IDF sources have warned Western Negev municipal leaders that Hamas is preparing to renew its rocket attacks - and that it has the wherewithal to do so with fury.

The current ceasefire has held, more or less, for three weeks, but it is not expected to last for a long time.  Hamas and other Gaza terrorists have fired an average of two shells or rockets at Israel every three days. 

Hamas overthrew Fatah control of Gaza in June of last year, and was able to amass at least 230 tons of explosives, 30,000 rifles, over six million rounds of ammunition, and scores of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles by the time they had been in power just six months.  Many military experts have warned that Hamas is using the ceasefire period to amass a tremendous arsenal of weapons and explosives, for use against Israel when the time is ripe.

In the meantime, Hamas continues to "drip-drop" mortar shells and rockets at Israel, with the goal of getting Israel used to a situation in which Hamas is "allowed" to respond to perceived Israeli violations of the ceasefire. 

"The problem with the government's work plan is that the work plan of Hamas is not waiting for 2010 or even for 2009," Yellin said.

Analyst Yehonatan D. HaLevi says that Hamas uses "subcontractors" - small terrorist groups seemingly unlinked to Hamas - to fire many of the rockets is designed, so as to distance the ruling terror organization from official responsibility.  Members of the Hamas leadership are afraid of an Israeli response at them personally, and some of them have gone into hiding for various durations of time.

This morning (Thursday), the ceasefire's first fatality was registered, when IDF soldiers shot and killed a Gaza Arab as he attempted to cross the security barrier near the Kissufim crossing. Though he was not armed, he ignored repeated warnings to stop, and was finally shot in accordance with IDF guidelines.

"The area has seen numerous attempts to infiltrate Israel and plant explosives [along the fence]," an IDF spokesman said aferwards. "When Palestinians attempt to cross into Israel, they are considered terror suspects." The army has published warnings to Gaza Arabs that whoever approaches within 1,000 feet of the security fence does so at the risk of his life.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has backtracked on its promise to provide rocket-protection to all western Negev communities within range of Hamas rockets.  Some fortifications for communities within 4.5 kilometers of Gaza are being worked on, but the government has put the rest of the project on hold due to what has been called "budgetary constraints."

Chaim Yellin, head of the Eshkol District Municipal Council, told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine that he was told by the Prime Minister's Bureau that the project will be considered again in 2009 for possible implementation in 2010.  "The problem with this work plan is that the work plan of Hamas is not waiting for 2010 or even for 2009," Yellin said.