Israel Rejects Hamas Excuses, Boosts Stick-and-Carrot Approach to Gaza

Terror group claims adverse weather caused two of its rockets to launch toward Tel Aviv over the weekend

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Gaza, Hamas
Smoke rises over southern Gaza as Israel strikes Hamas targets in the town of Khan Yunis. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Two Hamas rockets landed in the ocean just off the coast of the southern Tel Aviv metropolitan area on Saturday, eliciting a fierce military response from Israel.

In an urgent message sent through Egypt, Hamas insisted that the launch was accidental and was caused by adverse weather conditions, in particular lightning.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he wasn’t interested in Hamas’ excuses and insisted that the terror group must take responsibility for its weapons, even those that cause “accidental” harm.

Early Sunday morning Israeli forces struck a number of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the rocket launch.

Since the Gaza war earlier this year, Israel’s new government has fulfilled its vow to respond militarily to each and every cross border violation by Hamas and its terrorist allies, even small attacks and “accidents.”

Sunday’s reprisals were marked by Hamas firing anti-aircraft missiles at the Israeli helicopters involved. It is exceedingly rare for Gaza terrorists to try to down an Israeli aircraft, since successfully doing so would lead to a major escalation. Nor does Hamas possess a large quantity of advanced anti-aircraft weapons.

The SAM-7 missiles fired at the Israeli helicopters on Sunday missed their mark and did not cause injury or damage.

Meanwhile, Israel is also advancing the “carrot” side of this equation by increasing the amount of good that its shipping into Gaza, and issuing thousands of additional permits for Gaza residents to enter Israel-proper for work.

The thinking is that Hamas won’t risk a major escalation if the public has too much to lose. The Gaza street is already weary of Hamas rule, which has brought little but poverty and destruction. See: Gazans Would Welcome Israel Back