Palestinian terrorists are once again firing rockets into southern Israel.
As of this writing on March 12, over a three-day period beginning last Friday, they had sent some 110 rockets into civilian-populated areas of the south. The terrorists had actually launched 150 rockets, but 40 of them landed inside Gaza.
Due to technical failures Sunday in Israel’s Iron Dome missile interception system, two Grad rockets struck Be’er Sheva. One smashed into a school that was, thankfully, empty at the time due to the cancellation of all classes. The other struck a parked car in a residential neighborhood. No one one was killed. Eight people were wounded, one severely. Some 15 houses suffered major damage. Despite the failure to intercept the Be’er Sheva bound rockets, the Iron Dome had intercepted and obliterated 40 rockets by Sunday night. More than 90 rockets had crashed in Israeli territory during that time, but the Iron Dome is intended to bring down only those rockets identified as heading toward populated areas.
And Israel, appropriately, retaliated.
JTA reported Sunday night that the Israeli Air Force had struck 21 targets in Gaza, including 13 air strikes to halt rocket-launching attempts and eight attacks against weapons factories and storage sites. Some 18 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old, have been killed by the air force attacks. The terrorists launched their latest barrage in retaliation, they said, for the targeted killing by Israel of Zuhir al-Qaisi, the leader of Popular Resistance Committee (PRC). Qaisi was said to be planning a potentially catastrophic terror attack on Israel’s southern border. He was also the mastermind behind the attack last year near Eilat that killed eight Israelis.
The self-righteous, indignant finger-pointing at Israel accompanied by shouts of disproportionality have already sounded from many rostrums. Israel was right to pre-empt the impending Qa’isi planned terror incident.
The plain, irreducible truth of the matter is that the terror groups that operate in Gaza such as the PRC and Islamic Jihad – in addition of course to the Hamas Gaza government – take their cue from the ruling Hamas chiefs. Indeed, Hamas could shut them down at will were it their will to do so.
It has been seven years since Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza. No Israeli soldier or civilian is to be found there. And yet, the Hamas rulers have directed their people to commit themselves to only one national project: the destruction of their Jewish neighbour. It is likely that more rockets will fall in Israel over the coming days and that Israel will respond with its far more accurate, deadly force.
This is what the Palestinian leaders have brought and continue to bring to their people, a dishearteningly drama, déjà vu, of sorrow, suffering and despair.