Weekly Commentary: Hasbara dropping the ball - the illegal rockets
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 1 May 2014
Mahmoud Abbas says the unified PA will honor its commitments.
And the phrase "honor its commitments" appears in pretty much every
statement made by every international figure talking about a unified PA.
But this phrase has been left bereft of meaning.
At most there is a reference to an expectation for quiet.
Let's be clear about this:
The PA is absolutely and unquestionably committed to the absence of rockets
in the Gaza Strip.
Here is the text of one such signed commitment:
Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Washington, D.C., September 28, 1995
CHAPTER 2 ARTICLE XIV 4. Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment of
the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, and those of the Israeli
military forces, no organization, group or individual in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import or
otherwise introduce into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any firearms,
ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless
otherwise provided for in Annex I.
And here is the Annex - rockets are not in the list:
THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN INTERIM AGREEMENT ON THE WEST BANK AND THE GAZA
Annex I ARTICLE IV 5. c. In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Police will
possess the following arms and equipment:
(1) 7,000 light personal weapons;
(2) up to 120 machine guns of 0.3" or 0.5" caliber; and
(3) up to 45 wheeled armored vehicles of a type to be agreed on between the
two sides, and of which 22 will be deployed in protecting Council
So anyone who can read a few sentences can see that the commitment is that
rockets are not in Gaza.
Again: the commitment is not that rockets aren't FIRED from Gaza. It is
that rockets do not EXIST in Gaza.
"Quiet for quiet" might be an appropriate policy and goal in a stand-off
with Hamas. But it is not what should be expected from the PA.
This is not just a question of trying to gain points in public opinion.
The "quiet for quiet" policy is a cancer that started in the 70's when we
accepted the gross Egyptian violation of an American brokered cease-fire
with the movement of SAM missiles to the Suez Canal. The same SAM's that
played such a deadly role in facilitating the Egyptian crossing of the Suez
Canal a few years later in the bloody 1973 Yom Kippur War.
"Quiet for quiet" allowed a monstrous threat to build up in South Lebanon
and again in the Gaza Strip.
And if we indicate that we accept the continuation of the "quiet for quiet"
policy even when the Gaza Strip is ostensibly part of a unified PA then
inevitably the "quiet for quiet" cancer will make its way to the West Bank.
The commitment not to have rockets in the Gaza Strip is not some obscure,
arcane and insignificant commitment.
It's a core commitment.
And it is high time that Israeli officials make this crystal clear.
"Quiet for quiet" is not enough for the PA.
If the PA controls the Gaza Strip then the rockets must go.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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