Terrorist attacks targeting Israelis from Gaza surged last month, according to a new report from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet). While total attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem (nearly all of them employing firebombs) rose slightly from September's levels, mortar and rocket strikes from Gaza more than quadrupled, rising from 23 to 96 in October.
More than 12,800 rockets have struck southern Israel killing 44 civilians since 2001, according to the Israel Defense Force (IDF). More than 800 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel from Gaza this year, the Wall Street Journal noted in a Sunday editorial.
After 80 rockets were fired from Gaza Oct. 24, human-rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky noted that the barrage had sent more than 1 million Israelis scrambling for cover (the equivalent would be 40 million Americans).
"I'm angry that while human rights organizations like Amnesty (International), Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and others do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians, the human rights of Israelis are seemingly not important enough for them" to criticize, Ostrovsky wrote in The Huffington Post. "Is Jewish blood really that cheap?"
"I'm angry that so many people are blind to the fact that Iran, which has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and now seeks to obtain nuclear weapons, is the primary funder and supplier of arms to Hamas," he added.
The terror problem has worsened since Hamas seized power in Gaza five years ago, as the territory has increasingly become a safe haven for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and radical Salafist groups. Israeli defense officials note that Hamas operatives fire rockets from populated areas of Gaza.
"By operating from densely populated areas, Hamas willingly endangers its own people, turning their schools into terror sites and weapons depots," an IDF statement said. It released this Oct. 27 video of terrorists firing rockets into Israel into Israel from Gaza neighborhoods.
Hamas representatives have boasted of the group's willingness to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
"For the Palestinian people death has become an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel," a Hamas representative declared in a 2008 interview. "Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death as you desire life.'"
While Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system and good luck has kept Israeli casualty levels low, "no defensive system is perfect and at some point a Palestinian barrage may take a large toll in lives, forcing Israel to respond in a major way," the Journal observed. "When that happens, Israel will be urged to show 'restraint' by the usual diplomatic suspects."