Rocket Fire Notwithstanding, Kerem Shalom Crossing Operates ‘As Usual’

A Palestinian man stands next to a truck loaded with bags of cement at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and southern Gaza Strip. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

After a night in which Gaza terrorists fired 45 rockets at Israel, they continued their terror campaign by flying terror kites and balloons loaded with flammable material at Israel. Three fires were burning Wednesday afternoon, with dozens of firefighters fighting blazes at Nir Am, Be’eri, and Kfar Aza, all located near the Gaza security fence.

On Wednesday afternoon, Israeli forces targeted a gang of kite-flyers who were getting ready to release terror kites and balloons aimed at Israel. The forces fired near the gang, causing them to run away, but did not hit any of them. A frustrated Education Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking at an economic conference Wednesday afternoon, said that “the time has come for a new policy, one in which we actually shoot the terrorists, and not shoot around them. Our restraint is responsible for their escalation of terror. The moment we hold back we signal that we are prepared to accept what they are doing, that the kites and balloons are unimportant to us – and thus they send more of them. This is how things escalate. Better to use massive force to warn them against this kind of behavior.”

Officials meanwhile continued searching for the remains of rockets that were fired overnight Tuesday. One of those rockets was found Wednesday afternoon inside an IDF base near the Gaza border, Maariv reported. The shell was unexploded, and was removed safely. Earlier, a rocket was discovered in the playground of a kindergarten in the Eshkol region. B’derech nes no one was in the building at the time. Parents were told to keep their children at home while police bomb squad officers worked to determine if there were any other explosives in the area. Police issued a plea to residents to stay away from rockets they find and to inform authorities immediately.

Between 1:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. 45 rockets were fired by Gaza Arab terrorists at Israeli towns in the Gaza border area. The Red Alert warning system sounded throughout the night, driving residents to enter bomb shelters. Seven of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome antimissile defense system.

Meanwhile, the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which hundreds of trucks with merchandise travel on their way to Gaza, was open for business on Wednesday. Hosts of a talk show on 103 FM Radio called the crossing, and asked the person who answered – who turned out to be an IDF soldier – if the crossing was open Wednesday. In response, the soldier answered “of course it is – why wouldn’t it be?” The hosts said that the night before there had been a massive rocket attack against Israel by Hamas, and that often the crossing was closed in the wake of such attacks. The soldier sad that “we are open and operating as usual.” When the hosts pointed out to the soldier that he was on live radio, the soldier said “No problem, if you have a delivery, you can send it through.”