Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council Thursday to condemn the recent attacks on Israel by Gaza-based terrorists, calling it “an unacceptable breach of the understandings that were reached following Israel’s military operation against Hamas last November.”
Terrorist groups shot a rocket and three mortar shells at Israel early Thursday morning, marking a third straight day of projectile fire after several months of calm.
“Over the past four days, Gaza terrorists have fired 11 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilians and cities,” wrote Prosor in a missive. “Yesterday morning, two of these rockets landed near the Israeli town of Sderot just as children were making their way to school for the first time since the Passover holiday. Instead of shuttling to school, these children and their families had to shuttle immediately to the nearest bomb shelter.”
“The only thing more deafening than the sirens that go off in Israel when a rocket is fired is the international community’s silence,” charged Prosor. “I urge this Council to condemn these attacks, loudly and clearly, before the situation further escalates. It is time for the Security Council to start ensuring the security of Israel’s citizens.”
The Thursday rocket landed in an open area in the Eshkol Region, as did one of the mortar rounds. Two of the shells fired failed to cross the fence into Israel and landed in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
On Wednesday morning, two rockets were fired into Israel, hours after Israel bombed sites in the Gaza Strip in response to several attempted attacks on Tuesday.
The airstrike was the first since November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, launched by the Israel Defense Forces to stem missile fire from the Strip.
Officials have expressed fears that the renewed tensions between Israel and Gaza could spell the end of the informal ceasefire and spiral into renewed cross-border volleys that were a frequent occurrence leading up to November’s eight-day mini war.
“The renewed violations of the ceasefire risk undermining the ‘understanding’ reached between Israel and Gaza on November 21, unraveling the gradual but tangible improvements achieved since then in the easing of the closure and the security situation in Gaza and southern Israel,” United Nations Middle East peace process coordinator Robert Serry said in a statement Wednesday.
The rocket fire on Tuesday, which sparked the latest round of violence, was seemingly launched in response to the death of a Palestinian prisoner of cancer.
On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised “vigorous” blowback if fire emanating from the Hamas-controlled enclave does not cease.
Hamas, for its part, has reportedly been trying curb the rocket fire from the territory, and has even sent calming messages to Israel to the effect that it is working to uphold the ceasefire by, among other measures, arresting members of factions that have been shooting rockets.
On Thursday, the organization’s security apparatus reportedly arrested two members of a hard-line Salafist group in Gaza in connection with the Tuesday and Wednesday rocket attacks on Israel.
“Internal security apparatus in the last two days arrested two mujahedeen,” an anonymous Salafist source told the AFP on Thursday.
“One was released after several hours. The other is still detained,” he added, and said the arrests were a “campaign to pursue Salafists after the targeting of Israel with rockets.”
However, according to the report, Hamas denied that any arrests had taken place. “Our security apparatus is part of the resistance and does not arrest anyone who resists the occupation. On the contrary, we encourage resistance,” the Hamas Interior Ministry spokesperson said.