The supposed 72-hour ceasefire agreed to by Hamas has been breached in a major way by Hamas. As I pick up the news on Twitter, Hamas continues to fire its rockets. A Hamas suicide bomber emerged from a Rafah tunnel and blew himself up on IDF soldiers. Two IDF soldiers were killed in the attack.
And IDF officer Hadar Goldin of the Givati Brigade was kidnapped this morning. His fellow soldiers are hunting house to house for him. Kidnapping a soldier — that’s probably a red line for Israel, a red line of the pre-Obama variety — but we shall see.
The Times of Israel is tracking the events of the day here. Jake Tapper tweets a link to this CNN story that reliably gets it wrong. According to Tapper, the ceasefire “unravels,” which is one way of putting it. Hugh Hewitt lends Tapper a hand (below).
If you have lost the UN: "Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for…the Peace Process, condemned Palestinians breaking the ceasefire."
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) August 1, 2014
The UN is of course a key supporter of Hamas, and good for nothing, but this may be helpful as well, at least for a few minutes.
UN condemns Hamas ceasefire breach, killing of 2 Israeli soldiers and abduction of a third pic.twitter.com/yfXh4TQQZE
— Matthew Kalman (@MatthewKalman) August 1, 2014
Jonathan Schanzer comments on Twitter: “Like the firing of bigger rockets & 1st tunnel attack at the start of this, Hamas is inviting Israel deeper into Gaza and with more forces.” Unfortunately, however, Barack Obama and John Kerry have time on their hands and they remain on Israel’s case.
ONE MORE: Omri Ceren sends this email update:
Around 90 minutes into the ceasefire Hamas launched a suicide attack. Two soldiers were killed and Hamas managed to kidnap a 3rd. The kidnapping will trigger a cascade of diplomatic and geopolitical consequences. The Qataris were reportedly central to crafting the ceasefire, and may have promised to ‘deliver’ Hamas in one sense or another (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.608372). Their credibility will take a hit.
The Egyptians were the official brokers of the ceasefire. They will be seething at Hamas, and diplomatic retribution is almost inevitable. And then there are the analysts who went all-in on Hamas being an actor who can be dealt with, some of whom were implying last night that Israel could have stopped the fighting sooner. They’ll be called on to reevaluate.
But the immediate consequence is that the war is now set to go on for a long time. Gershon Baskin, who has been Israel’s top negotiator on Hamas matters and was a key figure in the talks over kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, tweeted a few minutes ago that “Al Qassam just signed the death sentenced of many Hamas leaders. There will not be another Schalit deal.” (https://twitter.com/gershonbaskin/status/495178935559135233).
The coverage over the next few days is likely to be straightfoward. The Israelis said very openly “we’re really worried about ceasefires, because Hamas has used every single one of them to regroup and attack.” The international community responded “continued fighting is unacceptable, and so there must be a ceasefire.” The Israelis accepted a 72-hour truce. And here we are.