Operation Pillar of Cloud has ended after eight days of fighting as Israel's residents in the south endured a tense but quiet night from midnight onwards. Despite the truce and the announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a cease-fire would come into force at 21.00, rocket fire continued from Gaza until midnight, with 13 rockets fired during that period.
A house was hit in Beersheva but no casualties were reported. In Netivot one person was injured by shrapnel and there was major damage to a building. However, from midnight onwards no more rockets were reported. In the past 24 hours 120 rockets were fired from Gaza at Southern Israel.
Despite the cease-fire, mayors and heads of local authorities in the south announced that schools would stay closed today within a 40 kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip. The authorities said that at this stage they still prefer not to take any risks.
The consensus among the local authority heads and residents in the south was that the truce is fragile and would not guarantee long-term quiet. Some demonstrated against the cease-fire.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told “IDF Radio" (Galei Zahal) this morning, "I slept well last night. We brought quiet to the south. I'm happy that there were no more incidents during the night, which was relatively quiet in the south. The experience that Islamic Jihad and Hamas have had in the past few days will deter them from attacking Israel in the near future."
He added, "There are no quick fixes in the Middle East. But I hope that we have put off for as long as possible the next wave of attacks."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 22, 2012
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