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450 Terror Attacks in 24 Hours

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An Israeli policeman inspects damage from a previous rocket fired from Gaza in November 2018 in Ashkelon. In the current conflict, an Israeli father of four was killed in Ashkelon from a rocket fired from Gaza. (Photo: GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli police officer inspects damage from a previous rocket fired from Gaza in November 2018 in the coastal city of Ashkelon. In the current conflict, an Israeli father of four was killed in Ashkelon from a rocket fired from Gaza. (Photo: GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

In the course of one day, Israel sustained 450 terror attacks. Imagine that happening in America. 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip fired over 450 rockets into Israel in a 24-hour period beginning Saturday morning, May 4, 2019. The attacks killed an Israeli father of four and injured several others, including an elderly woman, who was severely wounded.

Warning sirens of incoming rockets were heard in the southern part of the country and as far north as the city of Beit Shemesh, located in the middle of the country. Unless the rocket is taken out by Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system, which shoots down rockets and missiles from the sky, Israeli citizens have as little as 15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter.

In the last 24 hours, over 150 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. Others made it through the system, including one that hit a kindergarten classroom in the southern Israeli city Sderot. Seventy percent of the rockets landed in open fields.

No one was injured in the school attack since schools were shut for the weekend and are now ordered to remain closed, leaving 200,000 Israeli school children out of school for an indefinite period of time.

In response to the attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said it hit at least 220 military targets in Gaza but avoided civilian areas. Although Hamas announced that the bombing had killed a pregnant Palestinian mother and her baby, IDF intelligence said the deaths were due to a Hamas rocket that misfired.

The United States declared Hamas a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. In 2007, Hamas declared its intention to to destroy America and called on Allah to annihilate every American.

“The United States strongly condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from Gaza upon innocent civilians and their communities across Israel. We call on those responsible for the violence to cease this aggression immediately,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“We stand with Israel and fully support its right to self-defense against these abhorrent attacks,” she added.

The European Union also stood behind Israel, criticizing the rocket attacks and saying that  “firing indiscriminately against civilians (is) unacceptable.”

The intense increase in violence followed a sniper attack from Gaza that injured two Israeli soldiers Friday night. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retaliated by hitting a Hamas position, killing several terrorists.

Hamas said that attack was in retaliation for Israel not holding by an agreement made during the previous ceasefire, which included the transfer of Qatari funds into Gaza. However, Israeli officials said the delay in transferring the money has been due to Qatar and the United Nations, not the Israeli government.

Why Now?

Israel’s hosting of the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest the entire month of May — rehearsals for which begin today in Tel Aviv – make now a prime time for Hamas to wreak havoc on Israel and pressure the government for concessions in exchange for quiet.

As with other escalations from the terror groups that control the Gaza Strip, this current one fits a historical pattern.

“Every time there’s a possibility of peace – or even the possibility of discussing peace – the security situation immediately deteriorates and Hamas begins firing rockets at Israel,” notes Clarion’s Shillman Fellow and Arab Affairs Analyst Ran Meir.

The current barrage of rockets from Gaza precedes next month’s unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians, already being dubbed the Deal of the Century.

The package is rumored to include major economic welfare programs for Gaza citizens, something that Hamas has historically denied them in its effort to keep its population focused on Israel as the enemy and responsible for all that is wrong in the lives of its citizens.

To this end, Hamas diverted millions of dollars in international aid to finance its terror project. This is particularly the case regarding the tremendous amount of aid money that flows into Gaza each time the terror group attacks Israel and forces an Israeli response.

Money for “rebuilding” is a common way Hamas “fundraises” from its international sponsors, including the European Union.

Last month’s flare-up against Israel (and the subsequent “ceasefire” currently being violated by Hamas) came in the wake of the largest Palestinian protests against the terror group since Hamas took control of the Strip in 2007.

At the peril of getting beaten, imprisoned and tortured, Gaza citizens took to the streets to demonstrate against the dire economic conditions they are forced to live in under Hamas’ rule.

With no concern for its own citizens who elected the terror group to govern them, Hamas – which stated it will not be satisfied until Israel is destroyed in its entirety — has shown its cynical use of terror to further its goals. It has also shown that despite, at times, claiming the escalation is the work of Islamic Jihad (for all practical purposes, a subsidiary of Iran), Hamas is the one calling the shots in Gaza.

We can expect the situation to continue – causing untold death and destruction — until the international community steps in, refuses to reward terror with funding, puts the screws on Hamas and its foreign benefactors economically and diplomatically, and allows Israel to do whatever is necessary to stamp out the terror group once and for all.

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org