rocket attacks on Israel will stop and Israel will ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip. But a look at previous tahadiyehs (the Arabic term meaning "period of calm" that Hamas uses for its informal cease-fires) casts doubt on the possibility of a cessation of violence and the likelihood of this latest truce holding at all. In February of 2005, a similar cease-fire was announced, which lasted, according to official sources, until June of 2006. But the interim was fraught with rocket attacks on Israeli territory and IAF responses on Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. In fact, the truce was almost completely called off five months after it started, when dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, killing a 22 year-old woman and sparking IAF attacks that killed six Hamas terrorists. The following cease-fire, declared in November of 2006, was filled with even more violence, with 75 rockets fired into Israel within the first month of the so-called cessation. According to the Israel Project, an international non-profit organization that provides journalists with information about the Middle East, two Israelis were killed by rocket fire in May of 2007, effectively ending that cease-fire, which had lasted, officially, for a year and a half. The first of those attacks, on May 20, 2007, saw a 35 year-old Israeli woman killed and two others wounded by a Kassam rocket while standing near a vehicle in downtown Sderot. The second death during that cease-fire came a week later, when Oshri Oz, a 36 year-old Israeli, was killed when his vehicle was hit by a Kassam, as he drove through downtown Sderot. Before those deaths, which spelled the official end of the 2006 cease-fire, hundreds of rockets rained down on Israel's south, prompting IAF responses in Gaza. In fact, in the week prior to the fatal Kassam attacks alone, 60 such rockets had been fired. While those numbers are troubling, the situation in Gaza was less controlled when the previous cease-fires were called. Since then, Hamas has firmly consolidated its grip on the Gaza Strip, leading some to believe that their say-so will reign in the rocket squads. Regardless, at least five Kassam rockets fell in the area outside Sderot on Wednesday, hours before the most recent cease-fire, set to begin Thursday morning at six o'clock, was announced.