Rockets Hit Homes and Synagogue

EVENING UPDATE

The United States has again blocked the passage of a UN Security Council statement on the conflict, stating:

“the US is engaging in intense diplomatic efforts at the highest levels
to try to bring an end to this conflict.
The US has a role in ensuring any council statement supports these efforts.”

American officials are reported to have made over 60 calls with Middle East officials aimed at de-escalating the current violence. As part of those efforts, President Joe Biden was due to talk to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again on Monday evening.

A false equivalence

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, repeated the US position,

”We believe strongly that Israel has a right to defend itself.
And this false equivalence between a terrorist group – Hamas – that is
indiscriminately launching rockets at civilians, and Israel, which is
responding to those attacks, I think we have to be very, very wary of …”

“Israel has, I think by last count, launched about
2,000 attacks 
on terrorist targets in Gaza.
There were more than 3,000 rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza into Israel.”

It seems likely that the wording of the Security Council statement was the issue. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, insists:

“The entire international community must condemn Hamas,
which uses civilians as human shields,”

And it is not just the United States that recognises Israel’s situation. On Monday, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, voiced support for Israel, sharply condemning the continued rocket attacks from Gaza and assuring Benjamin Netanyahu of the German government’s solidarity.

Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has also expressed his “unreserved support for Israel’s right to defend itself in light of the rocket fire from Gaza.”

 

MORNING REPORT

Hamas continues to fire barrages of rockets at Israel despite reports that it has been requesting a ceasefire for several days now.

Israel’s Defence Forces say that the total number of rockets fired toward Israel since last Monday has reached an astonishing 3,150 – as many as 460 of which failed to cross the border and landed within the Gaza Strip.

The Iron Dome defence system has achieved an interception rate of around 90 percent, even in the context of the large barrages of rockets intended to overwhelm it.

That tactic has produced some success, with hits on buildings in Ashkelon and Ashdod from the barrages fired on Sunday and Monday morning.

In Ashkelon, one rocket caused extensive damage when it scored a direct hit on a synagogue. Video footage from the scene showed Israelis praising God for the "miracle" that the rocket missed the Torah scrolls by just centimetres.

Rocket scored direct hit on synagogue in AshkelonRocket scored direct hit on synagogue in Ashkelon (photo: Avi Roccah/Flash90)

 

Other rockets fell in the Arab-Israeli town of Taibe and some fell near the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Tulkarem – once again showing the indiscriminate nature of the terrorists’ strategy.

Israel carried out another series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Monday 17th May, causing widespread power cuts and damaging many buildings, according to Hamas. No casualties were reported in the immediate aftermath of the strikes.

The IDF said 35 terror targets were hit, including 9 miles of a tunnel system in northern Gaza that they refer to as the ‘C line’ of the ‘Hamas Metro’.

That tunnel system has enabled Hamas to move men and weapons around the Gaza Strip quickly, out of sight of aircraft. It is so extensive that it must have consumed very large quantities of the building materials that Israel has allowed into the Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

It also seems that the tunnel system has weakened some of the buildings in Gaza, causing them to collapse when the tunnels were hit.

Another target struck was a Hamas tunnel shaft near to a kindergarten and a mosque in the south of the Gaza Strip. The IDF highlighted the fact that this location:

“proves once again how the Hamas terror organization deliberately places
its military assets in the heart of civilian populations.”