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Rockets in the South and Israeli-Egyptian Relations

Rockets in the South and Israeli-Egyptian Relations

August 24, 2011

Social Sciences & Humanities

The Jewish Week — Israelis in southern Israel were on edge this week, hoping that a shaky cease-fire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip would hold after terrorists there fired more than 100 rockets into Israel at the end of last week.

This is causing many people to have what one of our BGU colleague described as, “PMSD, periodic missile stress syndrome — just waiting for the next one to fall.”

Prof. Yoram Meital

Prof. Yoram Meital

More than 500,000 Israelis had to return repeatedly to their bomb shelters as the sirens went off. Beer-Sheva’s 200,000 residents get a one-minute warning to get to safety because it is about 25 miles from Gaza.

At least 30 rockets were reportedly fired at the city, known as the capital of the Negev, last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Many of them were intercepted by the newly deployed Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system that shoots down medium-range rockets in mid-air.

Prof. Yoram Meital, chairman of the Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said Israeli-Egyptian relations “went through a severe crisis last week” after Israel accused Egypt of failing to guard against Gaza terrorists sneaking into Israel through the Sinai.

Regarding Hamas, Meital said that because it controls the Gaza Strip “it is on the shoulders of Hamas leaders to impose a cease-fire on other smaller Palestinian groups. It is not in the interests of Israel, Hamas or Egypt for there to be a further deterioration [in relations]. We hope the cease-fire will be kept, but no one here is naïve enough to think this is the final solution to these basic differences.”

Read more of Meital’s analysis and several firsthand accounts of rockets fired (including from Yoram Meital’s son Jonathan) in The Jewish Week >>