For the first time since the ceasefire with Hamas came into force, Israeli fighter jets attacked Palestinian Organization military facilities in the Gaza Strip. The bombing on Wednesday night was a reaction to the launch of fire balloons from the coastal strip on Israeli territory, the Israeli army said on Twitter. According to information from security circles in Gaza, several explosions were heard there. No one was injured. The bombing of two Hamas military posts, however, caused great damage.
The so-called fire balloons were reportedly sent out as a protest by the Palestinians against the announced flag march, during which around 5,000 Israeli nationalists marched through Jerusalem on Tuesday. The route also passed through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, which Palestinians found a particular provocation. Several fields had been burned down in southern Israel prior to the march. The Israeli fire service has suggested that the fires were started by fire balloons from Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip. Militant Palestinians repeatedly let such balloons loaded with explosives and incendiary devices fly over the border to Israel in order to cause damage there.
Israel had an eleven-day conflict with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip last month.
According to the authorities, 13 people were killed in Israel and, according to Palestinian accounts, 255 people died in Gaza.
Egypt eventually brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza ruling Hamas that went into effect on May 21.
Israel's foreign minister criticizes protesters
The flag march on the occasion of the so-called Jerusalem Day was originally planned for May 10 and was canceled because of the rocket attacks by Hamas. Last Thursday it was postponed again due to objections to the route. It is intended to commemorate the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War. The demonstrators waved the Israeli flag and sang hymns of the settler movement. Student Judah Powers said he was taking part in the march to show "that as Jews, as Israelis, we have the right to walk every inch of this city." Some protesters shouted "Death to the Arabs".
Israel's new foreign minister, Yair Lapid, of the liberal Yesh Atid party, condemned these statements.
"These people are a disgrace to Israel," he wrote on Twitter.
The “flag march” was also seen as the first test for the new Israeli government.
The new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is a nationalist himself.
The eight-party coalition he led, however, also includes left-wing and moderate parties and, for the first time, an Arab party, the Islamic-conservative Raam party.
Israel annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1980.
The annexation is not recognized internationally.
Israel has declared all of Jerusalem to be its “indivisible” capital, while the Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their own state they are striving for.