Israel is acting in Gaza in self-defense to hostilities initiated - and prolonged -by Hamas. In clear violation of international law, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza have fired thousands of rockets, indiscriminate weapons that target Israeli civilians. Tunnels dug from Gaza have been used to carry out terror attacks inside Israeli territory.
Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Israel has respected numerous ceasefires. Most of these were humanitarian lulls for the benefit of the residents of Gaza.
Hamas, on the other hand, has violated all the ceasefires. Even a humanitarian lull initiated by Hamas was promptly violated by the terrorists themselves.
Hamas also violated the 15 July ceasefire initiated by Egypt, supported by most of the international community, including the Arab League and accepted by Israel. Had Hamas respected this ceasefire, Israel would not have had to start its ground operation and much loss of life on both sides would have been avoided.
Following is a chronology of Hamas' violations of the ceasefires:
· 15 July: Israel accepted the ceasefire initiated by Egypt and stopped all fire at 09:00. However, terrorists fired more than 50 rockets at Israeli communities. Only after six hours of continuous rocket attacks did the IDF respond.
· 17 July: Israel agreed to a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire. The terrorist organizations rejected it and fired rockets, including at the city of Be'er-Sheva.
· 20 July: Israel approved a two-hour medical/humanitarian window in the area of Shejaiya, following an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) request. Forty minutes after the ceasefire began, Hamas violated it. Nevertheless, Israel implemented the ceasefire, even extending it for two more hours.
· 26-27 July: Israel respected an UN-requested humanitarian ceasefire from 08:00-20:00 on Saturday, 26 July. Israel announced its readiness to prolong the ceasefire until midnight, but a few minutes after 20:00, Hamas renewed firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
On the same day (26 July), Hamas announced a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire, at 14:00. Hamas violated its own ceasefire a short time later.
Despite Hamas’ continuous fire, Israel decided to extend the humanitarian ceasefire a second time, from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
· 28 July: Israel accepted Hamas' request for a ceasefire in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The IDF was instructed to cease military attacks, but Hamas continued to launch rockets at Israel.
· 30 July: Israel announced a temporary humanitarian ceasefire between 15:00-19:00. A few minutes after the ceasefire began Hamas fired rockets at the southern cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, as well as other Israeli communities.