Between eight and 12 Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip today, causing no injuries and doing minimal damage in the latest incident in a two week spate of attacks on both sides which have threatened to end a five-month long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Israel’s early response, air strikes notwithstanding, has been to cut off the fuel supply to Gaza causing widespread blackouts and later to block humanitarian shipments, forcing the UN relief agency to halt food distribution in the strip. Vice Premier Haim Ramon had proposed as a next step ordering Palestinians from their homes and using heavy artillery to level their villages.
Rather than escalating the situation further, however, Israel has chosen to temporarily allow the shipment of a limited supply of humanitarian goods, a move that may signal a greater openness to restoring the troubled truce than its officials have previously indicated.
The latest crisis started when Israeli soldiers attacked a house in the Gaza Strip which they alleged was being used to build a tunnel into Israel to be used for kidnapping raids. This sparked a clash, which sparked an Israeli air strike, which sparked a rocket barrage, which sparked more air strikes, and so on. Israeli officials insist that Hamas bears sole responsibility for the conflict.