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Five More Rockets Fired, but Israel Allows Business as Usual

“What a difference two weeks make…” could arguably be the anthem of the recurring periods during which time Hamas and Israel exchange rocket fire for air strikes until an intermediary step in and what the locals call “a calm” is restored. As recently as two weeks ago, the firing of a single pair of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory would trigger massive displays of aeronautic pyrotechnics which in turn would trigger somewhat superficial street corner debates over the efficacy of the Israeli military’s target selection and on another level, serious discussions about the downside of pummeling Hamas and company more than is necessary. One such nightmare scenario envisions the Gaza Strip returning to Israeli control, humanitarian crisis and all. Witness Sunday’s example: as many as five rockets were fired into Israel – one failed to make it out of Gaza — but Jerusalem withheld the previously automatic response by jet fighters, attack helicopters and drones in favor of allowing the newly-reopened Erez and Kerem Shalom crossing points to remain so – a clear and unambiguous nod to the Egyptian negotiators. But some critics of the Netanyahu government argue that allowing Gaza’s fishing fleet a greater area in which to fish rewards Gaza’s rulers – Hamas — for weeks of terror, days and nights in bomb shelters for Israel’s citizens, a good deal of property damage and a number of injuries. In the world of asymmetric warfare, they argue, any value-added accruing to the terrorists following armed conflict is a “win” for the rocketeers. It also sets the table for the massive economic infusion into Gaza that many Washington observers believe is the appetizer for the TeamTrump peace plan due to be revealed after Israelis vote on April 9.