ARTICLE

Crunch Time For Israel, Hamas

News Image By Yoav Limor/JNS.org July 19, 2018
Share this article:

Gaza's rulers may not realize it yet, but Israel ‎has run out of patience. A few more bouts of arson ‎terrorism and a full-fledged escalation will follow.‎

For some reason, Hamas has convinced itself that ‎Israel's warnings are just for show. Its leaders ‎believe that the recent military exercise ‎simulating a ground operation in the coastal enclave ‎is merely a scare tactic; that the massive Israeli ‎airstrikes are a hollow show of force; and that ‎Israel is far too focused on its border with Syria ‎to engage the Gaza frontier.‎


These assumptions, however, are fundamentally ‎flawed. Senior government and defense officials are ‎unanimous in saying that Israel has run out of ‎patience‎. Many still believe that the Israel Defense Forces should not ‎launch a military campaign over incendiary kites and ‎balloons, especially since arson terrorism has yet ‎to claim any lives--something ‎war will do--but ‎these voices are growing ‎increasingly faint. ‎

While there is a consensus among decision-makers ‎that Hamas has exhausted the opportunities offered ‎to it to curb border riots and kite terrorism.‎

Still, politicians or pundits that think Israel is ‎eager to go to war are wrong. Israel does not want ‎to launch another military campaign in the Gaza ‎Strip, which is why it has been sparing no effort to ‎find other countermeasures to quash border riots, terrorist ‎attacks and the onslaught of arson terrorism.‎

Over the past few months, every possible avenue has ‎been used to relay this message to Hamas, from ‎envoys--mainly from Egypt, but also from Persian ‎Gulf states, Russia, the United States and the European Union--to more blunt ‎instruments, such as targeting kite terrorist cells, ‎bombing Hamas posts and destroying Hamas cross-border terror tunnels.‎


When all else failed, Israel shuttered the Kerem ‎Shalom cargo crossing--the only goods crossing in ‎Gaza. The move did not affect humanitarian aid ‎delivered to the Strip, but it crippled commerce, ‎thus dealing Hamas a double blow: targeting both tax ‎revenues and painting Hamas as one whose moves only ‎aggravate the already dire situation in Gaza. ‎

The Defense Ministry's decision on Monday to ‎temporarily suspend the delivery of petroleum fuels ‎and natural gas ‎to Gaza was coordinated with Egypt, ‎which temporarily shuttered the Rafah crossing, as a ‎last-ditch effort to make Hamas come to its senses.‎

Still, it's doubtful that Hamas leaders understand ‎that they have pushed Israel to the brink. With containment no ‎longer an option, a clash seems inevitable and only ‎Hamas will make that call. ‎

Israeli defense officials remain convinced that ‎Hamas would rather avoid a war, but this is largely just ‎an assumption and it has been somewhat rattled given that ‎Hamas, like the IDF, has carried out several ‎tactical moves this week that demonstrate it is ‎ready for war.‎

A prominent player trying to prevent another bloody ‎clash between Israel and Hamas is Egypt. But even if ‎Cairo's efforts prove successful in the short term, ‎Hamas is unlikely to make a strategic U-turn, ‎bringing us right back to the growing assumption ‎that a conflict with Gaza will take place this ‎summer.‎

The scope of this clash remains unknown and it ‎depends on the number of casualties and scale of ‎destruction on both sides; mediation efforts, and ‎domestic and international pressure, but mostly, it ‎depends on the objectives Israel will try to ‎achieve. ‎

Extinguishing arson terrorism is an important ‎objective but it is not a strategic one. Before we ‎rally the troops, the government has to clearly ‎define the objective of this operation. Restoring ‎peace and quiet on the southern border is a solid ‎starting point, as long as it is used to introduce ‎a strategic shift in the reality opposite Gaza.‎

Originally published at JNS.org - reposted with permission.


Other News

October 15, 2018Social Media Purge Intensifies As Midterms Approach

The digital nanny state strikes again... just in time for midterms. Facebook has removed 559 pages for various offenses but many alternati...

October 15, 2018Christians Sentenced To Death Under Sharia Law

When radical Islam gains power, every article in the constitution becomes contingent on compliance with sharia. The rights that are promis...

October 15, 2018The Expansion Of Assisted Suicide North Of The Border

How is it that a nation known for its politeness has become so committed to killing its most vulnerable citizens?...

October 15, 2018Hamas Probing Israel's Defenses With Latest Border Incursion

Hamas is testing the IDF's reaction to see if a deadly attack or kidnapping of soldiers on the Gaza border could be carried out to change ...

October 12, 2018Radical Sex Education Agenda & The Battle For Your Child's Mind

The Left has used our educational institutions for decades to increase its control and influence over politics, culture and the media. By ...

October 12, 2018The Myth Of The Eternal Market Bubble

Economic collapse is not an event -- it is a process. The reason why some analysts can see it and others cannot is most likely due to the ...

October 12, 2018Abbas Adviser: "Islam's Religious War To Destroy Israel Has Started"

The most important religious figure in the Palestinian Authority and the closest to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, continues ...

Get Breaking News