Did anyone else notice that the 'ceasefire' in Gaza sort of came out of the blue? Pundits put this down to 'war weariness' on both sides, but the precise timeline of events leading up to the ceasefire has me a little perplexed.

On Monday, 18th August, a 72-hour ceasefire was declared as part of the talks in Cairo. The following day, Tuesday, the Israeli delegation left at 4 pm, precisely the time when the IDF would later say that Hamas had fired rockets at Beersheba, thereby "breaking the ceasefire".

Israel used the opportunity to attack the house of the al-Dalou family where alleged Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif was believed to be. Deif, who is said to be partially paralyzed and wheel-chair bound (as a result of 5 previous attempts on his life by Israel), apparently wasn't there, or so Hamas claim (although Israel claims he was), so only his wife, his 3-year-old daughter Sara and baby son were murdered when the IDF dropped five 1-ton bombs on the building. Two days later, on Thursday, the IDF claimed that they had killed three Hamas officials in a multiple missile strike in Rafah in Southern Gaza.

Hamas was clearly rattled. The next day, Friday 22nd, Hamas executed 18 individuals that they claimed were "Israeli collaborators" and a 'rocket' landed in a Kibbutz on the Gaza border, killing four-year-old Daniel Tregerman, the first and only Israeli child casualty. The collaborators were reportedly executed for "following and monitoring leaderships, finding targets to hit the resistance - such as rocket launching pads and tunnels - monitoring the movements of leaders, delivering information on resistance members who have been targeted, providing detailed descriptions of the houses of a number of resistance members that have been destroyed during the war, determining civil and military sites and targets through GPS devices, collecting phone numbers of resistance members and getting devices and equipment from Israel for spying purposes."

In 2013, Al-Monitor's Adnan Abu Amer wrote:
"No official statistics from Palestine or Israel have been issued, nor have any exact numbers been provided. Some estimates say there could be fewer than 10,000 "undercover agents [in Gaza]."
The connection between the breaking of the ceasefire, the killing of Hamas officials and the execution of collaborators is clear. But what is most interesting is the fact that Hamas appears to have had no intention of breaking the ceasefire at that time, had not ordered the firing of rockets, and were unaware that any were about to be fired. On the other hand, the Israelis were expecting the ceasefire to be broken by 'Hamas rocket fire', at a very precise time, which allowed them to be confident that Deif would be in the house and vulnerable because he was not expecting an attack during a ceasefire, which he had no reason to believe would be broken. But someone did fire rockets just a short time before the Israeli attack on the Deif house and it's likely that that same 'someone' also gave Israel the precise location of the house where Deif was believed to be (and may well have been).

In a Haaretz article on August 20th, senior correspondent and columnist Amir Oren made some cryptic but very interesting remarks about the targeting of Deif:
It doesn't matter if Hamas fired the rockets that hit the Negev Tuesday evening, or knew who fired them [...] if Hamas' version of the sequence of events is true, it seems that Israel was hoping to seize a rare opportunity to strike Deif [...] [Israel] needed only two conditions: the breaking of the ceasefire by Palestinians which would give Israel the pretext to attack [...] and the involvement of other groups, aside from Hamas, in the fire.
Oren goes on to say:
In the past, more than 30 years ago, there were Israeli military and diplomatic officials who were not averse to staging an incident in order to have an excuse to respond to it, with a pre-planned operation.
With his reference to "staging an incident" in relation to Hamas 'breaking the ceasefire', Oren appears to be suggesting that the 'Hamas rocket fire' that 'broke the ceasefire' last week was a 'staged incident' in order to justify the pre-planned operation to target Deif when he least expected it. Oren's suggestion was echoed, in a more direct way, by former Israeli attorney general under both Rabin and Netanyahu, Michael Ben Yair, when he posted the following on his Facebook page:
There is no ceasefire [agreement]. There are only renewed acts of hatred. Who's at fault? Good question - Hamas which wants a deal more or Israel which faked a violation in order to assassinate Mohammed Deif.
Again we see a direct reference by a respected Israeli to Israel 'staging a provocation'. Over the past seven weeks, the only 'provocations' cited by Israel as justification for its continued bombardment of Gaza were 'Hamas rockets'. It makes you wonder about those alleged 10,000 Israeli collaborators inside Palestine and if the activities of some of them involve more than merely snitching to Israel on the location of Palestinians and tagging Palestinian homes with high-tech 'beacons'.

Amir Oren's comment that "more than 30 years ago, there were Israeli military and diplomatic officials who were not averse to staging an incident" is also interesting in that it places the idea of what is essentially Israeli 'false flag' operations in a long-term historical context.

