Israel closes Gaza crossings, but does little else in response to rockets

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff  

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday ordered the temporary re-closing of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire a day earlier that violated an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The response to the renewed attacks following four days of quiet was far less than what the threatened residents of southern Israel were expecting, many of them reminding the government that it had promised to authorize a long-overdue military invasion of Gaza if even one rocket was fired.

In a possible revelation of why Israel has not responded more harshly, a Kuwaiti newspaper on Wednesday reported that the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had made a commitment to Egypt to not declare the ceasefire over if smaller Palestinian terror groups, rather than Hamas, were behind any violations.

Tuesday's attacks were all carried out by the Islamic Jihad.

Later in the day, Hamas leaders said that while their group will continue to refrain from attacking Israel for now, it will not police the other organizations that operate freely in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad said that it would continue attacking southern Israel as long as Israeli security forces continued to operate against its forces in Judea and Samaria, areas that are not under the ceasefire deal.

Hamas warned that if Israel kept the Gaza crossings closed in response to Islamic Jihad rocket fire, it would view the ceasefire as null and void and resume its own attacks.

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