Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed the renewed Qassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying "this is a blatant unequivocal violation of the understandings in the cease fire agreement."
Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip fired four Qassam rockets into southern Israel Tuesday afternoon, breaking a six-day-old truce between Israel and Hamas, which calls for an end to rocket fire and to Israeli military operations in the Strip.
Two Israelis were lightly hurt in the Qassam attack and two others were treated for shock.
Deputy Prime Minister and Shas chairman Eli Yishai voiced his outrage at the Qassam attack on Tuesday, saying that it was proof that the truce was merely virtual. "This is what we were afraid of. It was unequivocally proven to us that there isn't anyone to talk to, and there is certainly nothing to talk about. These are the buds of Hamas' growing strength which we need to nip immediately."
MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) also responded to the cease fire violation charging that the government had failed. "We abandoned Gilad Shalit and we didn't get a cease fire, which was broken before it even began. The government must respond immediately with outstanding force to the rockets fired on Sderot, otherwise is will lose its power of deterrence and the residents of the Negev will be totally abandoned."
While Islamic Jihad said it would abide by the cease-fire, the group has also said it would reserve the right "to respond to the Zionist violations" of the truce. The rocket attacks were in apparent response to an Israel Defense Forces raid on the West Bank, in which two Jihad militants were killed.
The cease-fire agreement does not include or limit IDF activities in the West Bank.
Gaza's Hamas rulers issued a statement saying that they were still committed to the cease-fire with Israel, despite the small militant group's obvious violation of its terms.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, responded to the attacks by urging "all Palestinian factions to abide by the calm agreement," adding: "Hamas is keen to maintain the deal."
Meanwhile, the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers called Tuesday for Israel and militants in Gaza to respect the cease-fire agreement in full and voiced hope that the truce will last.
The Quartet - made up of the U.S., the European Union, the UN and Russia - issued its statement after a meeting Tuesday, called in response to the rocket attacks.
In the statement, the Quartet expressed its continuing support for Egyptian efforts to restore calm to Gaza and southern Israel and welcomed the period of calm that began on June 19.
"To maintain the calm will be the most beneficial for everybody," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters after the meeting.
The Quartet also expressed support for steady and sufficient supplies of fuel to Gaza and for the immediate resumption of stalled UN and other donor projects there. Tuesday's statement also called on both Israelis and Palestinians to fulfill all of their obligations under the road map plan for peace.
It urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity and for continued Palestinian efforts to fight terrorism.
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