Jerusalem – Eight mortar shells were fired at the western Negev on Sunday morning. One of them struck near a residential building on Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. No one was hurt, though the building was damaged.
Meanwhile, six rockets and 23 mortar shells were fired from Gaza Strip into Israel on Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday morning, however, a “Grad” Katusha missile was also fired from Gaza, landing near the Northern Negev town of Netivot for the first time. The Jewish community of Netivot, an official twin city of the Jewish community of Philadelphia, had never been hit before.
The firing of a Katusha rocket means an escalation in rocket fire from Gaza, since the size, velocity and precision of the Katusha rocket makes it a more lethal weapon that the unguided Kassam missiles which has been fired on the Western Negev over the past seven years.
Israeli Intelligence Confirms Hamas, Fatah Talking Again
After three and a half months of no contact, an Israeli intelligence official confirmed talks between Fatah and Hamas have indeed resumed.
The Israeli intelligence official assessed that Hamas is eager to renew dialogue with Fatah in the hopes it will lead to a lifting of the economic sanctions on Gaza, yet insists on heading a unity government if one is established.
The official also predicted Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine would take action to torpedo the peace conference scheduled to be held in November, saying that “Hamas would not make do with merely boycotting the conference. Rather, they believe that Hamas is likely to step up its efforts to perpetrate bombing attacks inside Israel by means of its activists in the West Bank… If they fail to set a large-scale terror attack in motion then they are expected to step up the volume of rocket fire on the communities of the western Negev.”
Israelis Report Stone-Throwing By Arabs
Seven years after the riots of Israeli Arabs in October 2000, the Israeli Arab village of Umm el-Fahm, Route 65 (the Wadi Ara road), only a few miles from Israel’s coastal road, is becoming a location for Arab stone-throwers against Israeli Jewish drivers.
Over recent months, dozens of Israeli drivers have reported stones thrown at them while they were driving, and another similar incident was noted over the weekend. Area residents and police are no longer in doubt: this is a warning light that reaches far into the distance.
“All stone-throwing on a main highway, particularly Route 65, is taken very seriously,” said the commander of the Israeli Arab police station, Dep. Cmdr. Kobi Shabtai, “because a stone hitting a car going fast on the highway can do very serious damage.”
Drivers traveling on the Wadi Ara road are not the only ones under threat of the stones. On another main road that traverses Israeli Arab areas, twelve cars in which Jewish women were riding were stoned in recent months. Mr. Shabtai said, “We are separating each area in terms of its characteristics and the population there. We cannot prevent every isolated incident of stone-throwing, but the moment we spot the beginning of a phenomenon, we set aside all the required resources.”
©The Bulletin 2007