Hamas Agrees To Ceasefire, Israel Attacks Rafah In Response – Robert Inlakesh 5/7/24

Source: TheLastAmericanVagabond.com

Scenes of celebrations across the Gaza Strip went viral on social media this Monday, after Hamas accepted a ceasefire proposal, spreading hope throughout the besieged Palestinian population. That hope was quickly crushed, as Israeli political figures rejected the ceasefire and pledged to go ahead with their planned invasion of the city of Rafah.

Hamas officials confirmed that they had accepted a ceasefire proposal this Monday, sharing a copy of the Qatari-Egyptian mediated proposal to Al-Jazeera Arabic. The ceasefire, which the US government reportedly had a hand in helping to draft, has three phases attached to it. These phases, which are more detailed than any past proposals leaked to the media, hope to secure the full exit of Israeli forces from Gaza in stages, end the firing from all sides, allow for the entrance of sufficient aid to the besieged territory, in addition to paving the way to a complete end to the war and prisoner exchanges that will free both Palestinian and Israeli captives.

The week prior to Hamas having studied and accepted the ceasefire proposal, it was promoted by no other US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who called it an “extraordinarily generous” proposal and ensuring that it was a “strong” agreement when meeting with family members of Israeli prisoners held in Gaza.

However, when news broke that Hamas had agreed to uphold the ceasefire agreement in full, the Israeli government quickly moved to kill all hope of it moving forward. The Israeli war cabinet announced that it could not accept the ceasefire, while US officials refrained from commenting and claimed they were still studying it. The responses of both the US and Israeli governments tell separate stories about the nature of the ceasefire agreement. While the US claims it has to study it more, the Israelis are speaking as if they have full knowledge of the agreement already, this either demonstrates that Israel refuses to even go through the documents or that it knows what the agreement is already and had no intention of ever complying.

Given that the US is involved and updated on all developments, maintaining close ties with both Qatar and Egypt, it is unlikely that Washington has not had time to assess the agreement that they helped draft. Also supporting the assumption that all parties had full knowledge of the ceasefire proposal are the above mentioned statements from the US Secretary of State, combined with repeated comments from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, over the past days, that he doesn’t intent to agree to any ceasefire.

Israel has said that it will send a delegation to Cairo, in order to “exhaust” all possibilities of reaching an agreement, but also pledges to go ahead with an invasion of Rafah that Tel Aviv has already approved. According to UNICEF, an invasion of the southern most Gazan city of Rafah will put 600,000 children at the risk of a “catastrophe”.

Before allowing any time for there to be consideration of implementing a ceasefire, Israel began launching indiscriminate bombing attacks in Rafah, as well as against northern Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp and Beit Hanoun. Israeli tanks were also mobilized to invade the Palestinian side of one of the Egyptian border crossings into Gaza, attempting to seize the site and bombarding civilian homes in the area as they pushed forward. These scenes of horror were broadcast live on Egyptian television, showing explosions and sounds of gunfire.

Later, the Israeli military published an official video showing their tanks occupying the Rafah Crossing. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers published videos to their social media accounts that featured them shooting up and destroying the area from within their tanks, they also pulled down Palestinian flags and replaced them with Israeli ones. These forces also reportedly murdered 20 Palestinian workers who were stationed at the crossing, labelling them as “terrorists”. By occupying this crossing, they effectively blocked all people from traveling in or out of the Gaza Strip, in addition to blocking all aid from the two key crossings, the Karem Abu Salem and Rafah Crossing aid points.

Israeli forces also launched a campaign of airstrikes against more than 100 different locations around Rafah, at a time when the some 1.4 million displaced refugees who are living throughout the area have no other place to go. The majority of these people are living in tents, or other crude structures that they have formed in order to take shelter, now they are cut off from all food, medicine, water, and other goods that have been blocked by the Israeli military.

Perhaps the worst part of the seizure of the Rafah Crossing is that the same people posting videos of themselves on social media laying waste to a civilian crossing for laughs, are now the people controlling whether any aid will enter the territory at all. This comes only two days after the World Food Program (WFP) warned that “full-blown famine” was about to grip the population of the besieged coastal territory. With the actions of the Israeli military, this is almost a certainty, unless they withdraw and allow the passage of the bare minimum in humanitarian aid trucks.

Why Are The Israelis Invading Rafah?

If you were wondering what tangible benefit to Israel’s war goals a Rafah invasion could serve, the short answer is nothing, which has been publicly admitted by former leaders of the IDF . So, why would they be invading if it does not serve a legitimate military goal? The short answer to that is they have invaded and failed to achieve their goals everywhere else.

Since February, Benjamin Netanyahu has been repeating the argument that Israel will lose the war if it doesn’t invade Rafah. His religious fundamentalist coalition partners, like ‘Security Minister’ Itamar Ben Gvir and ‘Finance Minister’ Bezalel Smotrich, have both sworn to collapse Netanyahu’s government if he doesn’t invade Rafah.

