A ceasefire with Hamas is a “grave mistake” and violates the coalition agreement calling for toppling the Hamas government, Foreign Minister and Israel Our Home party leader Avigdor Lieberman said Monday morning.
He demanded that the government implement the clause regarding the toppling of Hamas, but backed off from saying he would force a coalition crisis. His party is the largest partner in the Likud-led coalition, and polls have shown that it would gain Knesset seats if elections were held today.
Despite yesterday's rocket on southern Ashkelon, a Hamas-Israeli ceasefire is developing, whether official or not, and appears to be similar to numerous other truces that have proven to be temporary and sometimes even non-existent.
Hamas fired more than a dozen rocket and mortar shells on Israeli civilians and soldiers Sunday, one of them exploding in the heart of Kibbutz Kfar Aza, whose fields are adjacent to the security fence separating Gaza from the western Negev. Miraculously, no one was injured in the blast.
Lieberman said that any ceasefire must be dependent on a halt to Hamas’s smuggling of weapons, the toppling of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza, and an end to the terrorist organization's war of attrition.
There is almost universal agreement among Israel political and military leaders that Hamas has been playing a game for years and continues to do so:
It occasionally escalates attacks, usually causing more fear than damage, sometimes wounding or killing civilians. The IDF then retaliates in kind, and the violence spirals upwards until Hamas decides “enough is enough.” The routine scenario is that Israel then agrees to a ceasefire, while Hamas smuggles in more weapons from Iran. Both sides know that another and more dangerous round is around the corner.
The extent of Hamas’ weapons stockpile was demonstrated the past several weeks with the firing of the “Kornet” laser-guided anti-tank missile, made in Russia and procured from Iran. Hizbullah used the weapon in the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Israel discovered its arrival in Gaza after Hamas terrorists used it to attack an IDF tank earlier this year, damaging the rear of the tank. The tank crew escaped injury.
Last week, terrorists aimed and fired the same kind of missile at a yellow school bus driving by Kibbutz Saad, critically wounding 16-year-old Daniel Viflic. Moments before the attack, dozens of children got off the bus at nearby Kibbutz Kfar Aza.