Officials: Gaza Strip Powder Keg Nearing Eruption
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel over the weekend after thousands of Palestinians rioted along the security fence as part of an initiative dubbed “No Negotiation, No Conciliation, No Recognition of the [Israeli] Entity.” The renewed tensions – which prompted Israel to deploy additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense batteries to the South – comes despite a loosely defined cease-fire forged earlier this year between Israel and Hamas that prevented a fourth full-blown conflict over the past decade. It also comes on the backdrop of a major flare-up in May, when Gaza-based groups launched some 700 projectiles at Israeli towns and cities, to which the Israel Defense Forces responded by striking hundreds of targets in the coastal enclave, the army’s largest operation since the 50-day war against Hamas and others in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The latest rocket fire was apparent retaliation for the IDF’s killing of a Hamas member during border protests last week, an act the military called a “misunderstanding,” as the targeted individual was reportedly trying to prevent youths from penetrating into Israeli territory. Meanwhile, Egypt dispatched a delegation to Gaza in a bid to restore calm, even as Hamas was threatening to escalate the situation while blaming Jerusalem for failing to abide by the terms of the truce agreement. Whereas Hamas is demanding a total end to the blockade on Gaza, Israel has reportedly offered to ease restrictions on the flow of goods into the enclave – including tens of millions of dollars in Qatari cash – and green-lighted additional development projects there.