An article yesterday (June 30) in the New York Times included this update on the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza: "The deal, mediated by Egypt, has been violated by dissident Palestinian groups that have fired rockets or mortar shells at Israel." (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/world/middleeast/30mideast.html)
The following news item gives an account of other violations, most of which came from Israel and most of which preceded the rocket attack on Sderot on June 24th.
UN: Israel violated truce 7 times in one week
By: Roi Mandel
27 June 2008
Since it went into effect last week, at least eight violations of the new ceasefire agreement with Hamas and the Palestinian factions have been recorded, a UN source told Ynet on Thursday [June 26th]. According to the source, seven violations were committed by the IDF, while the Palestinians are responsible for just one.
However the UN report does not include the Qassam fire launched towards the Negev during the day. 'It is important that both sides honor the ceasefire, in order for it to be the first constructive step towards a wider and more extensive peace process between the sides,' the source said.
Most of the offences committed by the IDF include shots fired by soldiers at Palestinian farmers attempting to reach their land near the border security fence. According to the UN, on June 20 an IDF patrol shot at Palestinian farmers near the fence east of Rafah. The soldiers fired for ten minutes in order to drive the farmers away, but no injuries were reported.
During the evening of the same day a similar incident was recorded, in which IDF forces shot at Palestinian farmers near the Maghazi refugee camp. Soldiers reportedly fired for five minutes, and no injuries were reported. An hour later soldiers fired towards fisherman near the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya in an attempt to drive them away.
Early on June 21 Navy forces opened fire in the same area, and later the same morning forces fired towards Palestinians near the Maghazi refugee camp. No injuries were reported in either case.
70-year old Jamil al-Gahoul was injured from IDF fire two days later, when an army patrol opened fire on a group of Palestinians reportedly gathering wood near Beit Lahiya at 7 am.
The first violation committed by the Palestinians was recorded a day later, on June 24, when Islamic Jihad fired three rockets at Sderot from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun.
On Wednesday morning IDF forces opened fire towards Palestinian farmers near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. An 82-year old man was seriously injured from the fire, which lasted a few minutes.
Regarding the accusations against Israel the IDF stated that no attacks had been carried out in the Gaza Strip during the past few days, but that some incidents had occurred in which IDF soldiers had carried out operations.
Israel and Hamas have accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement. Following the rocket fire at Sderot, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the fire constitutes a blatant violation of the truce. Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided that the Gaza border crossings would remain closed following the fire, causing Hamas to accuse Israel of infringement of the agreement.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report
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Sarah Anne Minkin
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