Qassams continue after truce
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Photo: AP
Livni. Called for military action
Photo: AP

'If Hamas wanted, fire would cease'

Jerusalem officials take Hamas condemnation of Qassam fire at Sderot with grain of salt, but decide not to retaliate for now; 'Hamas has previously proven it controls Gaza', official says. Nahal Oz terminal to open at minimum capacity on Friday

Despite the Qassam rocket fire at Sderot and the harsh announcement made by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, according to which an immediate military response must follow any infringement of the ceasefire agreement in Gaza, Israel will refrain from retaliating against the rocket fire, which IDF sources say was not perpetrated by Hamas, but rather other Palestinian factions.


However Jerusalem is taking Hamas' condemnation of the rocket fire with a grain of salt, and one official said Thursday that "if they wanted to, they would stop them. Hamas has previously proven its total control over the Gaza Strip." The official postulated that Hamas is currently attempting to prove its control over the truce in Gaza.


In a security assessment held by Defense Minister Ehud Barak there was no talk of an extensive military operation in response to the Palestinian violations. On Tuesday Islamic Jihad operatives fired three rockets at Sderot, one of which struck an abandoned house, and on Wednesday a rocket was fired and fell in open spaces in the Sderot industrial zone.


In light of the ceasefire tables have turned in the Gaza Strip. While Hamas guards the truce and refrains from violating it, Fatah and Islamic Jihad have been exploiting the situation in order to defy the agreement. Due to intelligence reports saying Hamas is maintaining the ceasefire agreement Israel appears to be content with the closing of border crossings.  

Qassam fired towards Sderot Thursday. (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)


The Nahal Oz fuel terminal will open tomorrow, however, in order to allow for a minimal amount of fuel to be transferred to the Strip, according to the guidelines set by the High Court of Justice on the matter. Security assessments are scheduled to be held in the near future in order to determine the policy for the opening of the Gaza border crossings.


Despite Livni's tough words, the Prime Minister's Office refused to comment on the recent developments of the ceasefire agreement. Early next week Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to meet with Barak and Livni in order to discuss the matter, though a date has not yet been set for the meeting.


The issue will also be discussed at the next weekly government meeting, for which security officials have been invited to survey the issues of the prisoner exchanges with Hizbullah and kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.


Israel is also examining the issue of the ongoing smuggling on the border of Gaza and Egypt, following the Egyptian president's promise to act determinedly against it. Barak has received reports saying American teams have provided Egyptian security forces with special equipment for the spotting of underground tunnels used for smuggling.


פרסום ראשון: 06.27.08, 01:28
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