Israel targets rocket sites in Gaza after rocket attacks break truce

posted at 9:21 am on April 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After an unusually long break from rocket attacks and military responses from a five-month cease-fire, rockets again began shelling southern Israel from Gaza the last few days. Israel didn’t wait long to deliver a response, attacking “two extensive terror sites” with air attacks of their own. Gaza answered back with two more rocket launches, once again highlighting the fragile status quo:

Israel will not sit back while Palestinian militants attack the south of the country from Gaza, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Wednesday, hours after the military retaliated for rocket fire for the first time since an eight-day exchange of strikes in November.

Yaalon’s remarks came as two rockets fired from the coastal territory exploded at an Israeli border town, according to police. Code Red alarm sirens wailed in Sderot at about 7:30 a.m. local time warning of incoming rockets and forcing the town residents who were on their way to work or school to take cover. No injuries were sustained in the attack.

Hours earlier, Israel struck targets in Gaza in response to Palestinian rocket attacks. It was the first time Israel retaliated for Gaza rocket fire since an informal cease-fire ended eight days of cross-border strikes between Israel and the Hamas-ruled territory in November. That round of fighting was triggered in part by almost daily Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza have fired several rockets since an informal cease-fire took hold after the fighting. Two rockets were fired during President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel two weeks ago.

The exchange took place in the context of a new push by US Secretary of State John Kerry to get talks restarted on Israeli-Palestinian peace:

CBS News correspondent Robert Berger points out from Jerusalem that that the situation on the Israeli-Gaza border has been tense for months. The Israeli air raids followed the Tuesday rocket fire, the third successful rocket attack on Israel since the November cease-fire. The military reported that Gaza militants sent at least one rocket toward southern Israel. No one was hurt and no damage was caused. The attack was the first since rockets were fired during President Obama’s visit to Israel two weeks ago.

Separately, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is about to head to the region for the second time in a week-and-a-half to try to “kick-start” the long-stalled Mideast peace process. Haaretz cited a senior Israeli official who asked to remain anonymous, who said Kerry was expected to arrive in Israel Saturday night.

Haaretz said Kerry was to resume his “campaign of shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Ramallah.”

At least the volume of attacks seems low, even if the cease fire isn’t really ceasing fire entirely.  Prior to the last outbreak of wide hostilities in November, Israel might have suffered these kind of attacks without a large response, but not now.  Barack Obama’s visit notwithstanding, the Israelis don’t appear to be in the mood to allow Hamas and/or its allies in Gaza to conduct those kinds of operations without any cost at all — and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Nor is that the only response Israel has delivered.  The IDF also reported returning fire and scoring “a direct hit” after a shell came across the Golan from Syria:

On Tuesday, the Israeli military said a mortar shell exploded on its side of the frontier in the Golan Heights. The military said its soldiers returned the fire and said it scored a direct hit. No other details were given.

“Israel has no intention of ignoring fire from Syria toward Israeli territory, incidental or not, and will respond with a firm hand,” Yaalon said. “As soon as we identify the source of the fire, we will take it down without hesitation, as we did last night and in previous cases. As far as we are concerned, the Syrian regime is to be held responsible for everything happening in its territory. Israel will not allow a situation in which firing spills over to Israeli territory without a response,” he said.

That is, of course, a much trickier situation.  Bashar Assad would probably welcome a chance to start a shooting war with Israel if he thought it would redirect the anger against his regime and unite Syrians against Israel. It’s far too late for that to help now, but that doesn’t make the dangers of spillover in the Syrian civil war any less for Israel.  An exchange at this point would not only get bloody for Israel, it would strengthen the Islamists within the rebellion against Assad.

On another front, the news is much better for Israel.  They have begun to extract natural gas from two fields in the Mediterranean, which have the potential for turning Israel from a major importer of energy to a major exporter.  The big political question will shortly become whether the Israeli government wants to sell the natural gas to help capitalize that effort, or keep the energy for national security purposes:

Needless to say, this also opens another potential front for terrorism, too.  That will be the real national security question, at least in the short term.


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Increased tensions in North Korea. Rocket attacks in Israel. Highest poverty rate since the 1960s. Economic stagnation.

But hey! Who’s up for a discussion of gays, guns, and amnesty for illegals?

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

And who would be up for a conversation of end times and Christs return………….

crosshugger on April 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Those were gay rockets fired at Israel, filled with glitter. Why do Israelis hate gay stuff?

Bishop on April 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM

The exchange took place in the context of a new push by US Secretary of State John Kerry to get talks restarted on Israeli-Palestinian peace

How can you make peace with someone who is dedicated to your ultimate destruction?

rbj on April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

So, what’s Obama’s handicap, these days?

