Dozens of rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel during a new outbreak of fighting this week. Also, in a new twist, Hamas has taken responsibility for the attacks, rather than merely passively permitting other groups such as Islamic Jihad to launch rockets from its territory – a policy that had been in place for the past year.
News reports said at least one of the rockets fired had been a medium-range Grad, which struck close to Beersheba.
Nine border policemen were injured when a rocket struck nearby them in the vicinity of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.
The Israel Defence Forces have responded with air strikes on military targets in Gaza.
Hamas’ rocket barrage followed a terror attack on Monday that killed an Israeli-Arab from Haifa who had been working on Israel’s new security fence along the Sinai border.
An Islamic group calling themselves the Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem took credit for that attack. The group dedicated the attack to Osama bin-Laden, Palestinian prisoners and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hamas’ return to violence has caught the attention of analysts. At Commentary‘s website, Jonathan Tobin said the rockets prove Hamas hasn’t changed.
It’s not clear whether the proximate cause of the attacks was a desire to make a point about events in Egypt, where the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood – the group that spawned Hamas – won the presidency. Another possible theory is that it is related to internal Palestinian politics and reflects the justified concern on the part of Hamas that it is losing popularity because of the relative paucity of its attacks on Jewish targets in the last year.
But either way, the Kassam rockets, Grad missiles and mortar shells landing on Israeli buildings and fields are just the latest proof that the independent state that exists in all but name in Gaza is an armed camp whose main purpose is to continue the war on Israel’s existence. The idea that Gaza’s rulers should be trusted to join the government of the West Bank and then be granted the freedom to carry on their war on the Jews there is one that most Israelis regard as nothing short of insanity-even if it is what most of the international community ardently desires. Israel’s leaders will decide the nature and the timing of a response to the escalation. But the rockets are a reminder that the claims Hamas has reformed itself or that Israel need not fear the military buildup going on in Gaza are myths aimed at undermining the security of the Jewish state.