- A cease fire was called through negotiations with Egypt, which have continued until this new attack.
- While under attack, Hamas warned Israel that an escalation will be dangerous for Israel.
- Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have assured Egyptian Intelligence officials that they remain committed to the ceasefire.
In the middle of negotiations in Cairo with Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a five year cease fire, three missiles were launched at southern Israel Saturday night. Two of the missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome and one fell in open area. Several people were treated for trauma. A group of students had gathered to watch a basketball tournament at the time of the explosions. They dispersed quickly to find cover from this potential danger.
More than four hundred missiles were shot at Israel from Gaza recently, after Israel targeted one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad for assassination in Gaza. A cease fire was called through negotiations with Egypt, which have continued until this new attack. Naftali Bennett, the new Defense Minister, made a statement warning Hamas and Islamic Jihad that the IDF will not sit quietly and allow these attacks to continue. Israel retaliated, attacking several military locations in Gaza by the air and through artillery. Bennett said whatever Israel will do will be at the right time.
While under attack, Hamas warned Israel that an escalation will be dangerous for Israel. Hamas already made a statement that they have enough rockets to fight a war for several months. On Friday an estimated 4,000 Gazans took part in protests at the Gaza fence. Hundreds of these protesters rioted, throwing explosive devices and rocks at the IDF, defending Israel from the other side of the fence. Twenty-seven Palestinians were injured in these riots. After a three-week interruption, Gazans resumed the “Great March of Return” on Friday. This, it seems, led to them violating the cease fire.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have assured Egyptian Intelligence officials that they remain committed to the ceasefire understandings reached with Israel under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar, and the UN. Egypt, for its part, has promised a series of measures to ease travel and trade restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip. Hamas is firm about preventing Israel from using live ammunition against them while demonstrating at the Gaza border, like what happened on Friday during the riots. Hamas maintains their goal of alleviating the suffering of their people, lifting the blockade, and carrying out humanitarian projects in Gaza. The riots, which occurred on Friday, they claim, were not under their control.
The PIJ and Hamas officials discussed ways of achieving national unity with Egypt, including the plan of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, to hold long-overdue presidential and parliamentary elections. The PIJ has announced that it won’t participate in these elections, while Hamas has welcomed the Abbas initiative, and said it is waiting for Abbas to issue a decree setting a date for the vote.
There are two major factions in control of politics in Gaza, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Relations have become strained after the last episode of fighting prior to the cease fire. Without unity between these two terrorist groups, negotiations for the five year cease fire by Egypt can only be temporary. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas traveled today to Turkey, and is also expected to travel to Malysia, Qatar, Russia, Lebanon and Kuwait.