MK Slams Tacit Ceasefire Agreement With Hamas

Gov't officials deny making a deal with Hamas, but facts on the ground indicate a ceasefire. MK Slomiansky: 'A disgraceful cave-in to terrorism.'

Hillel Fendel,

MK Nissan Slomiansky
MK Nissan Slomiansky

The Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper in the Palestinian Authority reports that Israel has agreed to stop aerial attacks against Gaza terrorists, in exchange for an end to both rocket attacks on Israel and arms-smuggling to Gaza. 

MK Nissan Slomiansky (National Religious Party) says that Hamas will take advantage of this latest ceasefire, even if it is unofficial, to continue building up its armaments.  He says that the very fact that Hamas is interested in a ceasefire with Israel "shows that it is weak, and that now is the time to smash it and liquidate it."

The agreement, which is to remain secret until at least the end of the month, was brokered by Egyptian officials.

Rivhi Rantisi, a Hamas official in Gaza, confirmed the report on Israel's Army Radio.  "There are understandings," Rantisi said, but then added still more demands: "Israel must also end the sanctions on Gaza... There must also be an end to all Israeli military activity in [Judea and Samaria]."

Following seven years of Kassam rocket attacks on Israel in the Sderot and western Negev, and after a particularly violent week in which dozens of Kassams and Katyushas were fired daily at Sderot and Ashkelon at the end of last month, Israel took possibly its strongest action in years when it sent sizeable forces into Gaza in an attempt to neutralize the terror infrastructures. The forces withdrew several days later, but the Israel Air Force continued to attack specific targets from the air - until the current ceasefire went into effect over the past few days.

Olmert Zig-Zags
Both the Prime Minister's and Defense Minister's office have denied any ceasefire with Hamas.  However, last Wednesday, just hours after the Cabinet voted to continue military pressure on Hamas, including targeted attacks on its leaders, Olmert said: "One thing must be clear: If there are no Kassams on Israel, we won't attack Hamas.  We don't wake up in the morning and try to figure out how to attack Gaza. Our goal is to prevent rockets on Israel; if they don't shoot, we don't shoot."

The contrast with the same day's Cabinet decision aroused some objections among the government ministers. Foreign Minister Livni, in particular, expressed wonderment in semi-public forums why Hamas would be allowed to choose when to shoot and when not.  On Monday of this week, Olmert said that for Israel to hold its fire, it is enough for Hamas to stop the rocket fire on Israel, but added another condition: "If the rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon stop, and if there is no violence or arms smuggling, then Israel will have no reason to fire back."

A Kassam rocket was fired from Gaza into Ashkelon Tuesday afternoon, causing no damage.  Israel did not respond.

Slomiansky: Gov't Not Asking What's Good for Israel
Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, MK Slomiansky said that the ceasefire understandings are "an unprecedented disgrace... In the past, our security establishment leaders totally negated these types of agreements - because they understood that Hamas and the terrorist leaders want ceasefires only when they are weak and need time to regroup."

"The government finally decided to attack the terrorists," Slomiansky said, "so why are we now allowing them to recover and recharge their batteries? Why don't we just destroy them?... By not liquidating the terrorists, we are becoming a laughing stock all over the world."

Slomiansky had harsh words for Prime Minister Olmert: "His only motivation is political survival.  He has to show Labor that he's negotiating, but for Shas and most of the country he has to show that he's not negotiating.  So he winks and says that there aren't talks, but really there are... Everything stems from his desire to survive politically, and not from what is good for the country. This is the biggest catastrophe: when the leadership acts for personal motivations."