Yesterday's night was the quietest night in Gaza Strip and southern Israel for the last three weeks, since the most recent escalation between Israel and Hamas reached its peak.
Today is the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, and some would say that this joint timing of a becoming cease fire has a lot to do with the holiday.
Not that there is much to celebrate, considering the fact that the causes for this last escalation have not been tackled, and the negotiations about this forming cease-fire are expected to be tedious and difficult.
But this quiet is an opportunity to talk about an issue some people claimed were the reason for this escalation: the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas operatives. NY Magazine made two claims:
1) The Israeli campaign for the tracking of the 3 teens escalated into the current Israeli campaign in Gaza
2) Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens
The first claim is highly problematic even though many news sources around the world choose to tell it that way. Israel has agree to a cease fire before any ground operation began, but Hamas kept shooting a barrage of missiles. It was Hamas that chose to start shooting a large volume of missiles from Gaza during Israel's searches of the 3 boys in thye area of Judea and Samaria, and kept doing so until Israel has responded with numerous attacks of her own, and yet, in retrospect, Hamas could have contained the conflict and prevent significant bloodshed, had they accepted the cease fire as Israel did on the 15/7. Hamas did not, and two days later, on 17/7, the second stage of the escalation, with the IDF operating on the ground inside the Gaza strip, began.
The second claim is plainly false.
The suspects in the terror act of kidnap and murder are known, but they have not been caught, yet. How can anyone blame Hamas then? because they were known Hamas operatives. And yet, NY Magazine, following a buzzfeed story by Sheera Frenkel, decided so. But that original story tells something completely different:
"Gershon Baskin, who ran a secret backchannel between Hamas and Israel during the negotiations for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, said he doubted if anyone in Hamas’s senior political or military leadership had any prior knowledge of the attack. Similarly to Shalit, he said it was more likely that local militants saw an opportunity and acted, and would only later inform more senior leadership.
“On day six after the abduction of Shalit, I arranged for a phone call to take place between Noam Shalit and Ismael Haniyeh,” Baskin said. “Later in the day, Haniyeh refused to be in the phone call because he said ‘the leadership didn’t decide on the operation and he, as the political wing, wanted to distance himself from it.’ This could be the same case where the initiative and the operation was done on the local level, with al Qassam or without it, and then created facts that Hamas will have to deal with.”
Meaning: Hamas works in isolated cells. That is the way the organization is constructed in the area of Judea and Samria. Those cells do not share every details of their activity with the leadership, but only follow the grand strategy outlined by the leadership. Only when a success (in terrorists terms) is achieved, is the leadership brought in.
Can that base an claim that Hamas was not involved? Not at all. Anyone making such a conclusion only demonstrates complete lack of understanding how sophisticated terror and guerrilla movements work.
But you have to wonder - do they seriously think that Hamas did not kidnap Gilad Shalit ? How can you talk of an identical modus-operandi while knowing that in one case it was a full-colors Hamas operation, and then claim that in another case this has other meanings?
What is it that they wished to achieve with such baseless claims? What was their objective in ? Let us remember - this story was run on July 25th. That is no coincidence. In the media-warfare against Israel all is fair.