If you believe this, then you might also believe the message from “armed factions in Gaza” that the two rockets launched at Israel about 7 AM on Saturday morning were “caused by weather conditions.”
There were no sirens because the rockets, aimed towards Tel Aviv, landed in the sea – one off the coast of Jaffa (the oldest part of Tel Aviv), and the other off the coast of Palmachim, south of Tel Aviv.
It was not clear which “armed groups” were being alluded to in various reports, but I assume Hamas, likely delivering a message via Egypt. It is thought that the rockets were launched by Islamic Jihad. Hamas – not eager for a major operation right now – may have been trying to minimize the incident.
The IDF (which clearly wasn’t buying the weather excuse) replied that “Hamas is responsible and bears the consequences for all activity in and emanating from the Gaza Strip…There will be a response, this is a serious and unacceptable event.” Defense officials said they were seeking a response that would “not cause an escalation but convey the message that incidents on the border (see below) and rocket launches are unacceptable.” Egypt tried to discourage Israel from responding, as Hamas had warned about consequences. Good that we did.
The retaliation came via jets, helicopters and tanks (which did shelling) on Saturday night. A number of Hamas targets were hit: rocket production facilities, Hamas military posts.
In an unusual move, during Israel’s air attack, terrorists on the ground in Gaza targeted Israeli military helicopters with shoulder-launched SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles. There were no hits.
We conducted ourselves appropriately regarding the launching of rockets towards Tel Aviv. How much of the input on the proper response was provided by the military and how much by the political echelon, it is difficult to say. Obviously, Defense Minister Gantz would have had major input.
But speaking of Gantz, here I want to return to a couple of major issues – disturbing issues – involving him that I’ve addressed once, but which still require monitoring.
The first is Gantz’s inappropriate hosting of the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas, and the “confidence-building measures” he provided the PA. I wrote very shortly after the interaction between Gantz and Abbas had transpired. I have since accessed a piece by Israel Kasnett that makes important points with regard to this:
“The question many Israelis are asking themselves,” writes Kasnett, “is what confidence-building measures did Israel receive from the Palestinians in return?” It’s a highly pertinent question. Gantz
would say that what we received was some sort of promise not to promote terrorism. But, think about this for a moment. If this doesn’t smell like extortion, I don’t know what does.
Kasnett cites Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies at Palestinian Media Watch (pictured). Hirsch says that by giving money to the PA, Israel is giving up leverage.
Hirsch is certain that that the NIS 100 million “loan” for the PA is “positively going to go to terrorists. It is outrageous.”
“Furthermore, Hirsch noted, Gantz is making agreements with the P.A. without any real oversight and without presenting any type of legislation. ‘It should require a change in the law,’ he said.
“’Gantz is doing everything he can to undermine the law,’ added Hirsch. ‘It is unbelievable how much damage Gantz is doing under the radar and completely without the general public actually knowing what he is doing.’” (Emphasis added).
Hirsch’s comment about oversight leads us directly back to Naftali Bennett, who keeps flip-flopping on the issue of whether he approved this meeting. Makes the head spin.
As to what “confidence-building” measures Israel might have received from Abbas, the hard truth is that just the opposite was the case:
Last Friday, a mere three days after Abbas had been invited into Gantz’s home, he gave an address to mark the 57th anniversary of Fatah. And this is what he said (emphasis added):
“The anniversary of the launch of our revolution comes in extremely critical and difficult circumstances due to the continuation of the abhorrent Israeli occupation, the escalation of its repressive practices and persecution against our people, the theft of our land and natural resources, the stifling of our economy, the withholding of our tax funds and racial discrimination.”
And what marked the beginning of the Fatah revolution? An attempt by terrorists to blow up the National Water Carrier.
Says Herb Keinon, this was for Abbas’s own people, to show them that he was not Grantz’s lackey.
Abbas knew, says Keinon, that meeting with Gantz would generate international headlines and help him to find favor with the US, the EU, the UN, and other countries eager to launch a “peace process.”
His speech regarding the anniversary of Fatah, however, was delivered on New Year’s Eve, a time when he knew it would draw scant attention in the news. As long as his own people heard it.
And then there’s the matter of Homesh. The Yeshiva has not been taken down. I think this is because the powers that be know what an uproar would ensue if it were. Yet the situation is all so tentative, so on the edge. IDF and Border Police personnel are blockading of the road leading to Homesh so that no vehicles can approach it; this means no supplies can be brought in to improve conditions in the yeshiva or to build any other structures. Everyone who wants to get to the yeshiva must walk a distance in the mud.
This is the first time in 15 years that this has been the situation.
On Sunday, Yuli Edelstein initiated a “Homesh First Lobby” in the Knesset in order to prevent further loss of land in the Shomron. The lobby has been joined by over 40 Knesset members. Six Opposition MKs from Likud, Religious Zionists, and Shas, along with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, visited Homesh.
Observed MK Moshe Abutbul (Shas), “Despite all our pain at seeing the destruction here, we were greatly encouraged to see the wonderful Torah learning going on at the yeshiva.”
Defense Minister Gantz is attempting to initiate a compromise in which the yeshiva, rather than being taken down, would be relocated to Evyatar.
Representatives of the yeshiva rejected the proposal: “…We will not negotiate a withdrawal from Homesh, and no such appeal was made, and if such an appeal was made it would be rejected immediately. We returned to Homesh to correct injustice and disgrace.”
“There can be no reward for terrorism.”
Note: Evyatar was erected without authorization in memory of Yehuda Guetta, who was killed by a terrorist in May 2021 at the nearby Tapuach Junction. This was an iteration of an outpost that had been erected in memory of Evyatar Borovsky who was killed by a terrorist at the same Junction in 2013. When the families who lived there refused to leave, the government struck a bargain: if they left quietly, the houses would remain intact, and an IDF outpost would be established there. A survey would then be done to determine the validity of (some dubious) claims by Palestinian Arabs that it was their land. If it turned out to be state land, the residents would be allowed to return.
No surprise that the survey has not yet been done.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.