It was a tense night in southern Israel, where many expected the next Gaza war to erupt at any moment. (Be sure to join us on Telegram for live updates during such events.)
- 104 rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel yesterday and overnight.
- Three people in southern Israel were wounded (including a foreign national), and damage was sustained in several towns.
- Israel’s Iron Dome managed to intercept 90 percent of the rockets that were on course to hit populated areas.
- But local residents were still told to sleep in bomb shelters over concern for the remaining 10 percent.
The following security camera footage shows a rocket landing in a residential area near the coastal city of Ashkelon overnight:
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) May 3, 2023
Why did it happen?
Hamas and its terrorist allies launched this barrage in response to the death of a Palestinian terrorist who had gone on an 86-day hunger strike while sitting in an Israeli prison.
Israeli authorities tried to intervene and save the life of Khader Adnan, despite his many crimes, but he refused any medical treatment.
And Israel’s response?
The IDF seemed to do little more than return fire on the sources of terrorist rocket fire. A tit-for-tat with Hamas.
By 4 am, Israel had agreed to a ceasefire with Gaza’s terrorist overlords, with both sides threatening an escalated response should the violence resume.
“No more excuses!”
The limited and restrained IDF response to such a significant terrorist assault on Israel’s borders and citizens was cause for anger on Wednesday morning.
Israelis were particularly frustrated because this seemingly weak response came from a national religious government under Benjamin Netanyahu that had promised an iron fist against terrorist violence.
Alon Davidi, the longtime mayor of Sderot, the western Negev town most often targeted by Gaza rockets, said the government had effectively “granted immunity” to the terrorists.
“This is a lax policy for which we will pay a price this summer,” read the mayor’s statement, referring to the fact that Israel had failed to deter the next rocket attack.
Davidi further noted that Israel had allowed Hamas and its allies to seize the initiative, giving the terrorists effective control over the lives of half-a-million Israelis living in rocket range.
The criticism also came fast and heavy from within Netanyahu’s own coalition.
“Ramadan is over. The excuses are over. There is no longer any reason for restraint. Now is the time to strike hard at those who seek to harm us,” tweeted Likud MK Danny Danon.
נגמר הרמדאן – נגמרו התירוצים. אין כעת שום סיבה להכלה. זו העת להכות בעוצמה במי שפוגע בנו.
— Danny Danon 🇮🇱 דני דנון (@dannydanon) May 2, 2023
A spokesperson for National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told Walla News that “the policy of containment has exhausted itself. This time there needs to be an unequivocal and decisive response.”
Opposition leader Yair Lapid yesterday offered his full backing for a strong military response against the Gaza terrorist infrastructure.
A qualitative and quantitative military advantage is only a deterrent if the one possessing that advantage is willing to use it.
Are Israel’s enemies still afraid of her, still afraid that she’ll unleash a level of military might they don’t possess?
Those are the questions being asked this morning after Israel’s limited and restrained response to a night of Gaza rocket fire.
On both sides of the Gaza border people now see a kind of power equivalence between Israel and Hamas. It doesn’t matter that Israel possesses more advanced and powerful weapons if she’s not willing or able to use them in a show of overwhelming force, if she’s not willing or able to wield them to defeat her enemies, rather than merely contain them.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad don’t need to win these confrontations militarily. They only need to show that they can stand toe-to-toe with the mighty IDF.
The picture being painted, at least in the minds of Israel’s enemies, is that even a relatively small and under-equipped force like Hamas or Islamic Jihad can take on the IDF. This in turn encourages other enemies and increases the likelihood of larger armed conflicts.
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