Who ends ceasefires, Israel or Hamas?

Some interesting research from a group at MIT, led by Nancy Kanwisher, Nancy the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT.  The team plots out and graphs who it is that breaks the peace when there has been a lull in killing between Israel and Palestine.  A quote:

We decided to tally the data to find out. We analyzed the entire timeline of killings of Palestinians by Israelis, and killings of Israelis by Palestinians, in the Second Intifada, based on the data from the widely-respected Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem (including all the data from September 2000 to October 2008).

The answer?

Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.

The lessons from these data are clear:

First, Hamas can indeed control the rockets, when it is in their interest. The data shows that ceasefires can work, reducing the violence to nearly zero for months at a time.

Second, if Israel wants to reduce rocket fire from Gaza, it should cherish and preserve the peace when it starts to break out, not be the first to kill.

Check out the original argument for the graphs.  Also, check out this discouraging news report that makes it look like Bush is Olmert’s marionette, with Israel pulling the strings of American foreign policy…

One Response to Who ends ceasefires, Israel or Hamas?

  1. Mark T. Market says:

    The absence of war isn’t peace. That a conflict has gone on for ages means that fundamental issues have not been settled.

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