Mideast Daily News

Tensions Rising As Gaza Rocket Strikes Israeli Town

By Charles Bybelezer | The Media Line

December 18, 2017

Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel. (Photo: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip damaged a home in a southern Israeli town late Sunday night, but caused no injuries. It was one of three projectiles launched from the Palestinian enclave, which prompted the Israel Air Force to retaliate with strikes on Hamas assets. More than twenty rockets have been fired towards Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump two weeks ago recognized Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital. Israeli military policy dictates that Hamas is held responsible for all attacks emanating from the territory it controls, despite the missiles often being fired by other terrorist groups in the Strip, including the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad. While Hamas reportedly is not interested in a major escalation, its leader has called for a third Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, and protests have been staged daily at the security fence along the Gaza border. It comes as the Palestinian leadership is set to convene a meeting Monday night in the West Bank to devise a new policy for dealing with Israel in the wake of President Trump’s declaration. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described the American policy shift as a “crime” and a gift to the “Zionist movement,” while stressing that Washington had effectively relinquished its role as mediator of the peace process; this, despite the ongoing formulation by the White House of a comprehensive peace plan that is to be rolled out in early 2018. Abbas has directed officials to boycott this week’s visit to Israel and the region by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who will be accompanied by chief American negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

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