You would think after having launched more than 700 rockets into Israel in one day that Palestinian militants in Gaza had depleted their weapons supply.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that Hamas has a stockpile of 10,000 rockets and is more than willing to use them to achieve its goals of wiping Israel off the map.
“Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have the capability to launch a thousand rockets a day for a whole month,” Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Nahala bragged to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar network.
He claimed that forces in Gaza had improved their capabilities and possessed rockets with half a ton of warheads.
“In the last round of conflict, Palestinian factions limited themselves to medium-range fire,” he said. “In the next confrontation with Israel, rockets will be fired not only at Tel Aviv, but at all Israeli cities, whatever the consequences.”
Of course, this is mere rhetoric. Despite their stockpiles, it is nothing compared to Israel’s capability to destroy. Israel uses extreme restraint in our response, to protect civilian lives in Gaza. However, an escalation into Tel Aviv would bring an Israeli response that would be devastating. This is why they have limited their attacks to the smaller southern communities. On the downside, the status quo is that they now feel free to terrorize and traumatize our southern citizens.
The paper reported that most of the rockets are made with “crude material” smuggled into Gaza via tunnels from Sinai. Hamas deputy leader in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, said they would not agree to a real ceasefire “as long as the enemy is on Palestinian land and Gaza is besieged.”
Hamas threatens to use the rockets to “break the siege” of Israeli control on the transfer of goods into Gaza. Both Israel and Egypt as well as the Fatah-led Palestinian government have blockades on Gaza.
The economic situation in the coastal enclave is unsustainable with high unemployment and daily limits on electricity and running water. Gazans themselves are protesting the situation but Hamas has an iron rule over their residents. Freedom of speech is not a right in Gaza.
If they were willing work with Israel instead of seeking to liquidate the Jewish country, we could help them set up an thriving economy quickly. But peace is not part of the Hamas/PLO agenda.
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to cause misery and suffering to the Palestinians in Gaza,” U.S. Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt said.