OldEnglish on April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

On another front, the news is much better for Israel. They have begun to extract natural gas from two fields in the Mediterranean, which have the potential for turning Israel from a major importer of energy to a major exporter.

Israel selling energy to increasingly antisemitic Europe…

OY! The irony

KUDOS! to Israeli ingenuity & perseverance.

workingclass artist on April 3, 2013 at 9:32 AM

At least the volume of attacks seems low, even if the cease fire isn’t really ceasing fire entirely.

Well then, that makes all the difference, those mean Israelis are such bullies……..what an insult to the Messiah!

dmann on April 3, 2013 at 9:34 AM

A Cease Fire means that Palestinians only launch rockets at random, instead of on a regular schedule.

SurferDoc on April 3, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Needless to say, this also opens another potential front for terrorism, too. That will be the real national security question, at least in the short term.

I would like to see the defense capabilities of those installations.

cozmo on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Increased tensions in North Korea. Rocket attacks in Israel. Highest poverty rate since the 1960s. Economic stagnation.

But hey! Who’s up for a discussion of gays, guns, and amnesty for illegals?

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Everyone in the MSM, of course.

The Rogue Tomato on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 AM

They have begun to extract natural gas from two fields in the Mediterranean, which have the potential for turning Israel from a major importer of energy to a major exporter.

Please God let it be so! Then the welfare can end. And we won’t have to pay Egypt to send oil there way either. The thought of America reassert the Washington ideal of no political parties or entangling alliances may be a political wet dream, but a man can hope.

abobo on April 3, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Please God let it be so! Then the welfare can end. And we won’t have to pay Egypt to send oil there way either. The thought of America reassert the Washington ideal of no political parties or entangling alliances may be a political wet dream, but a man can hope.

abobo on April 3, 2013 at 9:40 AM

It’s not “welfare”, you dolt. America is paying for Dhimmi Carter’s Middle Eastern adventurism of 1979, as a result of sponsoring Camp David Accords. Trust me, Israel would rather have Sinai peninsula instead of the money, with dirt-poor, demilitarized Egypt as a bonus.

Archivarix on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

I’ve been following the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields story for a while now. I’m so excited that Israel has to potential now to be energy independent. Plus, since Israel is a very innovated society its going to excited how they plan to use their natural gas. I’m thinking they’ll be the first OCED nation with an all natural gas car fleet within the a decade.

Lance Murdock on April 3, 2013 at 9:49 AM

How can you make peace with someone who is dedicated to your ultimate destruction?

rbj on April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Ask Boehner.

Bishop on April 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

And – how’s my bracket doing?
Want top shoot some hoops?

gonnjos on April 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Old English, I’d say Obama’s handicap is his low IQ.

countrybumpkin on April 3, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Everyone in the MSM, of course.

The Rogue Tomato on April 3, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Well the MSM certainly isn’t talking about anything that matters as they suck all the oxygen out of public discourse with sodomy, anti-Second Amendment legislation, and gifting citizenship to illegals.

In the meantime, the the Obama family has enjoyed five vacations since January- costing the taxpayers millions. Sequestration is still in effect and the DoD is still going to furlough civilians. Congress has yet to see the Presidential Budget Submission months after it was due by law (last one was a unserious joke of a wish list that was utterly worthless).

We know that the rat-eared devil can’t play basketball and his NCAA picks were totally wrong. We know he is campaigning this week for gun-grabs by going to Colorado today and CT later in the week. In short, where the hell are our priorities these days?

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Golda Meir is doing the happy dance.

vityas on April 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM

On another front, the news is much better for Israel. They have begun to extract natural gas from two fields in the Mediterranean, which have the potential for turning Israel from a major importer of energy to a major exporter.

Doesn’t that just give Israel’s enemies another reason to destroy the state? Think of how much terrorism the PLA could sponsor with that gas revenue.

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM

Archivarix on April 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Yeah, the bums never think they’re on the dole. They all have the same arrogant insolance that you’ve displayed.
Democrat Mantra:

food stamps are an economic stimulus!! They give back more than every dollar put in!!

Republicon Mantra:

foreign aid is an economic stimulus!! It returns a handsome geopolitical dividend for dollar put in!!

Centrist mantra:

Why can’t we have BOTH unlimited welfare AND warfare!!

abobo on April 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM

And who would be up for a conversation of end times and Christs return…………. crosshugger on April 3, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I wish it were on topic, I’d take you up on it.

