The rocketing of Israel from Gaza is a most serious terrorist aggression. Israel is exercising its right to self-defense when it responds to attacks on its territory, as any state is required to do.
On Friday evening, September 23, 2005, a grave escalation took place in the security situation of the Gaza Strip. It began when some 20 Palestinians died in an inadvertant explosion of a Hamas truck filled with munitions as it was participating in a military parade in the Palestinian town of Jabalya near Gaza City.
Hamas blamed Israel for the blast and began firing volleys of Kassam rockets at Israel. Israel strenuously denied these accusations (a denial which was supported by the Palestinian Authority). Subsequently, some 40 Kassam rockets hit the southern Israeli town of Sderot and elsewhere in the Negev over the weekend; wounding five persons, two moderately, causing extensive damage, and forcing inhabitants of the region to flee to bomb shelters and reinforced rooms.
Following the Kassam salvoes, Israeli forces deployed around the Gaza Strip to prevent further attacks and to strike at the terrorist infrastructure of Gaza.
Responding to the Attack
The rocketing from Gaza of communities and their inhabitants in the sovereign territory of the State of Israel constitutes a most serious terrorist aggression. In responding to this attack on its territory, Israel is exercising its right to self-defense, as would any other state.
Ever since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, Hamas has been running amok in the streets, without the Palestinian leadership or public taking action to stop it. The central responsibility of the leadership of the PA is to put an end to the lawlessness within its territory, particularly the terrorism directed against the citizens of Israel.
It is unthinkable that the children of Sderot once again cannot sleep peacefully in their beds and go to school without fear, while their lives, and the lives of thousands of inhabitants of the northern Negev, are being threatened – when the Palestinians of Gaza continue to live normal lives.
The rampaging in Gaza of these armed terrorist organizations, and the absence of any reaction on the part of the Palestinian leadership or its security personnel harms, most of all, the Palestinian public, for it is forced to pay the price. In its abandonment of any restraints, Hamas has brought about the deaths of many Palestinians, among them children, and the wounding of dozens more.
When Israel completed its disengagement from Gaza, it extended its hand in peace – but the response has been not only the irresponsible killing of Palestinians by fellow Palestinians, but the shelling of innocent Israelis in an attempt to somehow justify Hamas’s reckless and deadly behavior.
The PA must fight the terrorist organizations not only for Israel’s sake, but first and foremost on behalf of the Palestinian people. The anarchy in the Gaza Strip is primarily a threat to the Palestinian Authority itself, and to the basic interests of the Palestinian people. Hamas and its ilk jeopardize any future stabilization and peace agreement.
Israel remains steadfast in its desire to further peace in the region, but at the same time will act with all necessary force and determination to halt the firing of Kassam rockets at its citizens – as it will persist in its struggle against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations that seek to destroy any chance for peace and calm in the region.
Because the PA and the Palestinian public have shown themselves to be totally incapable – or unwilling – to fulfill their commitments, Israel is forced to act alone. The international community, including the Arab countries, must make it unequivocally clear to the Palestinians that continued terrorism will mean an end to the Palestinian dream.