Militants had launched a rocket from Gaza on the Eshkol Regional Council, three weeks after a ceasefire was agreed by Israel and Hamas. In response to the artillery attack, Hamas said that it was not aware of any rocket fire on Israel and that the group was committed to the truce.
Security sources said late Tuesday that after the rocket fire, Hamas transmitted a message to Israel through mediators, insisting they were honoring the truce and investigating the incident.
Israel told Hamas that it expects the group to act to arrest and punish those responsible for the rocket on Eshkol, lest the IDF be forced to respond. Hamas said it intended to arrest the violators and, shortly after, announced to Israel that they arrested the cell behind the attack – assumed to be members of a rebellious faction.
After receiving the update, Israel sent a clear message back to Hamas: "We judge you by your acts and not your words; if those who violated the truce are not dealt with forcibly, we will be forced to act."
The rocket did not cause any damage or injury, though Gaza-border residents are concerned that the delicate truce is coming slowly undone.
Immediately after the end of the fighting in Gaza, Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a public address, claimed that during the operation "Hamas was severely beaten" but also noted that it was difficult to know whether the government's target – a lasting calm – was achieved.
Netanyahu also said then that Israel would not tolerate even a 'sprinkle' on its territory, though that promise has not quelled the concerns of Eshkol's residents.
"This is the real test," said one of the regional council's residents. "If there is no response, there will be more rocket fire. Rosh Hashana is here, and there is a feeling of déjà vu; it is now up to the prime minister, if he does not respond there will be a second rocket, and a third, and a fourth."
Yoav Zitun contributed to this report.