The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night in retaliation for the two rockets that had been fired in the morning from the Palestinian enclave towards central Israel.
— Aleph א (@no_itsmyturn) January 1, 2022
A Hamas target located west of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip was reportedly hit by the Israel Air Force. IDF artillery targeted sites in the northern Gaza Strip as well. Additionally, IDF tanks fired at Hamas posts along the shared border.
During the strikes, Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip reportedly launched a number of test rockets towards the sea. Operatives belonging to terror groups also fired anti-aircraft guns and SA-7 surface-to-air missiles towards Israeli Air Force helicopters.
Early Saturday morning, two rockets launched from Hamas-run Gaza fell in the Mediterranean Sea near central Israel, one off the coast of Tel Aviv and the other off the coast of Palmachim south of Rishon Lezion.
While Hamas claimed that the rocket fire was triggered by bad weather, the Israeli military believes that the attack was carried out by Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Nevertheless, “the terrorist organization Hamas is responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip and bears the consequences of terrorist acts from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
The spike in tensionscomes amid a wave of Palestinian terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of practicing “hideous policies of ethnic cleansing and organized terrorism” in his first public comments since meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Abbas spoke on the 57th anniversary of the launch of the first attack on Israel by his ruling Fatah faction.
“The anniversary of the launch of our revolution comes under extremely critical and difficult circumstances due to the continuation of the heinous Israeli occupation, the escalation of its repressive practices and persecution of our people, the theft of our land and natural resources, the stifling of our economy, the withholding of our tax funds, and racial discrimination,” Abbas reportedly said.
He praised the Palestinian security prisoners held in Israeli jails for their “sacrifices and patience,” stressing that Ramallah will not “abandon them or their families.” Abbas also hailed the “heroes of the popular resistance.”
The United States announced it would transfer $99 million to UNRWA, the UN branch serving Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The restoration of aid is geared towards providing “education, health care, and emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children and families during a time of need.”
The U.S. is proud to announce $99M for UNRWA to provide education, health care, and emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children and families during a time of need. U.S. remains focused on the agency’s accountability, transparency, neutrality, and stability.
— Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau (@StatePRM) December 30, 2021
In April, Washington declared its intention to restart funding, pledging a total of $150 million to the controversial agency. The decision by US President Joe Biden came after his predecessor, Donald Trump, had cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
HonestReporting, in an April 12 article, pointed out that Biden’s plans might run afoul of legislation that restricts the US from transferring funds that could be used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Hamas to incentivize terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Moreover, UNRWA has for years been plagued by allegations of antisemitism. In a report released in August, UN Watch documented 22 recent cases of UNRWA staff violating the agency’s rules. In one incident, West Bank-based teacher Husni Masri openly expressed online his thoughts on how Jews created the coronavirus, are determined to eradicate Islam and, more broadly, control the world.
As Israel ushers in 2022, the Jewish state’s population stands at nearly 9.5 million, according to estimates by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Some 74 percent of the country’s residents are Jewish. Another 21 percent of Israel’s inhabitants are Arab, with 5 percent identifying as neither.
The population over the past 12 months increased by almost 2 percent.
A total of about 25,000 Jews made Israel their home in 2021, a record-breaking increase of 30 percent compared to 2020. Immigration from the US reached a 48-year high.
An estimated 184,000 babies were born in Israel.
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