Annapolis Holding Up IDF Offensive in Gaza

Sderot and Netiv HaAsarah are waiting for the Annapolis summit to end - so that the IDF can enter Gaza and destroy its terrorist infrastructures.

Hillel Fendel ,

IDF mission
IDF mission

Sderot and Netiv HaAsarah, located just north of Gaza, are waiting for the Annapolis summit to end - so that the IDF can enter Gaza and destroy its terrorist infrastructures.

Ziv Volk, deputy security officer of Netiv HaAsarah, says there has been an escalation of violence and terrorism from Gaza, especially since Israel's withdrawal in 2005.  Netiv HaAsarah is located just meters away from the border fence of northern Gaza. Volk says he expects there to be heightened terrorism from Gaza in the period following Annapolis, "because Hamas wants the world to know that without their participation, talks regarding the future of the PA territories will not be fruitful...  The way I see it, Israel will have no alternative other than an organized military re-entry into Gaza."

Local residents feel it is just a matter of time before a major terrorist attack is launched inside their town.  Twice in the past three months, Arab terrorists have attempted to infiltrate Netiv HaAsarah - most recently this past Monday night.  IDF soldiers detected them in time, and killed them in nearly face-to-face combat. The town's First Response Team took up positions along the terrorists' expected route into the community.

Many security experts have voiced views similar to Volk, that Israel will have to invade Gaza to destroy the growing terrorist framework there.

Meanwhile, the army has been put on high alert in the area. "We have instructed the IDF to maintain high alertness around Gaza, and also in Judea and Samaria and the Lebanese border," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday, "so as to be ready for any type of development."

In Sderot, as well, the residents are waiting for Annapolis to end.  No fewer than 110 Kassam rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza towards Sderot and the western Negev over the past three weeks.  One Kassam hit a southern Ashkelon neighborhood on Monday morning, shortly after three other rockets were fired at various Negev areas over the previous night.

Late Friday night, residents were awakened from their Sabbath sleep when a rocket smashed into a residential parking zone, setting three cars on fire.  No one was physically hurt.

No Way to Live
The rockets have made life for Negev residents a series of nervous jumps and a constant search for the nearest bomb shelter. 

Nine mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The first six exploded near the border fence adjacent to southern Gaza. On Wednesday afternoon, one landed inside a Jewish town north of Gaza, and two others fell in open areas in the western Negev. No casualties or damage was caused.

Sderot resident Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Center writes that he asked a senior IDF officer why the army does not kill or capture the Gaza terror leaders, who operate and are interviewed openly and without fear.  The officer said simply, "Annapolis."  Israel does not want to disrupt the preparations for the international summit called by the U.S.

The Hermesh Warning
Kadima MK Shai Hermesh, who lives in Kfar Gaza, just south of Sderot, said two months ago very starkly, "It's a matter of time until a missile hits a classroom or family - and that's going to light the whole entire fire in the Middle East."