Sunday, July 06, 2008
Israel Warns Hamas: Ceasefire in Jeopardy
Hana Levi Julian
Israel has warned Hamas that any delay on its part in releasing kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit could undermine the fragile “ceasefire” which began last month.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev was cautious in commenting on the matter, but said Sunday morning that unless the terrorist group fulfilled all the conditions of the understandings worked out with Egypt, the truce would not last."For the calm in the south to prevail, three elements must be fulfulled," Regev said. "Total absence of all hostile fire into Israel, an end to arms smuggling and arms buildup in Gaza, and movement on the issue of freeing Gilad Shalit. Without those three elements, the 'calm' will not succeed," he said.
Divisions over how to deal with the issue of Shalit that have split the Gaza and Damascus-based segments of Hamas are irrelevant to the State of Israel, added Regev. "As far as the government of Israel is concerned, Hamas is one organization," he said. "They are responsible for Gilad Shalit, and the Egyptians are responsible for dealing with Hamas."
On Friday, the terrorist organization announced it would suspend talks about freeing the IDF hostage over Israel’s decision to close the Gaza crossings, which Hamas called a “violation” of the temporary truce.
Israel decided to close the crossings in response to repeated violations of the ceasefire by Gaza terrorists, as an alternative to a military response.
The temporary truce has been repeatedly violated by Gaza terrorists since it went into effect slightly more than two weeks ago, with the latest attacks launched at Israel on Friday.
Five Kassam rockets and four mortars have been fired at Israeli civilians since the ceasefire went into effect on June 19.
Gaza Crossings Reopen Sunday Morning
Despite Israel’s threat and the ongoing violations of the ceasefire, Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorized the reopening of the crossings into Gaza on Sunday.
The Erez Crossing, through which Palestinian Authority Arabs travel into pre-1967 Israel for medical treatment, has in actuality almost never closed, according to Peter Lerner, Defense Ministry Coordinator for government activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
The Nahal Oz fuel terminal reopened for business at 8:00 a.m., as did the Sufa Crossing, through which food staples, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid is delivered into Gaza. .