Analysis: Rockets from Gaza endanger fragile peace

The rocket that struck Sderot this week is just another reminder how fragile the Gaza-Israeli border is.

August 21, 2016 20:29
1 minute read.
Gaza Strip

Light streak trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel July 29, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Around noon on Sunday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in a street in Sderot in the Negev. It caused no significant damage and no injuries.

Though no organization had claimed responsibility for the rocket launching as of press time, it most probably was the work of one the small renegade groups from the Salafist community that defies Hamas authority and has tried repeatedly to provoke Israel and drag both sides into another round of violence.

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It was the second time in seven weeks that a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Sderot – the early July launch was the work of a pro-ISIS group.

Israel reacted to Sunday’s incident with an almost ritual response, firing rockets from an aircraft and tank shells against minor Hamas positions in northern Gaza.

As always, the IDF statement said, Israel holds Hamas responsible for violations of Israeli sovereignty, but, unofficially, security sources admit that Hamas is trying hard to enforce its authority over the renegade groups. Hamas units are patrolling the border to catch and arrest those who conspire to launch rockets against Israel and to prevent the rocket attacks before they take place. Hamas police and security services arrest the culprits and punish them after the incidents. It is clear in Israeli defense circles that Hamas is doing its best not to provoke Israel and to preserve the cease-fire that ended the last war in the summer of 2014. But Israel also knows that efforts by Hamas are not an insurance policy.

Although Israel does not wish to escalate the situation, much depends on probabilities. Should a rocket fired from Gaza kill Israelis, the IDF will have to respond forcefully, and both sides once again could find themselves being dragged into a vicious cycle of punching and counter-punching that could end in a fourth war between the sides.

This latest rocket is just another reminder of how fragile the Gaza-Israeli border is.

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