By the numbers
So I have compiled some statistics, (entirely from Israeli sources by the way – from the right info on rocket/mortar fire from The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, and from the left info on Israeli and Palestinian casualties from B’Tselem). A claim has been made that the rocket attacks never stopped, therefore Israelis can’t trust Hamas. Of course that narrative simply assumes that Palestinians started things, that Palestinians are apparently occupying the Israelis and not vice versa, that Palestinians have a starvation siege on over a million Israelis and not vice versa. Whatever, that blatantly erroneous assumption aside, let’s look at some numbers.
Ok, see the chart and table below. I’ve excluded the deaths from December on both sides from the first chart, but the second below it shows them with scales adjusted to keep proportionality the same (those deaths skew the chart and hide the story of the end of the ceasefire because Israel has murdered so many people in such a short timeframe). Notice a few key points:
- Israeli deaths are miniscule, they barely even show on the chart. Forget traffic accidents, more Israelis probably die in knitting accidents. Which is not to say every life isn't precious (every life *is* precious), but Palestinian deaths overwhelm the chart and Israelis and Americans treat them as nothing but sheep to be slaughtered and ignored, their hundreds of deaths simply don't count when put up against a single Israeli death. There is not any proportionality, even before accounting for the starvation siege of 1.5 million Palestinian civilians.
- Regarding the claim that rocketfire never stopped: Given the densely populated chaos that is Gaza, statistically speaking they were all but zero and the chart clearly shows it. As the chart clearly shows once Hamas said it would enforce the ceasefire, it did. One also needs to remember that of the tiny handful that were fired, virtually all were either launched by non-Hamas factions (whom Hamas still managed to work into a near total ceasefire by persuasion and coercion) and/or in response to an Israeli murder of a Palestinian first. The result: Israeli deaths went to zero for four straight months (and only 1 in all 6 months of the ceasefire). But critically, from July onwards the Israelis murdered 27 Palestinians. And that is *only* counting those directly killed by Israeli weaponry, it ignores those who died because of the starvation siege, preventing medical care, blocking medicines, etc which would take that number of Palestinians murdered by Israel up during the ceasefire substantially. So it is very clear: Hamas overwhelmingly lived up to its terms of the ceasefire, exercising all its powers to enforce no rocket/mortar fire, they were (by the numbers) 98% effective in doing so, if we compare total rocket/mortar launches in 3Q 2008 to those in 1Q 2008. Israeli killings of Palestinians went down 97% as well, while Palestinian killings of Israelis went down 100%. But there were 2 sets of terms to the ceasefire – stopping the fire from both sides which through October largely occurred, and Israel stopping the starvation siege. Israel *deliberately* broke that stipulation. Both sides mostly lived up to their military obligations, but then Israel went on and purposely starved and denied medical care and fuel to 1.5 million civilians. In such a situation, it is quite clear, Israel broke the ceasefire by targeting civilians, even Hamas lived up to their end of it in spite of that broken pledge.
- Regarding the end of the ceasefire: the November numbers are key. Yes Gaza rocketfire went up, but *only* in response to Israeli ratcheting up of murders of Palestinians. The timing is not coincidental, the Israelis were publicly announcing in the press that they were preparing for a fight and they deliberately began assaulting Palestinians again. Each time they claimed it was “only a limited operation” basically claiming they had a right to unilaterally break the ceasefire and the Palestinians had no right to respond. Hamas insisted the terms applied both ways (even though they continued to largely let Israel get away with the starvation siege still at that point), and only increased rocketfire in November in response to Israel’s killings. Then in December as the ceasefire expired and Israel continued its starvation siege, Hamas made it clear they remained open to a ceasefire, but only on terms of ending the starvation of 1.5 million civilians. Israel refused, and Hamas declared the ceasefire over. Israel had (and still has) the choice to renew the ceasefire, but they refuse to accept the terms of stopping the starvation of 1.5 million civilians, and are instead deliberately, willfully, and with full control of the power imbalance are choosing to kill and bomb instead of accept the fair Palestinian terms for a ceasefire. Israel is the overwhelmingly responsible party.
Those are the numbers and the story behind them.
[UPDATE: Raphael in the comments section mentioned he'd like to see the source of these stats linked to directly, so I added those at the start of the post.]