Gershon Baskin confirms that the Hamas military leader, Ahmed Jabari, at the time he was killed, was in the final stages of negotiating a long-term ceasefire with Israel and that Israel has tried every military option to crush the capacity and will of Gaza to engage in violent resistance.
In the present report, while noting the continuing non-cooperation of Israel, the Special Rapporteur addresses Israel’s Operation “Pillar of Defense” and the general human rights situation in the Gaza Strip, as well as the expansion of Israeli settlements – and businesses that profit from Israeli settlements and the situation of Palestinians detained by Israel.
The most sustained use of force since Operation “Cast Lead” occurred when Israel launched Operation “Pillar of Defense,” on 14 November 2012 that continued for eight days. The timeline of violence leading up to the attack is complex, with no clear cause and effect relationship. There were incidents of border violence and rocket fire in the days before, yet there is widespread agreement that the definitive moment occurred when the Hamas military leader, Ahmed Jabari, was assassinated in a targeted killing. It was a safe assumption that the assassination of such a high value target would occasion a strong retaliation from Gaza.
This was confirmed by widely-respected Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who confirmed that Jabari, at the time he was killed, was in the final stages of negotiating a long-term ceasefire with Israel. In a New York Times article published during Pillar of Defense, Baskin points out that Israel has tried every military option to crush the capacity and will of Gaza to engage in violent resistance. In his words, “The only thing it has not tried and tested is reaching an agreement for a long-term mutual ceasefire.” As Baskin points out, Jabari had long been in Israeli crosshairs and was known to have masterminded the capture and detention of the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Jabari was the leader who had kept Schalit alive and in good health while in captivity for several years, and had prevented rogue militias in Gaza from engaging in violence against Israel. He had also acted to uphold prior ceasefires that had stemmed the level of violence on the Gazan border in recent years, which directly contributed to keeping Israeli casualties at zero since “Cast Lead.”