IDF: Zero tolerance for Gaza rockets, but Israel's deterrence remains strong

Rocket fire in Sderot

Rocket fire in Sderot

Hamas' long time opposition to Israel's occupation seems to have paid-off in the form of popular support among the Palestinians, especially in wake the of the U.S. president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Jerusalem's status is a fraught issue that many leaders have avoided.

The Israeli Defense Forces on Thursday fired at three sites in the Gaza Strip that they linked to Hamas, in retaliation for a series of rocket strikes.

The government announced a year ago that it would not return the bodies unless the Palestinians agreed to an exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in a 2014 war in Gaza.

Addressing rising tensions amid a sharp increase in the number of rockets being fired from Gaza, and prompting retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, Heller said, "The dynamic there at the moment is like a snowball we're trying to stop". Some of them landed on the Palestinian side of the border.

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The Israeli authorities announced a decision to close the border with the Gaza Strip for security reasons on 14 December. The United Nations partition plan, drawn up in 1947, envisioned the city neither as part of an Arab nor a Jewish state, but instead run separately under an global regime.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the Gaza rockets themselves, but two Israelis were treated for anxiety attacks and a man in his 30s lightly injured his leg while running to a rocket shelter, the Magen David Adom rescue service said.

Of the projectiles launched on Wednesday from Gaza, one fell in Israel without causing damages whereas two others were intercepted.

With gunmen from other Palestinian militant groups showing support for Hamas, Haniyeh added, "We are marching towards Jerusalem, sacrificing millions of martyrs along the way", and the crowd repeated his chants. For Trump, the embassy move also fulfilled an election campaign promise.

After Israel sealed off the territory as part of an ongoing siege, unemployment rose to about 43 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according to the World Bank. Palestinians say that any eventual two-state solution should include the return of East Jerusalem, which would serve as their capital.

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