Since the mainstream media so widely reported that Hamas “violated” the internationally brokered ceasefire in Gaza on Friday, it’s worth hearing in full Hamas’s own explanation about what happened. The following press release comes from Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades and appeared in English on their website yesterday.
Statement Clarifying the Zionist Enemy’s Violation of the Humanitarian Ceasefire, the Claim of the Disappearance of One Soldier, and the Clashes East of Rafah
The Zionist Enemy violated the humanitarian ceasefire yesterday, Friday, 1 August 2014, by moving forces to the East of Rafah, the continued artillery shelling, and the deployment of snipers on many fronts in the Gaza Strip. In addition, Enemy Forces committed a terrible massacre against civilians in Rafah, killing dozens; and the killing of Palestinian civilians continues. The Zionist Enemy claims the disappearance of one soldier. In this regard, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, after conducting an internal review in the relevant circumstances, affirms the following:
1- Zionist Enemy Forces used the talks about a humanitarian ceasefire to advance troops more than two kilometers inside the Gaze Strip to the east of Rafah. Our assessment is that one of our deployed ambushes clashed with the advancing troops. The clash started around 7:00 a.m., before the humanitarian ceasefire. Enemy artillery and air force directed its fire on civilians after 10:00 a.m. in a flagrant violation of the ceasefire, under the pretext of searching for a missing soldier.
2- We lost contact with the troops deployed in the ambush; and assess that these troops were probably killed by enemy bombardment, including the solider said to be missing, presuming that our troops took him prisoner during the clash.
3- Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades has no information till this moment about the missing soldier, his place, or the circumstances of his disappearance.
4- We informed the mediators who participated in arranging the humanitarian ceasefire of our agreement to cease fire against Zionist cities and settlements; and that we cannot operationally cease fire against troops inside the Gaza Strip that conduct operations and move continuously. These Enemy Forces could easily come in contact with our deployed ambushes, which will lead to a clash.
One of several features of the latest turn of events that has received little to no attention in the media, is the fact that Israel claimed it had agreed to a ceasefire yet it also asserted its right to continue its military operations during the ceasefire. A ceasefire that is used to reposition troops, search for tunnels, or pursue other strategic objectives, is not a ceasefire; it is a subterfuge.