More Than 4,000 Rockets Have Been Fired at Israel from Gaza

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More Than 4,000 Rockets Have Been Fired at
Israel from Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Says Terrorists Trying to Create a „War of Attrition“
 

With more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel since Israel gave all of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, [1] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert twice in the past week said terrorists are trying to create a state of war. [2] [3]

In 2005, Israel completely withdrew its military and evacuated 9,000 Israeli civilians from Gaza [4] in the hope that it would be a major stepping stone to both peace and a two-state solution.

In June 2007, Hamas – a terrorist organization backed by Iran – seized control of the Gaza Strip in a violent coup that left more than 100 people dead. [5]

Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, neighboring Israeli cities and towns have been bombarded by rocket attacks. Israeli families in Sderot, the Israeli town closest to Gaza, have spent more than two years of nights in bomb shelters. Gaza-based terrorists boast that they are targeting Israeli schoolchildren [6] and children are traumatized by the constant barrage of rockets. [7] Now the rockets are getting more frequent and have a longer range – putting the city of Ashkelon and its 120,000 residents in danger. [8]

Thirteen people have been killed by the rocket and mortar fire and more than 300 have been injured. [9] Children in the western Negev region also suffer from high levels of trauma. Seventy-four percent of children in Sderot aged 7-12 suffer from anxiety and 28.4 percent of all of Sderot’s residents suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. [10]

Israel, faced with ongoing rocket attacks, has not yet found a good solution that would protect its citizens from daily barrages of rocket fire. While Israel has urged efforts at peace negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president has no control over terrorist groups controlling and operating freely in Gaza. Israel has thus far resisted an extensive ground operation, but is targeting terrorists and terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. Said Olmert,„We cannot accept the continuation of fire against our citizens and we will continue to react with intelligence and with the most precision possible to put an end to the terrorist fire, all the while trying to avoid civilian victims.“ [11] According to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, „Israeli [sic] is obligated to its citizens, and needs to give a response to the daily attacks coming from Gaza.“ [12]

In addition, Israel reduced fuel shipments to the Gaza Strip on Sun. (Jan. 20) after Palestinian terrorists fired more than 220 Qassam rockets at Israeli civilians in just four days (Jan. 15-Jan.18). [13] Just in the month of January, Palestinian terrorist groups have fired 450 short-range Qassam rockets and mortars at Israel; [14] the most Qassam rockets ever to hit Israel in a one-month period. Palestinian terrorist groups have fired over 4,000 rockets and mortars since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in Aug. 2005. [15]

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Hamas government has generated a humanitarian crisis by cutting electricity to the civilian population in the northern Gaza Strip. [16] Five Palestinians died overnight in hospitals because of this measure, [17] but rocket manufacturing outlets continue receiving electricity unabated. [18]

While Hamas and the terror it conducts and enables deliberately targets Israeli civilians, Israel is taking every measure possible to prevent civilian casualties: according to David Baker, an official in the prime minister’s office, „Israel will not allow a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We will defend our citizens while at the same time taking measures to minimize civilian hardship.“ This despite proven Hamas tactics of conducting terrorist operations from within denselypopulated areas and often even launching rockets from the backyards of Palestinian victims. [19]

Despite Hamas’s claims, the Gaza Strip is still receiving nearly three-quarters of its regular electricity supply from Israel (124 Megawatts, 70 percent) and Egypt (17 Megawatts, five percent). [20]

In protest of Israel’s decision to reduce fuel shipments, the Hamas government deliberately shut down the only power plant in Gaza, which provides 20 percent of the Gaza Strip’s total electricity, claiming that Israel is to blame for the electricity blackouts in northern Gaza. [21]

Israel Electric Company Chairman for the Workers‘ Committee Miko Zarfati said that electricity from Israel to Gaza continues uninterrupted. „We’re continuing to supply them electricity despite the (demand) overload for electricity in Israel and despite the fact that Israeli residents and Electric Company workers that are being sent to Gaza Vicinity communities are under threat from Qassam rockets…The Electric Company sends people to fix power outages that are caused from the Qassam barrages everyday in Sderot and the Gaza vicinity and more than one worker has already been injured in these rocket attacks.“ [22]

In a speech on Jan. 17, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that there is a „war“ being conducted against Israel in the Gaza border-region. [23] He reiterated this at the weekly meeting of the Israeli Cabinet on Jan. 20, saying „There is no doubt that the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are trying to use indiscriminate terrorism in order to force a war of attrition on us and to create an equation of force in which they respond to with dozens of rockets for harsh strikes against their personnel…The communities of the south will not be hostage to the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip…The objective is to bring about the cessation of Kassam rocket fire and not to agree to any balance of terror. [24]

Hamas, which has been responsible for much of the rocket fire over the past week, [25] receives large sums of money from Iran, according to Israel’s internal security service, the Israel General Security Services (also known as the „Shin Bet“ or „Shabak“). [26] The head of the GSS, Yuval Diskin, stated on Jan. 13 that Hamas had managed to smuggle $100 million into Gaza in recent weeks through senior Hamas officials returning from the hajj in Mecca. [27] 

 