Akzed on April 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Israel selling energy to increasingly antisemitic Europe…

OY! The irony

I think Israel exporting gas to Europe is going to be a game-changer in attitudes towards Israel. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll note that there is not a groundswell of anti-Arab sentiment in Europe. Because they’re the ones selling the energy. When all things are equal, I think you’re going to see a change.

Meryl Yourish on April 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

rbj on April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Let’s just let them fight the damn war – wipe out the Palestinians on the battlefield. Have Israel impose “peace” and get them ready for the next battle.

These soft no consequence missles launching back and forth do no good. Time for the terrorists to feel the consequences of their actions or truly try and make peace.

Zomcon JEM on April 3, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Yeah, the bums never think they’re on the dole. They all have the same arrogant insolance that you’ve displayed.

abobo on April 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Hurling insults doesn’t help your cause. Do you understand that an American President signed a treaty, duly ratified by the Senate, that guarantees the payment? We can argue whether the treaty was beneficial – I’d say the only side who profited is Egypt, but that was Dhimmi’s original purpose, wasn’t it? – but from the moment a country stomps on its own signed obligations, it will be treated like dirt.

Archivarix on April 3, 2013 at 10:14 AM

abobo – GOP foreign aid as economic stimulus? Get your facts in order thank you very much. You have more isolationists regarding foreign aid in the GOP camp than the democrat one.

And I’m happy with taking Israel off the foreign aid – then let them go wipe out their enemies.

Zomcon JEM on April 3, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Israel selling energy to increasingly antisemitic Europe…

OY! The irony

I think Israel exporting gas to Europe is going to be a game-changer in attitudes towards Israel. It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll note that there is not a groundswell of anti-Arab sentiment in Europe. Because they’re the ones selling the energy. When all things are equal, I think you’re going to see a change.

Meryl Yourish on April 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I hope you’re right.

The increasing antisemitism in the European media & governments over the last decade has been alarming.

workingclass artist on April 3, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Arch – thanks for the background – I had forgotten that point.

Zomcon JEM on April 3, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Doesn’t that just give Israel’s enemies another reason to destroy the state? Think of how much terrorism the PLA could sponsor with that gas revenue.

Happy Nomad on April 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM

What, on top of the religious fanatic hatred?

And do remember that if Israel is about to be overrun, they will make much of the ME into glowing green glass, so good luck to the PLA enjoying their prize.

MelonCollie on April 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Flatten the entire neighbordood in a half mile radius around every launch site. Perhaps then the Arabs occupying Gaza will get a clue.

dentarthurdent on April 3, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Won’t the offshore natural gas heads become juicy targets for the islamofascists?

slickwillie2001 on April 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Won’t the offshore natural gas heads become juicy targets for the islamofascists?

slickwillie2001 on April 3, 2013 at 11:16 AM

That was my first thought also.

dentarthurdent on April 3, 2013 at 11:21 AM

oooobaaamaaaa, oooobaaaaamaaaaa, ooooobaaaamaaaaa ! The one, the uniter, the savior……. the incompetent boob.

ultracon on April 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

The big political question will shortly become whether the Israeli government wants to sell the natural gas to help capitalize that effort, or keep the energy for national security purposes:

Why not split the difference and do both? While I can’t give dates on these things, it seems to me that Israel did not drag its feet on taking advantage of their energy find, good for them. The U.S. will maul over their chance at energy independence for at least twenty years.

Cindy Munford on April 3, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Protect your gas fields with everything you’ve got, Israelis, because those will be prime targets for the barbarians.

Hey, you guys. Knock off the gay stuff. It’s not funny anymore, and we have bigger issues.

RebeccaH on April 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Forbes observed that Nicossia was able to nail down an EU assistance package without signing away immensely lucrative gas revenues to Russia. Banks will be shuttered and restructured, loans will be taken and high-end depositors will face losses– but natural gas revenues were taken off the table.

With claims to what has been estimated to be worth $400 billion over the coming years, Cyprus has emerged as a new energy player in the Mediterranean over the past three years. Offering access to an estimated 50 to 60 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of crude in waters off its southeastern coast, Cyprus presented Europe with the kind of reserves that could finally ease dependence on Russia, not to mention meet and exceed domestic demand. Natural gas presented the surest way to rebound for a country with little else to rely on than a modest tourism sector and a bloated and unsustainable banking system.

The lesson for the US is that exploiting lucrative oil and gas reserves is a reasonable alternative to government assisted bank robbery.

Drill, baby, drill.

Terp Mole on April 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

President Obama is quoted as having shouted, Fore!”.

Mason on April 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

So, what’s Obama’s handicap, these days?

OldEnglish on April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

As he has said himself, his handicap is the Constitution!

…while America’s handicap is Obama!

landlines on April 3, 2013 at 4:11 PM