Rocket fire on Ashkelon and Ashdod
Rocket fire on Ashkelon and AshdodIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Two Grad missiles hit near the southern port city of Ashdod shortly before the Sabbath Friday afternoon, breaking another in a countless number of ceasefires announced by the de facto Hamas government in Gaza.

In response, the Israel Air Force bombed two terrorist sites in northern Gaza on Friday night. The army reported direct hits.

No one was injured and no property damage was reported after the Hamas rocket attack. It put an end to an unofficial truce that lasted only a couple of days. Hamas had said it would not fire on Israelis if the IDF did not strike terrorists, even those who are “ticking bombs” and preparing to launch rockets.

The IDF had held its fire but also said it would not allow Hamas to use the unofficial truce as a cover for terrorist preparing to strike. Israel in the past has swiftly retaliated for almost every missile attack since several weeks after the Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign two years ago.

The explosions near Ashdod represent a further escalation in terms of encroaching on Israel’s urban centers. The port is located on the southern tip of the major highway that reaches metropolitan Tel Aviv. It is north of Ashkelon and is out of range of most Kassam rockets.

The following useful summary, for use when Hamas is said to offer a "cease fire", was written by David Bedein, Director of the Israel Resource News Agency and Attorney Beryl Dean. 

When a Cease-Fire is Not a Cease-Fire

As journalists cover complex Middle East negotiations, news outlets often characterize lulls in hostilities as an armistice or a cease-fire, reminiscent in the western mind to the end of hostilities in World War I, which terminated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the eleventh month on Nov. 11 1918, paving the way to the Versailles peace treaty and the genesis of the League of Nations.

However, the western media often ignore the nuanced Arabic words: which connote a message that has nothing to do with cessation of hostilities:

• hudna - a tactical pause intended only for rearmament
• tahida - a temporary halt in hostile activity which can be violated at any time
• hudaybiyyah - there will be no fighting for 10 years named after the “treaty of Hudaybiyyah” in 628 AD
• sulch - a total cessation of hostile activity.

The reality is that hudna, tahida and the hudaybiyyah offered by the PLO and Hamas do not compare to the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Egypt signed with Israel in 1979, or the mu’ahada treaty of peace that Jordan signed with Israel in 1994.