Diaa Hadid, writing for Associated Press, continues to purvey comforting fictions about the “pragmatic,” “moderate” Fatah, which of course did nothing to stop these rockets:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Islamic Jihad militants fired three rockets at Israel on Saturday, damaging a house, to avenge the killing of three members by Israeli undercover troops.
The three were killed on Friday in a gun battle in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad threatened revenge, and on Saturday fired rockets from Gaza toward the Israeli border town of Sderot. One rocket hit a house in Sderot, causing damage but no injuries, Israeli radio said.
The fighting pressured a weak truce reached by Israel and militant groups along the Gaza-Israel border in November. Militants have said the truce can only work if Israel also stops operations in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad has frequently fired rockets from Gaza, despite the truce.
Also Saturday, the top leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, dismissed a new U.S. document proposing a May-to-August timeline for easing Palestinian movement and improving Israeli security.
The benchmark document, recently submitted to Israel and the Palestinians, calls on Israel to remove many West Bank roadblocks and improve operations at Gaza’s crossings.The Palestinians are asked to halt rocket fire from Gaza and weapons smuggling into the coastal strip.
Mashaal told the Al Jazeera satellite TV station that Palestinians should not agree to halt rocket fire in exchange for an easing of travel restrictions.
“I swear it’s a joke … the equation has now become: dismantling the checkpoints, in exchange for (giving up) resistance,” he said. “This has become the Palestinian cause.”
Hamas had largely observed the cease-fire, though it fired a barrage of rocket fire last month. Mashaal’s comments were a further signal that the truce is eroding.
Hamas leaders, including Mashaal, have threatened a return to violence if the international community does not lift its sanctions on the Palestinian government, imposed after Hamas came to power last year.
A Palestinian unity government of Hamas and the pragmatic Fatah Party, formed in March, has been unable to break the embargo.
Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told his Fatah Party after a return from Europe this week that he has made no progress toward lifting the sanctions. Most of the world maintains the boycott because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognize Israel.