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Gaza Explodes Yet Again

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It was a case of deja vu all over again.

The latest outbreak of cross-border fighting in and around the Gaza Strip petered out in the waning hours of August 7 following a ceasefire brokered by Egypt.

The three-day conflict was the most intense round of warfare since the fourth Gaza war in May 2021, which was initiated by Hamas — the governing authority in Gaza since 2006 — and raged for eleven days.

Previous wars broke out in 2008, three years after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, and yet again in 2012 and 2014.

Operation Breaking Dawn, as the Israeli government dubbed its offensive, pitted Israel against Islamic Jihad, which is backed by Iran, Israel’s strongest enemy. Although Hamas shares the same ideology and objectives as Islamic Jihad, namely Israel’s destruction, it did not participate in this prolonged skirmish.

This was not the first time Hamas chose to remain on the sidelines. Hamas, an ally of Iran, did not intervene when Israel and Islamic Jihad last clashed in 2019.

Hamas exercised restraint out of an abundance of caution, realizing that its participation in hostilities would jeopardize the work permits of 14,000 Gazans employed in Israel and cut the flow of Gaza’s agricultural produce into Israel.

Udi Dekel, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, writes in a paper that Israel offers Gaza economic incentives to keep the peace. But Israel is acutely aware that this policy “strengthens Hamas and its control of (Gaza), as well as its status in the internal Palestinian competition against the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.”

He adds, “According to Israeli logic, the economic relief does........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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