While much of Israel's focus of late has been around Jerusalem, due to the months-long wave of terror, the threat of Hamas still looms from Gaza. Israel Hayom's Lilach Shoval and Zeev Klein report that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says that Hamas is improving its offensive capabilities:
In a briefing with military correspondents Ya'alon said Hamas' efforts to smuggle weapons into the enclave were ongoing, and that it was also developing naval capabilities and trying to develop drones using Iranian technology.
"The fact there is no offensive move against us has to do with deterrence and our policy in all sectors," Ya'alon said. "We generate deterrence opposite all [terrorist] groups, while simultaneously allowed the [Palestinian] economy to grow by ensuring goods come through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Gaza in not under siege, what we have in place is a security blockade."
Commenting on the ebbing wave of Palestinian terrorism, Ya'alon noted the decline in the number of terrorist attacks stems from several factors, including a shift in the Palestinian Authority's tactics.
The Palestinian Authority played a key role in promoting incitement when the surge in violence began, he said, "and at first, the [Palestinian] security forces took very little action in known flashpoints, but at some point, they realized the fire may soon turn on them, and started doing more."
Another contributing factor is the success the military, Shin Bet security agency and Israel Police have had in thwarting terrorist organizations' efforts to carry out attacks, as well as undermining incitement activities, Ya'alon said.
The defense minister stressed that the defense establishment remains on high alert "because the situation can change in an instance," adding that the coming Passover holiday will prove a touchstone for the situation on the ground, as any event on the Temple Mount may reignite tensions.