The Israeli military early yesterday struck Hamas militant sites in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire toward Israel the previous night that coincided with the signing of normalization agreements between Israel and two Arab nations at the White House in Washington.
The barrage against Israel began on Tuesday night just as the ceremony in the US capital was getting underway to formalize the new agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Two Israelis were lightly wounded.
The rocket fire continued overnight, with sirens sounding across southern Israel. The Israeli military said five projectiles landed in open areas, with the rest intercepted by the nation’s rocket defense system.
In response, the military said that it struck about 10 sites belonging to Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, including a weapons and explosives manufacturing factory, underground infrastructure and a military training compound.
The renewed exchange offered a stark reminder that the festive events in Washington would likely do little to change Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
In addition to the bilateral agreements signed by Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, all three signed a document dubbed the “Abraham Accords,” after the patriarch of the world’s three major monotheistic religions.
The Palestinians are opposed to the agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, viewing them as a betrayal of their cause by the Arab nations, which agreed to recognize Israel without securing territorial concessions.
They have vowed that the agreements, and any others that might follow, would not undermine their cause.
Neither US President Donald Trump nor Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the Palestinians in their remarks at the signing ceremony, but both the Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers spoke of the importance of creating a Palestinian state.
Upon his departure back from Washington, Netanyahu said that he was not surprised by the rocket attack or the timing.
“They want to take peace backwards, but they won’t succeed,” Netanyahu said. “We will strike hard against all those who seek to harm us and reach out a hand in peace to all those whose hand is reached out to peace with us.”
Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007, when it seized power from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority. Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on the coastal territory since.
A number of Palestinian militant groups operate in Gaza, but Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks and typically responds to rocket fire with airstrikes on militant targets.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries in Gaza.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller skirmishes since 2007.
Egypt and Qatar have brokered an informal ceasefire in which Hamas has reined in rocket attacks in exchange for economic aid and a loosening of the blockade, but the arrangement has broken down on a number of occasions.
Israelis have warmly embraced the agreements with the UAE and Bahrain, which are only the third and fourth Arab nations — after Egypt and Jordan — to recognize Israel.
City Hall in Tel Aviv was lit up with the word “peace” in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
In Jerusalem, authorities projected the flags of the US, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain on the walls of the Old City.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy