War in Israel updates: Historic rocket fire; Loay Alshareef calls for peace

Alshareef appeared on the above i24 broadcast on May 16, 2021.

Hamas fire record-rate of rockets at Israel

By Rachel Brooks

May 16, 2021 

On May 16, the Israel Defense Force reported that the Hamas and PIJ operating out of Gaza had broken historical rhetoric in rocket fire.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired 3,100 rockets from Gaza in the past 7 days. That’s the highest daily rate of rocket fire that Israel has faced in the history of the country. The threat is real. Millions of Israelis are living under fire. We will continue to defend ourselves,” tweeted the IDF on May 16.

The record rocket fire has also resulted in a high risk to Gaza’s citizen life. The IDF estimated that one in seven of the rockets fired at Israel by Hamas misfired, resulting in approximately 20 Gaza civilian casualties.

“Hamas and PIJ have fired 2968 rockets at Israel in the past week. 439 of those rockets misfired and crashed into Gaza, causing around 20 Palestinian casualties. That’s 15% of their launches. Think of it this way: About 1 in 7 rockets that Hamas fires—it fires at its own people,” tweeted the IDF, earlier on May 16.

Also on May 16, Nir Barkat, a former mayor of Jerusalem and a Likud MP party member, appeared on I24 News to discuss Israel’s next steps in the defense campaign against Hamas.

“No sovereign country in the world would agree to sit and wait to be fired upon,” said Barkat. He then noted that to evaporate Hamas’ motivation to attack again, Israel must be relentless in its retaliation.

Barkat reiterated that Israel’s only intentional targets are the infrastructure of terrorist organizational constructs. He stated that the intention is to set Hamas back 30 years by destroying their infrastructure.

”We have no quarrel with civilians, we do not want to hurt any civilians. It is the exact opposite of what Hamas does. Hamas targets and hides behind civilians,” said Barkat.

Barkat also noted that Israel has no quarrel with the international press.

“We want the press to continue their work all over the world. However, we will not let terrorists hide behind them,” said Barkat. He referred to the IDF airstrike on Al Jalaa tower which housed the Al Jazeera, Associated Press, and other media outlet bureaus in Gaza. He stated that, once the press was fully evacuated from Al Jalaa, Israel took the infrastructure down.

As the conflict raged on, Loay Alshareef, a peace activist from the United Arab Emirates, likewise appeared on I24 news to discuss the future of the Arab-Israeli peace process.

“As a social media influencer, content creator, and peace activist, I wish that this conflict would have never happened. We will work double and even triple what we are doing now on the process of bringing Arabs, Muslims, and the Jews together for peace in the region,” said Shareef, noting that the conflict between the Hamas and Israel was “very complicated.”

Shareef stated that there must be an end to the cycle of violence in the region. He stated that he was optimistic that the relationship between the two nations would not be damaged. He spoke that, from his perspective, even he as a peace activist found the Israeli police’s storming of Al Aqsa mosque to stop the riots there as “very provocative.” However, due to the complex nature of the conflict, he noted that he believes it is in the best of public interest to focus on solutions rather than problems.

“What happened happened, now let us focus on how to fix this,” said AlShareef. He stated then that the first thing he believed should be in focus is achieving an immediate ceasefire.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise appeared on the western media Face the Nation to explain to the west the strategies of Israel. Netanyahu likewise explained to Face the Nation that, in addition to the media bureaus that were destroyed in the highrise Al Jalaa building, there was also an organizational office of the Palestinian jihad organizations. He stated that this made the building an internationally legal target and that all possible precautions were taken to evacuate noncombatants.