List of Recent Rocket and Mortar Attacks on Israel-Gaza Crossings – More than 27 Rockets and Mortars fired at Gaza Crossings in Past Four Week

  • Jan. 18 — Eight mortars fired at Sufa crossing [28]
  • Jan. 12 — Qassam falls near to Erez crossing [29] 
  • Jan.7 — Attempted suicide-bombing of Erez crossing by Palestinian Islamic Jihad [30]
  • Jan. 1 — Five mortars fired at Sufa crossing [31]
  • Dec. 31, 2007 — Two mortars fired at Sufa crossing [32]
  • Dec. 26 — Qassams strike close to Erez crossing [33]
  • Dec. 26 –Qassam hits Kissufim crossing [34]
  • Dec. 22 — Eight mortars hit the Karni and Kissufim crossings [35]

 Recent Significant Terrorist Activity

  • More than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells have been fired from Gaza at Israel since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip in Aug. 2005. [36]
  • More than 2,300 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and communities in 2007. [37]
  • On Jan. 15, 2008, a Palestinian sniper shot and killed Ecuadorian Carlos Andrés Mosquera Chávez, a volunteer on Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, while he was working in fields close to the Gaza border. Chavez was shot in the back as he and a friend fled the fields upon hearing bullets fired towards them. [38]
  • On Jan. 14, two tons of explosive material was found during a check of a humanitarian aid delivery at the Kerem Shalom goods terminal from Israel into the Gaza Strip. This was the second time within a week that inspectors at the terminal discovered a dual-purpose substance under the cover of humanitarian aid shipments to the Gaza Strip. [39]
  • In December, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and GSS uncovered 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate hidden in sugar-sacks marked as humanitarian aid from the European Union. Potassium nitrate is used by terrorists for the manufacture of explosives and Qassam rockets. The truck containing the potassium nitrate was stopped at one of the crossings from Israel into the West Bank. [40]
  • Two Grad-type Katyusha rockets were fired by Palestinian groups from Gaza into Ashkelon in the month of January. The first fell in the northern part of the city on Jan. 3, the longest range achieved so far by rockets from Gaza. [41] The second fell in south Ashkelon, a coastal city near Gaza, on Jan. 15. [42] The Katyushas are smuggled in from Egypt and are not manufactured locally. [43]
  • On Jan. 5, the IDF completed a four-day operation against the terrorist infrastructure in the old city of Nablus in the West Bank. During the operation a weapons factory was discovered containing two rockets in the first stage of manufacture and a suicide-bomb belt. [44]
  • On Jan. 14, a Palestinian youth was found with a 60mm mortar shell at a checkpoint near Nablus in the West Bank. [45] In 2007, a total of 30 mortar shells were found by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. [46]
  • The GSS estimates that 80 tons of explosives were smuggled into the Gaza Strip this year. Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in Aug. 2005, more than 130 tons of explosives have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip. [47]

 


Footnotes

[1] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, 2008

[2] „Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Speech to the annual General Assembly of the Manufacturer’s Association,“ Web site of the Israel Prime Minister’s Office (Hebrew), Jan. 17, 2008, http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMO/Communication/PMSpeaks/speechmanufa170108.htm

[3] Israeli Cabinet Communiqué, Jan. 20, 2008

[4] „Palestinian leader presses to resume peace talks,“ MSNBC, Sept. 3, 2005, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9189090/
[5] „Hamas takes full control of Gaza,“ BBC, June 15, 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6755299.stm

[6] Harel, Amos; Ravid, Barak, „Sderot parents boycott schools over Qassam attacks,“ Associated Press via Haaretz, Sept. 4, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/900315.html
[7] „Heller, Aron, „Rockets from Gaza Plague an Israeli Town,“ Associated Press, Jan. 20, 2008, http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jE2_RIv6dHiFyewvxAKLTx4dHzyAD8U95NQ80

[8] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Jan. 17, 2008; „Brigades bombard Israeli towns bordering Gaza Strip,“ Ma’an News Agency, Jan. 16, 2008, http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=27240; Kershner, Isabel, „Longer-range type of Katyusha rocket alarms Israelis,“ International Herald Tribune, Jan. 6, 2008, http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/06/africa/mideast.php 

[9] Israel Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Dec. 5, 2007

[10] Berger, Ronny and Gelkopf, Marc, „The Impact of the Ongoing Traumatic Stress Conditions on Sderot,“ Natal, The Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War in cooperation with Dr. Mina Tzemach, Director, Dachaf Public Opinion Research Institute, Oct. 2007

[11] Zaanoun, Adel, „Israel locks down Gaza,“ Agence France Presse via Yahoonews.com, Jan. 17, 2008, http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080117/wl_mideast_afp/mideastconflict_080117210033

[12] JPost.com Staff and Katz, Yaakov, „Barak orders Gaza crossings shut, „The Jerusalem Post,“ Jan. 17, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1200475903477&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[13] Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Unit, Jan. 18, 2008

[14] Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Unit, Jan. 20, 2008

[15] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, 2008

[16] „Supply of electricity to Gaza continues,“ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 20, 2008, http://tiny.cc/lgUAN; Waked, Ali, „Abbas to UN: Call on Israel to lift siege from Gaza,“ Ynetnews.com, Jan. 20, 2008, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3496715,00.html

