Several alert Goldblog readers have written to tell me that I allowed J Street's Jeremy Ben-Ami, in our interview Friday, to get away with an inaccurate assertion about last year's cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Ben-Ami, in arguing for the efficacy of cease-fires over armed incursions, said that during the four-and-a-half month cease-fire, "zero rockets" were fired into Israel. According to a government source, however, the Israel Defense Forces counted 360 rockets; Time Magazine said the number was 65, and the New York Times reported that "10 to 20 were fired in July, depending
on who was counting and whether mortar rounds were included. In August, 10 to
30 were fired, and in September, 5 to 10." Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs cites this report that claims that 362 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel from Gaza into Israel during what the report calls the "lull" in the fighting. I think it's fair to say that, though the numbers of rocket and mortar attacks dropped off dramatically during the ceasefire, there were, indeed, attacks. I'm looking for more sources (please feel free to send in citations) and I asked Ben-Ami for clarification. He e-mailed me the following:
On the rocket issue, I looked up the numbers. There were 12 rockets total in July, August, September and October, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry (MFA) graph captured here. Here's the graph on Wikipedia combining rockets and mortars: Note that the original graph is gone from the MFA website and there is a conspicuous end to their monthly reporting on rocket fire in June 2008. I'd urge your readers to read the post linked above to see how the MFA redid the graph so you couldn't see the drop off in rocket fire during the ceasefire - and they could make the claim it hadn't work. Fast forward to the present. There have been I believe 250-300 rockets since the invasion which is an average of 25-30/month. I stand by the point that I made, which is that there are two ways to accomplish the goal here, which is obviously to stop the rockets and provide security to the residents of southern Israel. And talking/working out a ceasefire can be a less costly and more effective way to achieve our goals.