A pair of rockets fired from Gaza punctuated a violent day in Israel on Tuesday, after Palestinians in Judea and Samaria rioted in protest of the United States’ decision to call Israeli settlements not inherently illegal. Israel laid the blame of the rockets on Hamas, with the IDF official Twitter feed reporting that one of the rockets fired Tuesday evening was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. No injuries were reported in the attack.
Afterwards, Israel hit back. “In response to the rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight, our fighter jets just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in #Gaza,” tweeted the IDF. “Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”
The attack follows a major flare up between Israel and Gaza earlier this month, in which Israel assassinated a senior terrorist commander for the Islamic Jihad group in Operation Black Belt and the Gaza terrorists responding by launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Tuesday that renewed Gaza violence was not acceptable.
“If someone in Gaza thinks that he can raise his head after Operation Black Belt, he is sorely mistaken,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We will respond vigorously to any attack against us and we will continue to guard the security of Israel on all fronts.”
The Gaza rocket incident also follows a day of riots in the other region claimed by the Palestinians, which they call the West Bank. The Wafa Palestinian news agency reported that thousands of protestors opposing the US settlement viewpoint rallied in at least five cities, including Bethlehem and Hebron.
Dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers in marching on security checkpoints, with some throwing rocks at the Israelis and others burning tires. The Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and other crowd dispersal means.
While there were some injuries in the riots, Wafa reported no fatalities, with the report mentioning just one Palestinian taken to the hospital.
Wafa said the protests had been backed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, following the announcement last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The US—Pompeo told reporters last week in comments published by the State Department—were reversing the Obama Administration’s stance on Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
“The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law,” said Pompeo. “…Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn’t worked. It hasn’t advanced the cause of peace.”
The Americans have been touting a yet unveiled Middle East peace plan, which the Palestinian leadership has already rejected without even seeing the proposal.
In defense of the US decision on the settlements, Pompeo last week said, “The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 26, 2019)