One day after a bomb exploded in central Jerusalem, killing a British tourist, Israelis and Palestinians resumed the crossfire that keeps the border with Gaza on high voltage. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, yesterday blamed the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza, any rocket fire from Gaza, even though Islamic Jihad has claimed some of the attacks. Barak's words are added to a series of calls to a large-scale operation to liquidate the Hamas Executive by some Israeli politicians.
The defense minister's statements came after a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Robert Gates, visiting Israel. Gates called on Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace talks calls, interrupted for nearly seven months.

Yesterday began with new Israeli shelling on the Gaza Strip, the army said. Israeli warplanes attacked an alleged training camp of Hamas, as well as tunnels through which all goods entering the Strip from Egypt and an electrical installation, resulting in power outages. Nine Palestinians, including three children, died on Tuesday in similar Israeli raids.

Also yesterday, hours after the bombing, two Grad rockets fired out of Gaza and impacted tens of kilometers inside Israel, which sounded all the alarms in the country. One of the shells landed 20 kilometers from Tel Aviv. This type of shot is a repeat of the scenario prior to Cast Lead, in which the army invaded Gaza in Christmas 2008 and killed 1,400 people in response to rocket attacks.

The Palestinian group Islamic Jihad said in a press conference that five of its members were arrested in West Bank by security forces of the Palestinian Authority, and said they "will respond to Israeli crimes." A day earlier, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad's armed wing had announced that from now on go against targets inside Israel and not just in the villages near the Gaza Strip. Given the verbal and military escalation, Hamas called on Wednesday night to "restore calm" and a return to de facto truce that the Islamist group had with Israel.

In response to the climate of tension in the area, the Israeli daily Haaretz in an editorial on Thursday called on the Israeli government "moderation and smother the explosion rather than go into a new operation in Gaza." And he concluded: "The popular enthusiasm for large-scale operation will only bring more complications to Israel, more convictions and increased isolation." Several analysts reflected on the Israeli press about the options for the Executive to respond to Palestinian rocket fire. Some advocated a tough policy, but others felt that operations such as the devastating Cast Lead have led to greater deterrence, as advocated in his day Israeli leaders.

Meanwhile, Israeli police worked to give the responsibility for the attack that killed a British tourist in Jerusalem. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for an attack that has resurrected the ghosts of the second Intifada. The Israeli political class assumes, however, that the placement of the bomb next to a bus stop was made by a Palestinian militant and much of it has asked the government for a tough response.

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