Despite accepting the five-day extension to the current ceasefire, Hamas released a new video showing that instead of working on a reconstruction plan for Gaza, it is making more of the M-75 rockets it uses for attacking large Israeli cities.
Based on technology acquired from Iran, Hamas has already fired dozens of the M-75 rocket that can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, with enough explosives in its warhead to destroy a small building. The video posted to the Hamas Al-Quds television station’s YouTube channel (a clip is embedded below) shows uniformed Hamas soldiers fastening warheads to the rocket bodies, painting them and adding the M-75 label like that on a rocket that was intercepted south of Jerusalem last week.
With the international community paralyzed from taking legal action against it, Hamas openly boasts that it fires its rockets at civilian targets in direct violation of international laws. Before the previous ceasefire went into effect, the Hamas Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigade tweeted:
Yesterday 11.55pm, Al-Qassam fired a rocket at ‘Tel Aviv'; 3 Grads at ‘Kiryat Malachi'; a rocket at ‘Sidi Tamman'; 4 rockets at ‘Kfar Azza’.
In a CBS news interview, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal gave some insight as to why Hamas was showing off its weapons manufacturing capabilities rather than working on a peace plan. Building on the Hamas motto of “Jihad – victory or martyrdom,” Mashaal said “every single Palestinians can die for the next generations to live in peace and freedom.”
Hamas wants to end the current ceasefire with an agreement to open the Gaza borders under the guise of reconstruction to repair damage from Operation Protective Edge, but which would give it the ability to re-arm with more rockets and also rebuild its network of attack tunnels.
Former American peace negotiator Dennis Ross, intimately familiar with the issues facing Gaza said:
“At times, I argued with Israeli leaders and security officials, telling them they needed to allow more construction materials, including cement, into Gaza so that housing, schools and basic infrastructure could be built. They countered that Hamas would misuse it, and they were right. Developing Gaza — fostering a future for its people and protecting them — was not Hamas’s goal.”
“Some argue that Israel withdrew but imposed a siege on Gaza. In reality, Hamas produced the siege. Israel’s tight embargo on Gaza came only after ongoing Hamas attacks.”