Israel Report
For the first time in while, Hamas is playing an active role in firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli communities. Beyond this, it does not restrain the Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees as it did in the past. Two years have elapsed since Israel's Gaza operation and Israeli officials estimate that its deterrent effect has been eroded as result.
Ha’aretz reports that skirmishes are likely to continue in the days ahead. This year, some 180 rockets and mortar shells fired by Palestinians have landed in Israel (and more than 200 shells and rockets landed by accident in Gaza). On Wednesday, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor warned in an interview with Israeli Army Radio that continued rocket fire could prompt Israel to launch a new operation to quell the fresh round of missile attacks.
Despite the escalation in Palestinian attacks from Gaza, Israel's security cabinet has decided to ease restrictions to allow the export of goods from Gaza beginning next Sunday. The first export will be peppers, which will be transferred via the Kerem Shalom crossing to Ashdod Port where they will be shipped to Europe for sale. In addition to produce, Palestinians will be allowed to export furniture and textiles.
In other news, Israel has approved a multimillion dollar plan to renovate Herodion, a winter palace of King Herod.
    Israel said Tuesday it would invest $4.5 million in restoring the site because of its connection to Jewish heritage. Herod's most famous project was renovating the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.