Overnight, it was a reported that a ceasefire agreement had been reached between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, presumably with Hamas and Egypt playing a role in discussions. Both sides officially announced the agreement at 5:30 am Israel time.
Despite the reports, a number of rockets have continued to be fired into Israel, including as recently as 11:00 am Israel time. While these attacks are clearly in violation of any agreement, the volume of rockets is very small compared to the previous 48 hours, and it is hoped that we are now witnessing the end of the fighting.
Over the last two days:
- More than 400 rockets have been fired at Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
- Sirens sounded mainly across the south, but were also heard in central Israeli cities including Tel Aviv, Modi’in and Rishon LeTzion.
- Some 60% of rockets fell in non-populated areas (or fell short, landing inside the Gaza Strip). 90% of those rockets headed towards population centers were successfully knocked out of the sky by the Iron Dome Defense System.
- Seventy-eight Israelis have been treated for injuries
- Twenty-three Gazans were killed in the Israeli retaliatory strikes on terror targets. Of these, at least three were civilians (and included a seven-year-old boy).
- Millions of Israeli citizens stayed home from work and school, mostly under orders from the IDF’s Home Front Command
- Economic damage to industry – mainly as a result of lost working time - has been assessed at around$150 million.
Many Israeli commentators have pointed out the positive outcomes from Israel’s perspective:
- A senior Islamic Jihad operator was killed.
- The return of the “targeted killing” policy should act as a deterrent for other potential terror leaders.
- A large number of terror sites and infrastructures were destroyed in the operation which has been dubbed, “Black Belt” by the military. The IDF says that it achieved all of its objectives.
- The fighting only lasted two days, with no Israeli deaths or major physical injuries, and relatively little damage (especially given the quantity of rockets fired).
- Islamic Jihad had been using its influence to try to prevent a broader understanding and agreement between Hamas and Israel that may have seen increased calm in the region, as well as a prisoner swap. The weakening of the terror group, and the successful attempt to keep Hamas out of this round of fighting, will likely contribute to greater security and stability in the region.
Earlier today, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, "This is a tense morning after several days during which the security of Israeli citizens has been under attack… The State of Israel has again proved in this round of fighting that it will not stand idle when our citizens' security is threatened. On the other hand, we made it perfectly clear that we are not interested in escalation and that the response to quiet will be quiet. Even now, many of our children are not yet back to their normal routines, and neither are their worried parents. I want to express my support for all Israeli citizens, who have again shown their resilience and willingness to follow instructions. It is this resilience that allows our security forces to do their vital work as professionally as possible, as they did this time. My thanks and appreciation, on behalf of all Israelis, to our soldiers and their commanders, members of the security, intelligence and rescue forces."