Hamas launches rocket attack against Israeli nuclear reactor, expands targeting of Israeli population centers

The Israel Project

Hamas launches rocket attack against Israeli nuclear reactor, expands targeting of Israeli population centers

WSJ: Tehran supplied arms to Gaza, “fueling Middle East terror”

PA mulls International Criminal Court bid

Hamas on Wednesday claimed credit for a rocket barrage targeting Israel’s nuclear reactor in the city of Dimona, issuing a statement boasting that the terror group’s fighters had attempted to hit the reactor with long-range M75 rockets. Reports confirmed that three rockets were launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip toward Dimona, and that Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system knocked one out of the sky and allowed the other two to pass by and land in open areas. Palestinians launched at least 82 rockets at various Israeli population centers over the course of the day, including barrages that reached further north than any previous Gaza-based attacks and which at times saw dozens of projectiles fired in the course of a single hour. Israeli sources, up to and including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have sought to emphasize that the attacks constitute a double war crime, inasmuch as the rockets are being launched from within densely packed Palestinian civilian areas and are aimed at Israeli civilian centers. White House and State Department spokespeople had gestured toward a broader dynamic during yesterday’s press briefings, noting that “civilians in Gaza… are subjected to the conflict because of Hamas’s” violence and actions. The Israelis for their part continued to press Operation Protective Edge, with a source telling the Jerusalem Post that “in the past 36 hours, [Israel] destroyed more than what was destroyed during all of Operation Pillar of Defense [in November 2012], and many targets were areas where senior Hamas commanders operate.” Netanyahu Spokesman Mark Regev separately stated that Jerusalem has “repeatedly warned Hamas that [rocket attacks] must stop.”

Wall Street Journal editorial published Tuesday called attention to what the outlet described as Iran’s critical “role in fueling Middle East terror,” a dynamic that the Journal read alongside an ongoing Israeli campaign – Operation Protective Edge – to halt weeks of escalatory rocket and missile fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The Journal specifically cited the March interdiction of a Panamanian-flag shipped whose cargo – which included advanced M-302 missiles – had reportedly traveled from Syria through Iran and Iraq before being stopped by Israeli commandos in the Red Sea en route to the Gaza Strip. Tehran’s denial of any involvement sits uneasily alongside a leaked United Nations report that seemingly confirms the Islamic republic’s role in the shipment while blasting Tehran for violating a UNSC embargo on Iranian arms transfers. Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson Peter Lerner, speaking this week on the recent barrage of rockets, noted that the launch Tuesday of an M-302 rocket was confirmation that Iran has been supplying Gaza with weapons, something that it has long been accused of doing – the 2013 State Department Report on Terrorism, published in April, blasted Tehran for having “historically provided weapons, training, and funding to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.”
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that pressure was building on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that would further jeopardize relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) amid an ongoing Israeli campaign to halt rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state. Abbas reportedlyconvened a meeting of Palestinian leadership on Wednesday afternoon to sign paperwork to join among other institutions the ICC, which would allow the PA to take legal action against Jerusalem for alleged war crimes. The Palestinian push to join international institutions – which reemerged in earnest at the beginning of April, though Abbas at the time had not attempted to join the ICC – had been quickly criticizedfor violating core commitments to avoid unilateralism stretching back to the Oslo Accords. An ICC bid would constitute a kind of “scorched earth” campaign by the Palestinians, what observers increasingly worryis a diplomatic attempt to ascend to and then politicize international institutions. Speaking on a conference call with The Israel Project Wednesday, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren called an attempt by the PA to seek ICC membership a “strategic threat” to be taken “very, very seriously.”
July 10, 2014 | Comments »

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