Hamas Bombards Israel, Rejects Ceasefire: 'Topple Hamas,' Says Minister
The Hamas terror organization launched two rockets at Israel in the waning hours of the 72-hour ceasefire that began Tuesday morning. And though Israel was offering to extend the ceasefire, and Egypt was urging Hamas to agree to a 72-hour extension, Hamas returned emphatically to war on Friday, launching a barrage of rockets at Israel's southern cities, several of which were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.
Minister of Housing Uri Ariel called on the Israeli government to "topple Hamas," reflecting the likely feeling among many Israelis. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) still have been asked some 40,000 reservists deployed, according to the Times of Israel, and would be ready to re-enter Gaza if asked, though fighting would be intense. It is unclear whether world opinion, which had been rallying against Israel, would tolerate such an invasion.
Though negotiations will continue in Cairo, the ceasefire is over--and, for the sixth time, it is Hamas that has chosen war over peace. Much of the world--outside the United States--blames Israel for the suffering of Gaza, thanks to biased media coverage and pre-existing anti-Israel and antisemitic attitudes. Yet once again, with the war basically over until Friday's attacks, there can be no doubt as to which party is, in fact, must bear the blame.
Update (10:53 p.m. PDT Thursday): Israel has apparently begun to strike targets in Gaza in response to Hamas's renewal of the war, the Times of Israel reports (though others dispute that report). Another terror group, Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, claimed credit for the new rocket attacks--though that does not offer Hamas deniability, as the two groups are both part of the Palestinian delegation to talks in Cairo. The scale of the Israeli response has yet to be determined.