Quiet Returns to South After Reported ‘Understandings’ With Hamas

An Israeli soldier sits next to armored personnel carriers (APCs) near the border with Gaza, in southern Israel, Monday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The IDF reopened some roads and lifted limitations on public gatherings and outdoor activities in the Gaza border area, after Gaza sources said that a “quiet for quiet” cease-fire deal had been worked out between Hamas and Israel by Egyptian and U.N. mediators. The report was not confirmed by Israel, but the indications were that understandings had been reached, as life returned to normal in southern Israel, with public transportation, including trains, once again running, and schools reopened after being closed Sunday. With that, several regional councils said that they would keep schools closed Monday, preferring to err on the side of caution.

The Gaza reports said that both sides had laid down their arms, with Israel promising to undertake steps to make life easier for Gazans. Among them was a guarantee that Qatari funds for Hamas would be allowed into Gaza on a monthly basis without interference, and that the Gaza checkpoints would reopen and operate as usual, as well as a restoration of the 15 mile fishing limit off the Gaza coast. Israel agreed, the reports said, but said that Gaza border riots and other acts of terrorism would “negatively affect” the deal.

The report said that Islamic Jihad reluctantly accepted the arrangement. Hamas said that if Israel did not follow through on those commitments “and remove the siege on Gaza, the understandings will collapse” and the Gaza terror groups would resume their rocket fire against Israel.

The last Red Alert sirens sounded in the Eshkol region at about 2:30 AM, with the evening hours peppered with attacks, one of which killed Reb Pinchas Menachem Presowzman, Hy”d, of Ashdod. He joined three other victims of the rocket fire – Moshe Feder, Hy”d, killed when a rocket his vehicle; Moshe Agadi, Hy”d, who was killed outside his house in Ashkelon; and a Bedouin community member, Zayad Alhamada, who was killed when a Hamas rocket hit an Ashkelon factory. As the attacks continued, the IDF continued to slam Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets until the early morning hours.

Since Friday night, when the latest round of fighting commenced, Gaza terrorists fired some 700 rockets at Israel. 240 of them were shot down by Iron Dome defense missiles, with the majority of the others falling in open areas. The IDF hit over 350 “high quality” targets in Gaza, the army said.

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