Islamic Jihad: Israel renewing aggression
Terrorist group's spokesman accuses Israel of renewing strikes on Gaza in order to undermine agreements between Palestinian factions. Meanwhile, Knesset Defense Committee members meet with council heads, who complain about Iron Dome's deployment in Beersheba alone
Israel is renewing its aggression towards the Gaza Strip in order to undermine agreements struck between the Palestinian factions, the Islamic Jihad claimed Sunday. The group said two of its members were killed in an IDF strike earlier on Sunday.
Meanwhile, members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met southern council heads in Beersheba, who complained their residents were not being provided with the same protection as in Beersheba, where the Iron Dome system was deployed Sunday.
Sderot Mayor David Buskila complained the government was prioritizing Beersheba over Sderot which has been dealing with the rocket threat for many years. "The army didn't launch Operation Cast Lead over us, but over Beersheba and Ashdod."
Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin welcomed the deployment of the Iron Dome and expressed hope the system will also be deployed outside Beersheba. He warned that should the rocket fire continue beyond Sunday, missiles will reach Rishon Lezion, Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Ra'anana.
Members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (Photo: Eliad Levy)
Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich said that continued rocket fire targeting the city was unacceptable. "When there's war, there's war, but one cannot continue daily life when a missile lands. No country in the world would accept this, and Israel cannot either.
"We cannot live with uncertainty and gamble our residents' lives away. We all understand the cost of another operation, but if there's no choice – then there's no choice."
Committee Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz said: "To me there is no difference between Ofakim, Kiryat Malakhi, Beersheba, Sderot, Netivot and Tel Aviv as far as security is concerned. Security must be the same in all parts of the country."
Mofaz added: "The State of Israel cannot entrench itself behind Iron Domes as life in Gaza continues. That is why we must maintain our attack capabilities and our deterrence. Without deterrence, terror groups will dictate Israel's agenda. The other side watches our leaders and makes a choice. Anyone who hurts the children of Israel must bear the responsibility."
Meeting with council heads (Photo: Eliad Levy)
Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Sahiban also complained his community was being looked over. "Why are we being forsaken? During war the State needs to look after all its citizens, not just Beersheba," he told Ynet.
Abu Sahiban was frustrated over not being invited to the Knesset committee meeting. "The State wants to forsake Rahat."
During Operation Cast Lead one Grad rocket landed in Rahat. "The missile leaving Gaza doesn’t distinguish between a Jew and a Bedouin. We are 22 km from Gaza and Beersheba is further away. I don't understand why I wasn't invited. No Bedouin council head was invited. We are also within missile range."
He also complained over the fact the Iron Dome system wasn't deployed in the Rahat area.
'Israeli strike unacceptable '
Islamic Jihad Spokesman Khalid Al-Batash stressed Sunday that Israel's strike was unacceptable and that the group reserves the right to retaliate to "Israel's crimes." He added that "Gaza was not a sandbag where Israel can test its capabilities, we shall not accept this and sit idly by as aggression continues."
On Saturday, representatives of the Palestinian factions convened and reached a number of agreements including the willingness to commit to a ceasefire on the condition Israel will commit to ceasing its Gaza strikes.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli aircraft attacked a rocket-launching cell in north Gaza. According to sources in the Hamas-ruled territory, two Palestinians were killed and three others were wounded in the strike.
The IDF said that the terrorist cell members were making their way from Beit Hanoun, located in the northeastern part of the Strip, to Gaza City. Al-Batash denied claims suggesting they were planning to fire a rocket.
'Iron Dome not perfect'
The government and security forces are hoping that even if the terror groups decide to realize their threats, the Iron Dome system would be able to provide anti-missile protection, at least in the Beersheba area where it was stationed Sunday.
They also stressed that the system cannot meet all challenges: "Israel has been under a missile threat for the past 20 years, since the First Gulf War," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday.
"I don’t want to create an illusion that the Iron Dome system will provide a perfect solution."
Ilana Curiel contributed to this report
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