Israel responded Monday evening to a condemnation issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry slamming Israeli retaliatory attacks Gaza the previous night following rockets fired from the Strip earlier into Sderot.
"The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations," said a statement from the Israeli foreign ministry. "Israel will continue to defend its civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law and our conscience. Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others."
The statement came several hours after a Turkish news agency quoted the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday strongly condemning Israel's actions
In a statement released by the ministry it was said that the new Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal—which was officially ratified by the Turkish parliament at the end of the week—does not change Ankara’s fundamental stance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The normalization of relations with Israel does not mean that we have to remain silent about attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the statement read. “On the contrary, we will continue to defend the Palestinian issue in the face of Israeli actions which violate international law and are contrary to basic human morality.”
Shortly after Israel's original response, other senior officials were quoted as saying: "We have clarified for Turkey that we will not allow them to lash out at us. Overall the reconciliation with Turkey will continue as usual and will not slow down. There is no need to become excited over the damning criticism by Turkey. We never though Erdogan would become a Zionist overnight. Obviously he has to pay lip service to his Hamas allies. By the same token, we are not suckers and we won’t ignore the baseless condemnation of the legitimate attacks on Gaza.”
Israel launched a series of fresh strikes on Hamas targets throughout Sunday night after a Code Red rocket alert was sounded in Sderot and Sha'ar Hanegev just before 2:30pm on Sunday.
Shortly afterwards, an explosion was heard, and a rocket was found between two residential houses in Sderot. There were no injuries or damage, though forces were immediately dispatched to the area.
The response of the IDF signalled a departure from the norm as it usually retaliates once during the hours immediately following the rocket fire or the night after. On this occasion, explosions could be heard throughout the night by residents of towns bordering Gaza.
The strikes were predominantly carried out by the Israel Air Force and Israeli artillery units on a Hamas military wing position in Beit Hanoun in the north Gaza Strip, from which the rocket was launched earlier that afternoon. One of the targets was a military outpost belonging to Hamas’s security apparatus.
Commenting on the attacks, high-ranking Israeli officials said that "the hits that Hamas took last night are the hardest they've taken in Operation Protective Edge."
Just a few hour after the Hamas rocket fire into Israel, the organization’s military wing staged a parade in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip during which they presented rockets produced by the group and bragged about terrorists from the commando unit. Tiny prison cells were also exhibited at the parade bearing the words, written in Hebrew: “Prison for the enemy,” an apparent hint at future kidnapping attempts.