As many of us have predicted, the Palestinians have taken advantage of Israel’s departure from Gaza and fired rockets into Israeli cities.
A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza hit the Negev city of Sderot around noon Thursday. A second rocket was also fired, and landed between Sderot and Nir-Am. Over 5900 rockets and shells were launched from Arab Gaza at Israeli targets over the last few years.
Shas party MK Eli Yishai said that the rockets fired at Sderot were just an “appetizer” compared to what is to come. “Even before we have turned off the engines of uprooting and expulsion, our fears have proven true. The dream of an end to the season of Kassams has been shattered.”
Yishai called upon Prime Minister Ariel Sharon not to hand over Gaza to the Palestinian Authority until PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas commits publicly to stopping the firing of rockets on Israeli towns. Yishai added that handing Gaza over as Kassam attacks continue is the equivalent of “an invitation to shoot Kassam rockets at the city of Ashkelon.”
The IDF has yet to respond to the attack, though PM Sharon has repeatedly promised to deal harshly with post-withdrawal terrorism emanating from Gaza. Other proponents of the withdrawal, as well, have promised that after such a withdrawal, Israel will be able to respond harshly to attacks over her borders.
Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal questioned why the IDF did not respond to Thursday’s Kassam rocket attack. He said that officials promised that following the Disengagement, any rockets fired into the western Negev from Gaza would be met with a stern response.
Moyal added he will not be responsible for the welfare of students in schools with rooftops that were not fortified to withstand rocket attacks, adding those schools simply will not open.
While many schools remain unprotected, none of the western Negev’s private homes are included in the plan. The Shabak (General Security Service), which is responsible for the security in and around Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch, however, is unwilling to take such chances, and has recently fortified the windows and roofs of the Prime Minister’s Negev home against rocket attacks.
Thursday morning, Lebanese terrorists fired two Katyusha rockets at northern Israel. One hit the northern moshav [cooperative settlement] of Margaliyot, near Kiryat Shemonah and the other landed in Lebanese territory. No one was hurt, but damage was caused to a chicken coop.
A high alert has been declared in the north, and the IDF is investigating the attack. Israel has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations.