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article imageOp-Ed: Two rockets target Israel even after Hamas promises no attacks

By Ken Hanly     Feb 15, 2020 in Politics
In an attempt to reach a deal with Israel, Hamas announced that they will unilaterally stop launching balloon and rocket attacks onto Israeli territory. In return they want to see Israel ease sanctions on Gaza.
Israel skeptical about the Hamas announcement
Although having doubts about the announcement Israeli officials said they would let the next few days serve as a test of stability and if things remain stable would be willing to extend the Gaza fishing zone. The problem for Hamas is that there are a number of smaller Gaza factions who may not accept the pause and will keep attacking Israel. Israel often blames Hamas even if the violation is by a rival group and the attacks are designed to undercut Hamas.
Hamas' message was sent after weeks of unrest within the occupied Palestinian territories after the release last month of US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan which was roundly rejected by Palestinians and Arab allies. The plan very much favored Israeli interests and was formed without any Palestinian input or even consultation. Since the deal announcement at least eight rockets have been fired into Israel from the Gaza strip.
Balloons with explosives launched from the Gaza Strip
On Thursday AFP reported the were balloons with attacked explosive launched from Gaza. However, the launching stopped when both sides were reported that the two sides reached a secret agreement that Israel would slightly ease its blockade of the Strip in return for calm.
Israeli PM Netanhyahu warned that Israel would not accept any aggression from Gaza and is prepared to take what it called devastating action against terrorist organizations in Gaza. While the balloons have not caused many casualties they have set many fires and created considerable property damages. The strikes also provide talking points for Israeli hawks who want Israel to become more engaged militarily in the Strip.
Israel responds to two rockets from Gaza
The Israeli military reported at least two rockets were fired into Israel on Saturday night. The rockets apparently hit open fields and caused no injuries. However, the rockets were fired in violation of Hamas' promise not to attack Israel. However, there are small terrorist groups in Gaza that will fire rockets to undercut Hamas even though it results in often severe retaliatory attacks from Israel. Israeli retaliation hit Hamas installations even though it appears unlikely that Hamas was responsible. Israeli forces were said to be remaining on high alert for what they called various scenarios but without elaborating. There are no casualty or damage reports from the retaliatory strikes as yet.
Hamas faces a situation where it cannot control all groups in Gaza opposed to Israel. When such a group attacks Hamas nevertheless gets blamed and is attacked in return. This Israeli policy encourages situations to arise where Hamas deals will be broken and Israel must know this. This provides a justification for retaliatory attacks but upon hapless Hamas not those responsible. Israel must expect Hamas to be their Gaza policeman and control dissident groups.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Hamas Israel relations, Gaza strip, Hamas
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