Last Friday, just a few days after the Gaza Strip had reported its first cases of the coronavirus, militants fired a rocket at the Israeli city of Sderot. Khaled Abu Toameh comments:
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the March 27 rocket attack, . . . there is no way that it could have taken place without the knowledge or approval of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The [attack is an apparent attempt] to distract from the failure of Hamas and PIJ to provide their hospitals with medical equipment and medicines to curb the spread of the disease. In the past decade, the two groups have invested millions of dollars in amassing weapons and building tunnels to infiltrate Israel and kill or kidnap Jews.
There is another reason why the rocket was fired from Gaza toward Sderot: to remind Palestinians, Israelis, and the rest of the world that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has zero impact on the ideology and plans of extremist Muslim groups. [The attackers] wished to send the message that their desire to kill or harm Jews remains as strong and relevant as ever, even during a global health crisis, when tens of thousands of people are dying after being infected with a lethal virus.
The last rocket that was fired from Gaza toward Israel cost money that could have been used to purchase ventilators and protective gear for Palestinian patients and medical professionals. The leaders of Hamas and PIJ, however, believe that the jihad against Israel is worth more than the many lives threatened by a pandemic. . . . If and when the virus spreads in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians living there can point the finger of blame directly at PIJ and Hamas.