Yet, most people don’t know the original thinking behind the idea of invading Rafah and how intelligence chatter was twisted and weaponized to serve an Israeli political agenda. Israel’s intelligence community, who also share contact with the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Preventative Security Forces, have been engaged in talks about potential ways that a Hamas-linked civil-administration, security apparatus [police], and financing network can be eliminated in order to make way for a system that can be operated by a non-Hamas entity following the war.

In pursuit of this goal, of eliminating the financing networks, the Israeli military has justified looting safes, banks, businesses, and even women’s jewelry throughout the areas they’ve raided in Gaza. While the majority of the money and jewelry that they’ve stolen (estimated to amount to hundreds of millions) has not been related to Hamas in anyway, some locations where cash is stored likely have been. However, it has been clear that the Israelis have no idea what the network for financing even looks like, as they’ve failed to collapse it.

As for the police officers in Gaza, who served in the line of duty prior to the war and have played a role in managing security, distribution of aid, and storage of aid, the Israeli military have deemed them as “Hamas”. The same goes for Palestinians who were employed in the civil-administration, they are deemed to be “Hamas”. This is of course a disingenuous argument, made only to justify murdering innocent civilians, often those involved in attempting to bring order. Hamas has been the government in the Gaza Strip since 2006 when it was ostensibly democratically elected to power, and hence it took control of the civil administration and police. Therefore, if you are living in Gaza and want to be employed in one of these sectors you are technically under the control of Hamas. (It is also important to make clear that this was in fact by the design of the Netanyahu government in order to grow division between the Palestinians in Gaza and the ones in the West Bank.) Anyone who understands this distinction knows that these people are not armed Hamas combatants or members of its political wing by definition, but the Israelis are unfortunately allowed to get away with justifying murder using this excuse due to the refusal of the corporate media to tell the truth.

All of this is to say that while Israel worked to crush the possibilities for the Hamas operated civil administration and security apparatus, along with the financing network for Hamas, in all other areas of Gaza, there was intelligence chatter about the potential for working towards the same goal in Rafah. There are more locations where individuals have cash stores and more people belonging to the Hamas-run civil-administration and police in Rafah, but this is only down to two primary factors: proximity to the border with Egypt and the fact that most of Gaza’s population is concentrated in Rafah.

This information, regarding there being more civil-administration, police officers, and financing networks in Rafah found its way into Israeli cabinet meetings. Meaning that it found its way into the minds of politicians who were desperately seeking excuses to prolong the war and to distract their public from the fact that the invasion of Gaza City, followed by the invasion of Khan Younis, both failed dramatically. The Israeli media, political and military spokespersons, promised their people that the invasion of Gaza City, specifically the Shifa Hospital, would bring the collapse of Hamas. When they failed to find any Hamas “headquarters”, they then told their people that “the real Hamas headquarters” is in Khan Younis, which turned out to also be a lie. Now, it’s Rafah that they claim will bring about the alleged “collapse of Hamas”.

The reality is this: the Israeli political, intelligence, and military establishments have no idea what they are doing. There is no difference in their approach to Rafah than there has been in any other area in Gaza. They bomb and shoot anything that moves; their forces take drugs and go on their mobile phones to film themselves committing war crimes; they kidnap, torture, and sexually abuse those in their custody; they burn down the homes and blow up random buildings for a laugh, then they move on to the next area in their heavily armored vehicles. Instead of behaving like disciplined armed forces belonging to a real country, they instead resemble a cowardly and better equipped ISIS style militia force.

Although the Israelis have had more than four months to prepare a ground operation in Rafah, the US Biden administration has stated that it opposes the action because they don’t have a clear evacuation plan for civilians. Washington acknowledges that the flow of aid would be impacted and that the civilian death toll would be high, which is why they have cautioned against the move. According to State Department Spokesperson, Mathew Miller, the US will not support the offensive “currently envisioned by Israel“.

Much of the current Israeli establishment understands that when the war ends, so too do their careers. This is especially the case for Israeli Premier Netanyahu. So, they were never looking to free their prisoners, held by Hamas, as a priority, and they see no way to dismantle Hamas militarily. They have not even succeeded at destroying any of the smaller Palestinian armed movements in around 7 months of all out war. So when Netanyahu pledges that he will only accept the dismantlement of Hamas, it means that there will never be a ceasefire deal he is willing to agree upon and that he only seeks to drag the war on for as long as possible.

One of the many serious problems with the Israeli military now entering Rafah, is that the genocide could go into full swing with the blockage of aid. If the densely populated areas in Rafah are invaded, untold numbers of civilians could be massacred, on a scale that has occurred only a few times in human history.