While the eyes of Israel were focused on the Supreme Court and the debate over what democracy in the Jewish state should look like, Hamas on Tuesday fired several rockets toward the sea in celebration of past “victories” and in preparation for future ones.
Hamas and its allied terror groups in Gaza fired a number of rockets toward the Mediterranean Sea to mark 18 years since Israel’s “defeat” and the uprooting of the coastal enclave’s Jewish communities.
The Hamas-led Joint Operations Room, which includes a dozen US-designated terror groups that coordinate attacks on the Jewish state, said the rocket fire was part of a military exercise that also included guerrilla warfare simulations.
“The defeat of the occupation from Gaza establishes its defeat from [Judea and Samaria] and heralds the liberation of Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and the rest of the country, inshallah [God-willing],” Muhammad Deif, head of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday likewise stated that the 2005 disengagement plan brought about a “new equation” in the conflict with Israel. “This defeat marked a new dawn for the Palestinian people,” Haniyeh claimed, calling it the “start of the comprehensive liberation phase.”
On Sept. 12, 2005, the Israel Defense Forces completed then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza, as the last soldier left the coastal enclave after almost 40 years of modern Israeli presence.
In the weeks prior, Israeli soldiers had evicted around 8,500 Jews from their homes.
The Strip was soon thereafter conquered by Hamas in a bloody coup against the ruling Fatah faction. Since then, Israel has fought four wars with Hamas, in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021, along with numerous smaller conflicts, including against Iranian proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The 2005 disengagement also led to the evacuation and destruction of Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim in northern Samaria. In May, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, head of the IDF Central Command, signed an order allowing Israelis to once again enter Homesh.
The coalition agreement between the ruling Likud Party and Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism Party required the government to allow the Homesh Yeshiva to remain in place as a first step towards rebuilding the four communities.
“The Israeli government nullified the Disengagement Law in northern Samaria and is regulating the Jewish settling of and hold on Homesh. I wish to thank Defense Minister [Yoav] Gallant and the Settlement Authority for their joint work for Homesh and the communities [of Judea and Samaria],” said Smotrich last month.
Two Israelis wounded in Huwara shooting attack
In related news, two Israelis were moderately wounded on Tuesday night in a shooting attack on Route 60 in Huwara, located just outside Nablus in Samaria.
The victims came under fire while driving through town and were wounded by glass shards when bullets shattered the windows of their vehicle.
Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel treated the victims in their 30s who were then evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah.
“Both victims are classified as moderately wounded,” Dr. Yoni Mendel, a doctor in the hospital’s emergency department, told journalists, adding that the two are “currently undergoing evaluation and imaging.”
Israeli forces launched a manhunt for the terrorist or terrorists.
Last month, a Palestinian terrorist killed Shay Silas Nigrekar, 60, and his 28-year-old son Aviad Nir in Huwara.
That attack took place after the two men had stopped at a car wash in the Palestinian Authority-controlled village.
The terrorist walked up to the car wash on foot, opened fire at close range with a handgun and fled in a vehicle.
Huwara has emerged as a center of Palestinian terrorism, prompting Israeli authorities to heighten security there.
The IDF recently upgraded the road infrastructure in Huwara to increase security for drivers on Route 60, the main north-south highway in Samaria that passes through the village.
The changes followed a series of terrorist attacks there, including the murder of brothers Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19, as they sat in traffic on Feb. 26.
Seventy-one percent of Palestinians supported the terrorist murder of the brothers, according to a Palestinian public opinion poll. Only 21% of those surveyed were against the attack.
Dual Israeli-US citizen David Stern, 41, narrowly survived a shooting attack on March 19 as he drove through Huwara with his wife on their way to Jerusalem.
In addition to the infrastructure changes, a large number of IDF soldiers have been deployed to the area and 13 new defensive positions were built to discourage attacks and to reduce security forces’ response times.
The IDF’s Samaria Brigade has bolstered security inspections, including the deployment of additional checkpoint barriers.
The main section of a road that bypasses Huwara will open after the High Holidays, which begin on Friday with Rosh Hashanah.
Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev recently toured the site together with the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan. The two leaders announced that the road would open two months ahead of schedule due to the danger facing Judea and Samaria residents, who—without an alternative—are forced to drive through Huwara.
With reporting by JNS.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.