Just hours before Israel assassinated Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari on Tuesday, he received the draft proposal of a permanent truce agreement with Israel. But Israel approved the airstrike anyways, choosing escalation over resolution.
Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit and maintained contacts with Hamas leaders, said the truce agreement included protocols for maintaining a cease-fire in the case of cross-border violence between Israel and Gaza.
Baskin told Haaretz that senior officials in Israel knew about the pending truce agreement, but nevertheless approved the assassination, presumably knowing it would terminate the truce and escalate the conflict with Gaza.
“I think that they have made a strategic mistake,” Baskin said, “which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.” He added that Jabari’s assassination “killed the possibility of achieving a truce.”
“This blood could have been spared. Those who made the decision must be judged by the voters, but to my regret they will get more votes because of this,” he added.
“According to Baskin,” Haaretz reports, “during the past two years Jabari internalized the realization that the rounds of hostilities with Israel were beneficial neither to Hamas nor to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and only caused suffering, and several times he acted to prevent firing by Hamas into Israel.”
Even when Hamas was pulled into participating in rocket fire, its rockets would always land in open spaces. “And that was intentional,” Baskin said.