Daily Israel Report

IDF Commander: Israel Holding 'Some Dialogue' with Gaza

Israel is conducting some sort of dialogue with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, says the head of the IDF’s Gaza Division.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 5/4/2013, 1:30 AM

Soldier at Gaza security barrier
Soldier at Gaza security barrier
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel is conducting some sort of dialogue with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, the head of the IDF’s Gaza Division, Brigadier-General Mickey Edelstein, said on Friday.

Speaking at an event with high school students, Edelstein referred to the recent occasional rocket attacks by Gaza-based terrorists and said Israel maintains "a degree of dialogue" with officials in Gaza to prevent rocket firings.

He would not give any further details but said that Hamas is working to stop the rocket fire. Recent reports claimed Israel has been holding secret negotiations with Hamas, mediated by Egypt, since the end of the Pillar of Defense counterterrorism operation in November. Hamas later denied this.

"We do not want to go back to a world where Israelis have 15 seconds to enter shelters,” said Edelstein. “Today Hamas and other factors in Gaza are working to stop the firing of rockets. They do not always manage to do it, and wherever they fail – the IDF acts.”

Despite the ceasefire that was reached with Hamas following Operation Pillar of Defense, terrorists are still firing rockets at Israel. The latest incident was on Thursday night, when terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets at the Eshkol region.

No casualties were reported, and the rockets did not cause damage to property.

Analysts have said that despite the occasional rocket attacks in recent weeks, signs point to Hamas seeking quiet in Gaza for the foreseeable future.

The latest evidence is the quiet that followed Israel’s assassination of a senior Gaza terrorist. The IAF killed terrorist weapons expert Haitham Ziyad al-Mishal in a rocket strike.

While previous such operations have been met with Hamas threats and instant rocket attacks, Mishal’s death passed in relative silence.

Another sign of Hamas’ plans is its transfer of many members of its armed forces from the front lines of anti-Israel terrorism to internal enforcement of Hamas rule. Hamas members are increasingly sent to shut down demonstrations in Gaza and enforce civil law.

Hamas is also cracking down on radical Salafists which have claimed responsibility for several of the latest rocket attacks. On Thursday the movement said it had arrested several Salafists “for security and criminal reasons.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)