Analysis

Hamas Fired Gaza Rocket at Central Israel Accidentally, Defense Officials Believe

Israeli army appears cautious not to state this so as not to be perceived as Palestinians' advocate ■ After attack, Egypt asked Hamas to stop use a brand of rocket that is said to be malfunction-prone

A police officer inspects the damage to a house hit by a rocket in Mishmeret, central Israel, March 25, 2019.
Ariel Schalit/AP

As incredible as it may sound, it turns out that Monday's rocket that hit a house and wounded seven people in central Israel – just like the rockets fired at Tel Aviv a week and a half earlier – is explained in Israel as a confined mistake on the part of Hamas.

The Israel Defense Forces apparently took caution this time and refrained from saying this in a public statement, so as not to appear to be defending Palestinians and probably also due to concerns that the Israeli public will find it difficult to believe this account.

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However, it's interesting to note that one of the demands Egyptian negotiators presented Hamas with in recent cease-fire talks was to stop using a specific brand of locally-made rockets, which is said to be prone to malfunctions and uncontrolled launches. A comedy of errors? More like a tragedy. That's the Middle East – every day you learn something new.

>> Read more: As Egypt brokers talks, Israel braces for mass Gaza protests | Analysis ■ Despite ‘quality targets,’ Israeli army strikes in Gaza have little real effect ■ The Egyptian generals trying to douse the flames between Israel and Hamas

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel will only launch a major campaign in the Gaza Strip after exhausting all other options. "We're ramping up security measures around the Gaza Strip. In recent days I've ordered to bolster forces and prepare for a major campaign," he added.

Seven people, six of them related, were wounded in Monday's rocket fire, which hit their home in Mishmeret, situated in the Hasharon region north of Tel Aviv. The house, which took a direct hit, collapsed.

In response, Netanyahu cut short his Washington visit and cancelled his appearance in front of thousands at the AIPAC Policy Conference (but later gave a speech via satellite), whereas the Israeli army initiated limited recruitment of reserve forces and announced troops will begin conducting a drill in the Negev near the Gaza border.

Amos Harel's full analysis will be published on Friday.