Neither Israel nor Hamas will agree to a cease-fire, unless the other side stops firing rockets at them, as discovered by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during Friday’s “The Situation Room.”
This could be a bit of a problem.
Blitzer spoke with top Hamas official Osama Hamdan about Palestinian President Muhammad al-Abbas’ call for a cease-fire. When asked what it would take for Hamas to follow al-Abbas’ request and comply with a cease-fire, the leader of the terrorist organization placed blame on Israel.
“Well, it needs just only one condition– that Israel stop its violation for the cease fire agreement which was agreed on in 2012 to stop the aggressions against the Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank,” Hamdan said. “The one who started the fight was Israel, so them [sic] have to stop that first.”
When Blitzer pointed out that it is very unlikely that Israel will cease to protect themselves as long as Hamas is firing rockets from Gaza, Hamdan stated that Israel has been using unethical war tactics thus far.
“I believe the Israelis are targeting civilians from the first day. They believe this causes heavy pressure on Hamas because the civilians are very precious and valuable for Hamas. But it’s clear also that when they started that tact, they did not get net attention to the civilians,” Hamdan replied.
The Hamas official stated that 70 percent of Palestinian casualties in Gaza thus far have been civilians, and because of this large number, they believe that Israel is directly attacking civilians. He stated the desire to protect Palestinian civilians and also countered that Hamas does not use such tactics.
“If Hamas wants to aim against the civilians, it would be more easier.” Hamdan said, “All the targets which was declared by the… militant wing of Hamas was militant targets or semi militant targets. The one who attacked a navy base… is not taking the civilians. The one who is attacking the militant airports is not attacking civilians. While on the other hand, Israelis are daily every hour attacking the civilians,” he continued.
The situation in Israel escalated on Thursday with Hamas rockets landing in Israel. Up until this point, the Israeli Iron Dome defense system prevented Hamas rockets from wrecking havoc in populated areas. Both sides expect a ground invasion from Israel is imminent.
While interviewing the spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mark Regev, later in the program, the Israeli representative told CNN that the rockets from Gaza must stop.
“Our goal is to bring peace and quiet to Israel’s civilians,” Regev said,“so that they don’t have to live in fear of these rockets coming in from Gaza. Too many rockets, hundreds of rockets over the last few weeks. It has to stop. It can stop one way or the other, but it has to stop,” Regev told Blitzer.
Blitzer pointed out that there have been over 100 Palestinian deaths but no Israeli deaths, to which Regev responded, “I am not going to apologize that there aren’t Israeli deaths.” Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel at an alarming rate, but they have not succeeded due to both Israel’s defense systems and their careful monitoring of the situation.
Regev also referred to Hamas as terrorist organization, and that, despite what Hamdan said in the previous interview, “flowery language and his kind words cant obscure that fact.” Until Hamas changes their tactics, Israel will not agree to a ceasefire.
“We cannot agree to a ceasefire that Hamas wants. Hamas wants a band-aid. Hamas wants as Prime Minister Netanyahu said earlier today, ‘a few minutes to rest, to bandage their wounds and then start firing again.’ That is not in the cards. We want to come out of this conflict knowing that for a sustained period of time that the people of Israel can live without the fear of these rockets coming in from Gaza,” Regev declared.