Palestinians have continued to launch random rockets and menacing arson balloons into Israel from the Gaza Strip including one balloon that landed in the yard of a kindergarten earlier this week and others in residential areas.
Upset by the United Arab Emirates’ decision to declare full normalization with Israel, Gazans rallied at the border with Israel on Saturday as “rioters burned tires, hurled explosive devices and grenades towards the security fence and attempted to approach it,” the Israeli army said.
But the balloon and rocket attacks had been occurring for the past two weeks — causing some 150 fires in Israel — well before the Israel-UAE agreement was announced. Nevertheless, Egypt dispatched a delegation to negotiate a ceasefire in the current violence, but failed to make headway.
While the arson balloons appear to be innocuous and have yet to harm any Israelis, they pose a grave threat as only the wind can control where they land.
“The IDF takes all terrorist activity against Israeli territory very seriously and is prepared and willing to act as much as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens,” the IDF said. “The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz used the apropos metaphor to warn Hamas it was “playing with fire” and that he would “make sure that the fire would be turned on them.”
Israel has struck Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for the past week of balloon and rocket launches, but the terrorist group remains undeterred. It said its people are “ready to escalate and not afraid.” After the announcement of the deal with the UAE, the Palestinian Authority called the Gulf State’s crown prince a traitor.
Nabil Abu Rudeinah, spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the agreement was a “blow to the Arab Peace Initiative and the decisions of the Arab and Islamic summits, as well as an aggression against the Palestinian people.”
“The Palestinian leadership rejects what the United Arab Emirates has done and considers it a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause,” he said. “Neither the Emirates nor any other party has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership shall allow nobody to interfere in the Palestinian affairs or decide on their behalf regarding their legitimate rights in their homeland.”