Even as rockets are fired from Gaza and the IDF retaliates against Hamas, the strip’s terrorist rulers, it is clear that neither side wants full-blown conflict. Such is not the case of Islamic Jihad and its Iranian master, however. Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor writes that the IDF must find an answer as Israel’s enemies looks for new ways to destabilize the tenuous situation on the Jewish state’s borders:
Tags: Gaza IDF Iran Islamic Jihad Israel Israel Hayom Terrorism Yoav Limor
The sense in Gaza is that Israel wants to avoid a clash and is hence more susceptible to pressure. Prior to the previous election in April, Gaza’s armed groups also stepped up their attacks and are apparently doing so again.
In April, Israel eventually responded forcefully, which tempered the attacks. Now, however, it is opting for a more measured response. There are three primary reasons for this: The first is that the terrorist attacks, including those perpetrated on Friday and Saturday, were either thwarted or intercepted and didn’t cause damage or casualties. This approach of responding to the aftermath of the attack isn’t fair to Israel’s southern residents, certainly not when Israel responds to the intent of the attack and not its result when dealing with Hezbollah and Iran in the north.
The second reason is the situation in the north. Although the high alert levels along the border were gradually lowered over the past week after Hezbollah’s anti-tank missile attack in Avivim, Hassan Nasrallah’s promise to strike again – apparently via the air – to avenge the alleged Israeli drone attack in southern Beirut, is still in play and obligates the IDF to remain highly vigilant.
The third reason is the situation inside Gaza itself. Hamas doesn’t want a fight with Israel. This is apparently what it conveys through every message and discussion it holds with Egyptian and United Nations mediators, and which reaches Israeli ears. Hamas’ problem right now is domestic: The latest series of attacks, targeting Hamas policemen, painted the organization as an Israeli collaborator, which forced it to somewhat rein in its campaign against its rivals in the Strip.
The result was more violence than usual on the border on Friday. The IDF was forced to respond with sniper fire, which led to the deaths of two protesters. Palestinian Islamic Jihad – which is constantly looking for reasons to disturb the calm, whether out of boredom or on behalf of its Iranian patron – fired rockets at Sderot, the IDF attacked in retaliation, and PIJ launched the drone targeting the armored IDF vehicle patrolling the border, which in turn led to the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza on Saturday night.
This exchange of blows is currently on a low flame, but could easily spiral out of control…