Following yet another rocket attack this week, Israel closed pedestrian and cargo entry into Gaza. The usual rounds of matching accusations followed.
Israel closed its crossing into Gaza following a rocket attack, while the prime minister urged calm in the face of unrest in Jerusalem.
Gaza’s pedestrian and cargo entrances were closed on Sunday in response to a rocket that landed in Israel on Friday, a Defense Ministry spokeswoman said. The rocket caused no damage or injuries.
There was no decision on how long the Palestinian territory would remain shut, the spokeswoman added, saying that would depend on the security situation. It was the first closure of the border since Israel’s 50-day war with Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers ended in late August.
Access from Egypt at the Rafah crossing remains closed as well, as Hamas claims that it had nothing to do with the rocket attack, and further states that they have made arrests of individuals suspected of being involved.
Sources within the Defense Ministry said Sunday that Hamas has arrested five suspects in the firing of the rocket that hit the Eshkol region on Friday night, and that it has denied that its operatives were responsible for the attack.
Hamas is committed to maintaining quiet on the border and finding those responsible for the rocket fire, the sources said.
Even if we were to take Hamas at their word here, it looks like they are setting up the situation as an excuse for more action. Spokesman Mahmoud Zahar of Hamas is not only denying that they organized the rocket attack, but that the closings constitute a violation of the cease-fire agreement. He followed that up by implying that Hamas could not be expected to abide by the agreement unless the blockade is lifted.
Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk seems to be taking the same tone, calling Israel’s action childish and irresponsible, while appealing to the international community for relief. This sort of back and forth verbal sniping seems to be characteristic of every single flareup in the region. While Hamas maintains many supporters in the international community – and in Hollywood for that matter – this sounds like the same old movie we’ve seen before. At the cost of a single rocket, Hamas manages to elicit a response from Israel. Then they blame the Israelis for the squalid conditions in the Gaza strip and seek to drag the UN and everyone else back into the fray.
It never seems to end. And it probably won’t in my lifetime.