Not exactly high-tech
'More than 30 years ago' was the early 1980s and there are several "terror attacks" against Israel or involving Israel that might fit the bill. For example, the car bombing of the Israel military headquarters in then occupied Tyre, Lebanon, in November 1982 during Israel's first Lebanon war, an attack that the Israeli government has, ever since, insisted was a "gas cylinder explosion". There was also the June 1982 attempted assassination by members of the Abu Nidal gang of then Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov, that was used by Israel as justification for the aforementioned 1982 Lebanon war. Abu Nidal is widely believed to have been an Israeli agent, a psychopathic 'hired gun' who could be relied on to carry out attacks against both Israeli and Western targets and members of other Palestinian groups in order to undermine and discredit the Palestinian cause.

Just for the record, the true Palestinian cause, like all other true Arab (etc.) liberation movements of the 20th century, is based on resistance to Western imperialism and the promotion of progressive secularism. This was the ideological basis for all genuine and popular Arab political groups in the 1950s and '60s. Since then however, Western imperialists and the state of Israel have consistently sought to prevent the emergence of Arab democracies and, instead, promoted the most reactionary and extremist elements. As a result, they have successfully replaced the original, normal human ideals with the bastardized, grotesque image and 'ideals' of the modern "Muslim terrorist" which is nothing more than the projection onto Arabs of the inner nature of the Western and Israeli psychopathic elite. ISIS/IS is the culmination of this long term projection process and is the literal brainchild of Washington and Tel Aviv.

Getting back to our timeline; the day after the attack on Deif, a Hamas official living in Turkey, Saleh al-Arouri, made the surprising claim that Hamas was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June, the event that was initially used by Israel to kick start the attack on Gaza, an event which, as I have explained, bears all the hallmarks of the work of agents of the state of Israel itself. Strangely, Arouri added that Hamas in Gaza "did not have the intention at this time to ignite a large battle", in which case, we have to wonder who did have the intention to force a large battle on Hamas in Gaza? Hamas in Gaza has consistently denied that they knew anything about the murder of the teens, and the Israelis apparently believe them. Nevertheless, Arouri's 'admission' was responded to by Israel with the murder of three Hamas officials in a house in Rafah in the south of Gaza the next day.
The destroyed home of the Kallab family, where three Hamas officials were assassinated by Israel, in Rafah, Aug. 21
The following day, Friday 22nd, Daniel Tregerman, a 4-year-old Israeli boy was killed when a 'rocket' hit a Kibbutz near the Gaza border. Three more days of sporadic 'rocket fire' and Israeli missile strikes on Gaza ensued before a sudden permanent ceasefire was announced on Tuesday 26th. This was certainly a strange time for the Israelis to 'give in'; after all, their rationale for the bombardment of Gaza was to 'prevent rocket fire into Israel' and yet, within a few days of the very first child casualty from that same rocket fire, they call an end to the punitive campaign?

Up to that point, just three people had been killed by rocket fire from Gaza, a rabbi, a bedouin and a Thai worker, so from the Israeli point of view, before the death of the 4-year-old, just one Israeli Jew had been killed by rocket fire. My point being, if the aim of Operation Protective Edge was to 'stop rocket fire' and protect the lives of Israelis, then the job was certainly not complete; in fact, given that the death of a child is generally viewed as more egregious than that of an adult, the death of Daniel Tregerman put the entire operation back to 'square one'. Yet a definitive ceasefire was agreed just 4 days later.

By most accounts, Hamas emerged the 'victor', receiving two of its four demands (relating to the lifting of the economic blockade of Gaza) and the other two (an airport and seaport for Gaza) to be discussed in one month's time. For its part, Israel reduced Gaza's 1.8 million population by about 2,000, killed a few Hamas officials, and secured the status quo, the status quo being more or less the situation before the 7-week bombardment of Gaza. As I have mentioned previously, Israel's real goal in launching operation Protective Edge was to stall the establishment of a Fatah/Hamas unity government and facilitate the continued expropriation of Palestinian land. Today, Israel announced the biggest annexation of West Bank land in 30 years. With the swipe of a pen, 400 hectares of Palestine became part of Israel. The justification? The killing of the three teens in June.

The false image of Palestinians as 'terrorists' who want to 'destroy Israel' is promoted by Israel as a bulwark against the emergence of a genuine movement for Palestinian rights that can be accepted internationally. To perpetuate the idea that Paestinian = terrorist, Israel has to launch periodic 'anti-terrorist' operations against the Palestinian people. When such operations are politically expedient, Israel manufactures a 'provocation' to justify the operation. On this occasion, the provocation was the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens by agents of the state of Israel. While the operation was ongoing, provocations in the form of rockets fired by agents of the state of Israel inside Gaza were used.