As Stand for Israel is reporting, the Israeli Air Force has carried out airstrikes in Gaza, in retaliation for rockets fired into Israel, as well as the continued fires being set by terrorist kites from the Gaza Strip. The Times of Israel's Avi Issacharoff writes that while neither side seems to want further escalation, Hamas' refusal to engage in dialogue and continuing violence could very well lead to all-out war:
The military says it struck nine targets associated with Hamas and other terror groups. Among them were a structure belonging to Hamas’s maritime forces that Israel has already blasted many times, a training facility for Hamas’s military wing, and a weapons manufacturing facility. This list seems to have already featured in previous rounds of combat.
The headline of this round is of course the fire kite terrorism. It has turned into a serious threat to southern Israel, and a main weapon in Hamas’s arsenal, with a variety of explosives and incendiary devices rigged to kites and balloons. Hamas, causing immense damage in Israel, along with helpless outrage in the face of such a primitive weapon, seems to have found its enemy’s weak spot: The kites look great in local and international news reports and have even become the subject of a sketch in “Eretz Nehederet,” Israel’s most popular comedy and satire show.
Israel has threatened Hamas in various ways regarding the kites, including firing warning shots. But at the end of the day, the Israeli messages haven’t made an impression. Every day, members of Hamas’s military wing make a focused effort to launch more and more kites and increase the damage to the residents of Israel’s south.
That is what led to the Israeli reaction overnight in the form of strikes in Gaza. Hamas, in turn, has presented its own response, meaning that the group is also trying to send a message — that it won’t let Israel create a “new equation” in which the IDF strikes Hamas targets following kite launches. The price for that is rockets on the south.
But still, the bottom line is that there were no casualties on either side in this round. Israel and Hamas have formulated an undeclared but clear policy — that they aren’t interested in an escalation of tensions or an all-out war — but are continuing to “exchange messages”: In the absence of a diplomatic process, the strikes and rocket launches have become the primary form of dialogue between the sides...