Gaza Palestinians violated their own ceasefire Saturday night, June 2, after just three days, making naught of Israel’s claim of deterrence.
For the latest round in their three-month offensive, the Palestinians Saturday night switched to a more frugal method: instead of letting dozens of single rockets loose across a wide swathe of southern Israel, they launched small volleys at their unfortunate neighbors. They calculated they could traumatize Israel unendurably no less than they did by last week’s massive rocket barrage, while economizing on rockets and laying in stocks for the long haul. And so on Saturday night, twin-rocket salvos hit Sderot, the Eshkol district, the Hof Ashkelon council and Shear Hanegev, sparking loud red warning sirens across the region up to Lachish. Iron Dome downed four.
Israel’s retaliation was immediate: air strikes against 10 Hamas military targets in the first round, followed by another five after dawn Sunday – most hitting factories turning out or storing weapons and ordnance and the Hamas naval compound on the Gaza shore. No casualties were reported by the Palestinians.
Only two days ago, after the Palestinians declared a ceasefire following Egyptian mediation, high-placed Israeli officials were saying “It will take them time to repair the fundamental damage we caused their military infrastructure,” and from the government: Israel will meet non-violence in kind. A senior IDF officer in a briefing to reporters explained that it was decided at the highest level to cut the Gaza operation short so as not to detract from the principal focus against Iran in the north.
In no time, this posture was proved untenable by two unpleasant doses of reality:
- The highest Israeli level, both government and military, is not in control of initiatives for Gaza flare-ups or ceasefires. Those decisions are in the hands of the chiefs of the Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the smaller fry – and their patrons.
- If the IDF shies from fighting an enemy on two fronts, how will it manage if the potential of conflagrations on three fronts materializes?
- The Palestinian “ceasefire” applied only to rocket and mortar fire. The violent assaults on the border fence, the rocks and bottle bombs hurled at soldiers, and the flaming kites consuming thousands of dunams of Israel farmland and nature reserves continued without pause.
DEBKAfile reported last Tuesday, May 29, when Palestinian rockets and mortars were flying hour after hour: “For now, they see no reason to change their mode of operation.” This still holds true. We also reported that the Palestinian wholesale terror campaign is the brainchild of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades and the Lebanese Hizballah. That too is still true and so it continues to go forward in well-calculated, professional stages. Since Palestinian terrorist groups were always better at propaganda than Israel, they have the edge in the international arena. They strike an especially strong chord in the circles opposed to the anti-Iran strategy conducted by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Those circles cheer the Palestinians on as the flames rise over the Israeli communities next door to the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s leaders have not come up with the right deterrence for halting the wave of Palestinian terror emanating from the Gaza Strip. Hence its recurrence time and time again.