[17] Ravid, Barak, Issacharoff, Avi, Harel, Amos, Azoulay, Yuval, Grinberg, Mijal, Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies, „PM: Israeli won’t let humanitarian crisis erupt in Gaza,“ Haaretz, Jan. 21, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946709.html 

[18] „Supply of electricity to Gaza continues,“ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 20, 2008, http://tiny.cc/lgUAN

[19] Ormestad, Catrin,“In Gaza, life destroyed by the Qassams,“ Haaretz, Jan. 20, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946111.html

[20] „Supply of electricity to Gaza continues,“ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan. 20, 2008, http://tiny.cc/lgUAN

[21] Ravid, Barak, Issacharoff, Avi, Harel, Amos, Azoulay, Yuval, Grinberg, Mijal, Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies, „PM: Israeli won’t let humanitarian crisis erupt in Gaza,“ Haaretz, Jan. 21, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946709.html 

[22] Goldstein, Tani, „‚We’re supplying electricity to Gaza under Qassam fire,“ YnetNews, Jan. 21, 2008, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3496729,00.html               

[23] „Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Speech to the annual General Assembly of the Manufacturer’s Association,“ Web site of the Israel Prime Minister’s Office (Hebrew), Jan. 17, 2008, http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMO/Communication/PMSpeaks/speechmanufa170108.htm

[24] Israeli Cabinet Communiqué, Jan. 20, 2008

[25] „Two days of hard fighting in the south: Israeli counterterrorist activities and Hamas rocket attacks (Jan. 15-16)“ Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Jan. 16, 2008, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/jan15_16_08e.htm

[26] Summary of Palestinian Terrorist Activities for 2007 – Statistics and Trends of Palestinian Terror (Hebrew), retrieved Jan. 17, 2008, http://www.shabak.gov.il/publications/Pages/sikum2007.aspx

[27] Harel, Amos; Issacharoff, Avi and Ravid, Barak, „Diskin to MKs: Hamas managed to smuggle $100 million into Gaza,“ Haaretz, Jan. 14, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/944304.html

[28] Hadad, Shmulik and Atlas Yonit, „30 Rockets land in western Negev,“ YnetNews (Hebrew), Jan. 18, 2008, http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3495959,00.html

[29]Waked, Ali and Greenberg, Hanan, „IDF attacks Hamas Post: 2 Activists Killed,“ YnetNews (Hebrew), Jan. 12, 2008 http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3493267,00.html

[30] Azoulay, Yuval, „Female suicide bomber among three militants killed by IDF in territories,“ Haaretz, Jan. 7, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/942429.html

[31] Waked, Ali and Weiss, Efrat, „IDF kills Hamas activist in central Gaza Strip,“ YnetNews (Hebrew), Jan. 1, 2008, http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3489165,00.html

[32] „Three Mortar Shells Land in Open Areas in Western Negev; No Injuries,“ nrg (Hebrew), Dec. 31, 2007, http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/677/710.html?pFile=1

[33] Greenberg, Michal, „10 Qassams Fired Towards Negev, Woman in Shock,“ Haaretz (Hebrew), Dec.26, 2007, http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/938651.html

[34] Hadad, Shmulik, „11 Qassam Rockets Land in the Sderot Region,“ YnetNews (Hebrew), Dec. 26, 2007, http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3486980,00.html

[35] Azoulai, Yuval, „Senior Hamas Official: Our Organization is Arranging Discussions for a Renewed Ceasefire Without Conditions with Israel,“ The Marker (Hebrew), Dec. 12, 2007, http://www.themarker.com/tmc/article.jhtml?ElementId=skira20071222_87564&layer=headlines&layer2=&layer3=General

[36] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, 2008

[37] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Dec. 31, 2007

[38] „Carlos Andrés Mosquera Chávez,“ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site, Jan. 15, 2008, http://tinyurl.com/2wgvt5

[39] Katz, Yaakov and Paz, Shelly, „Kassam materials caught at border,“ The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 14, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1200308084927&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[40] „6.5 tons of potassium nitrate discovered in sugar bags marked as EU assistance,“ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 29 2007, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/Potassium+nitrate+discovered+in+sugar+bags+marked+as+EU+assistance+29-Dec-2007.htm

[41] „News of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation, Jan. 1-8, 2008,“ Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/jan_1_8_08e.htm

[42] „Gaza: Three Palestinian civilians killed in IAF air strike,“ The Jerusalem Post, Jan 16, 2008, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1200308099331&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[43] „Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip, 2000-2007,“ Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Dec. 2007, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/rocket_threat_e.htm

[44] „News of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation, Jan. 1-8, 2008,“ Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/jan_1_8_08e.htm

[45] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Jan. 14, 2008

[46] IDF Spokesman’s Unit, Dec. 23, 2007

[47] Summary of Palestinian Terrorist Activities for 2007 – Statistics and Trends of Palestinian Terror (Hebrew), accessed Jan. 16, 2008, http://www.shabak.gov.il/publications/Pages/sikum2007.aspx

 

 

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