Hamas Reiterates Call for Mutual Ceasefire With Israel

Israeli FM Condemns Comments as Smaller Factions Fire Rockets

by Jason Ditz, December 24, 2010

Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and shootings on civilians across the border have continued apace, as smaller Gaza militant factions like Ansar al-Sunna have escalated the number of rockets being fired into southern Israel.

Hamas, however, insists they want no part of what looks like another escalation in the lead-up to an inevitable Israeli invasion, reiterating their commitment to an offered ceasefire with the Israeli government and disavowing the groups still firing rockets from the strip.

Israel’s bellicose foreign ministry, of course, condemned the offer, saying Hamas was entirely to blame for the escalation and needed to stop the rocket fire for there to be any de-escalation. Hamas’ ability to stop the smaller factions is in significant doubt, though they have openly clashed with Ansar al-Sunna and others on occasion.

Indeed, it seems to be in no small part because Hamas is trying to curb attacks on Israel that a number of the smaller, more militant factions are building credibility in the besieged strip. Hamas’ struggle with al-Qaeda inspired groups seems to be going poorly in recent months, and as Israel looks to weak Hamas further with its blockade it seems the group may soon seem a pleasantly moderate memory by comparison.

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