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Israel warns of possible fresh conflict with Gaza

Rules of engagement along Gaza-Israel security fence have changed since 2014, observers say

Israel warns of possible fresh conflict with Gaza

World Bulletin / News Desk

Recent exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas suggest that the rules of engagement that have prevailed along the Gaza-Israel security fence since Israel’s 2014 military onslaught have changed.

Amos Hariel, a military and defense analyst for Israeli daily Haaretz, believes the relative calm that followed that conflict has steadily eroded. 

"It has been replaced by violent demonstrations, riddled with casualties on the Palestinian side [along with] burning kites [launched by Palestinian activists] that torch Israeli agricultural land -- and now rockets and mortars," he said in an article published Thursday. 

According to Israeli figures, during the last four weeks Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched over 200 rockets at Israel, along with hundreds of incendiary kites and helium balloons that have caused 200 fires inside Israeli territory. 

These developments have prompted Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to warn of a possible fresh military operation against the blockaded Gaza Strip. 

Late Wednesday, Netanyahu warned that Israel’s response to these repeated attacks would "intensify if necessary". 

He went to assert that Israel was "prepared for any scenario and our enemies must understand this". 

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Thursday that Israel might be forced to launch a "large-scale military operation" in the Gaza Strip. 

He told Israeli Army Radio: "I don't want to launch an operation, but there is a good chance that we will have no other option." 

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, for his part, was more straightforward.

"We can’t know how or when it will end, but it looks like we are on the way to an escalation," he said. 

Major-General Eyal Eisenberg, the commander of Israel’s Home Front Command, said the army had failed to anticipate the effect the incendiary kites would have. 

In his article, Hariel warned that the pace of violent events in Gaza had overtaken discussion about rebuilding Gaza’s infrastructure and could eventually lead to war.

 
Last Mod: 21 Haziran 2018, 15:17
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