by: Kate Norman
Tuesday, 9 August 2022 | The cease-fire between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the Gaza Strip seems to be holding, allowing Israelis living near Gaza to slowly return to normal life. Israel’s prime minister and defense minister said Israel achieved its goals during Operation Breaking Dawn over the weekend.
Residents of southern Israel—and sometimes central Israel—spent the weekend in bomb shelters, as the PIJ fired over 1,100 rockets toward the Jewish state between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The Israeli military struck over 170 terror targets in Gaza, as well as eliminating several PIJ terror chiefs.
“In Operation Breaking Dawn, Israel reclaimed initiative,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said yesterday in a statement. “It restored Israel’s deterrence. All our goals were achieved.
“The entire senior military command of Islamic Jihad in Gaza was successfully targeted within three days,” Lapid added. “The strength and ingenuity of the Israel Defense Forces dealt a devastating blow to the enemy.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in his own statement that Israel achieved three things during the weekend operation: “Removing the imminent threat from Gaza, maintaining our freedom of action in all arenas,” and “maintaining deterrence, while sending a clear message to our enemies in each of the arenas: Israel is determined to maintain its sovereignty and protect its citizens.”
Of the 1,100 rockets the PIJ launched, over 990 successfully crossed into Israel: 380 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system—a 96% success rate, the IDF said. The other 610 rockets that crossed into Israel fell into open spaces.
More than 200 rockets misfired and fell inside Gaza, the IDF announced. Those failed rockets killed more civilians in Gaza throughout the weekend than Israeli fire did, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ran Kochav said in a media briefing yesterday.
The estimates differ, but somewhere around 45–50 Gazan civilians were killed over the weekend. The IDF estimated some 51 casualties, the Times of Israel reported, 24 of whom were PIJ terrorists. Some 16 were reportedly killed by PIJ rockets that misfired, while 11 died in IDF strikes.
“Throughout the operation, special efforts were made to prevent harm to civilians,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement yesterday. “The state of Israel will not apologize for using force to protect its citizens, but the death of innocent civilians, especially children, is heartbreaking.”
The IDF released videos of two strikes that were called off due to civilians in the area—one in which a strike targeting a PIJ commander was aborted because children were seen playing in the compound.
Lapid in yesterday’s statement had a message for Gaza’s civilians: “There is another way. We know how to protect ourselves from anyone who threatens us, but we also know how to provide employment, a livelihood and a life of dignity to those who wish to live by our side in peace.”
Israel currently issues some 14,000 permits for Gazans to enter Israel for work. This is an economic lifeline for the enclave. It is believed that Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, sat on the sidelines during this round of fighting in order to protect the 14,000 work permits from being revoked and in order to ask Israel to increase the number of permits in the future.
Operation Breaking Dawn came to a close on Sunday night when an Egypt-mediated cease-fire went into effect at 11:30 p.m. Though a few more PIJ rockets were fired just minutes after the cease-fire deadline, the situation has otherwise remained quiet.
Lapid thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel for their role in orchestrating the cease-fire.
“We are continuing our work with the Egyptians to bring our boys home,” Lapid added. “Our job will not be completed until Hadar [Goldin] and Oron [Shaul] of blessed memory, and Avera [Mengistu] and Hisham [al-Sayed] are brought home,” referring to the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers and two prisoners being held in Gaza by Hamas.
The PIJ announced before the cease-fire that part of the agreement was for Israel to release Bassam al-Saadi, the PIJ chief in Judea and Samaria who was captured by Israeli soldiers last week. The agreement also included the release of PIJ member Khalil Awawda, who is on a hunger strike protesting his detention by Israel.
“Israel did not agree to release any of the prisoners,” a senior Israeli diplomatic source told the Jerusalem Post yesterday. “The Egyptians asked, and we will allow a dialogue on the situation of the prisoners” to check in on their condition.
That could prove to be a sticking point, as the PIJ chief, Ziad Nakhaleh, told PIJ-affiliated Palestine Today that the fighting would resume if the prisoners are not released.
Threats will not be taken lightly, according to Defense Minister Gantz in his statement yesterday.
“In the future, should it be necessary, we will launch a preemptive strike in order to protect the citizens of Israel, and defend its sovereignty and infrastructure,” Gantz warned. “This is true on every front, from Tehran to Khan Yunis,” referring to the southern Gaza city.
In the meantime, the people of Israel, from Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon to the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are enjoying peace and quiet after the weekend wailing of the rocket sirens.
Life in southern Israel is going back to normal, as security precautions in the area were lifted yesterday, trains began running as normal and crossings between Israel and Gaza were partially reopening after being closed last week.
Posted on August 9, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, August 9, 2022)
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