Israel endured another mini-rocket-war by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza over the weekend with more than 90 rockets raining down on the south of the country.
While the Iron Dome missile interceptor neutralized 90 percent of the incoming projectiles life came to near completely stand-still in the Gaza belt area with people again spending much of their time in bomb shelters.
Mayors of the villages and towns in southern Israel are now demanding a complete end to the rocket- and balloon terror emanating from Gaza but chances this will happen are low since Iran is behind the frequent escalations in southern Israel.
Iran has instructed PIJ to block any agreement between Israel and Hamas about a ‘Hudna’ a long-term tactical ceasefire that will give the Gazan terror groups the ability to increase their fighting capabilities.
Israel and Hamas have been secretly negotiating such a ceasefire for months now with mediation from Egypt and Qatar that has sponsored Gaza with cash money for more than a year now.
Mossad head Yossi Cohen and Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, the commander of the IDF’s Southern Command and the former head of the IDF’s intelligence branch, recently were in Doha the capital of Qatar to discuss the ‘Hudna’ with Hamas according to Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Liberman.
Qatar has distributed almost $79 million in Gaza since 2018 but most of the money ended up in the coffers of Hamas that apparently uses the money to fund its military build-up according to Bar Ilan Professor Hillel Frish a proponent of a wide-scale military operation against PIJ and Hamas that should result in the defeat of the two competing terror groups.
Of the $79 million Qatar pumped into the poverty-stricken coastal enclave only more than $17 million reached some 70.000 poor families in Gaza Frish says basing his math on data released by Hamas official Muhammad Hamada.
The rest of the money remains unaccounted for and was probably used by Hamas to purchase weapons and to fund its military apparatus while the bulk of the money Hamas distributes among poor families goes to families of ‘martyrs’, terrorists who died during terror attacks.
Frish calls the Qatar cash “protection money” without protection because contrary to what the Maffia uses to do Israel is facing more and more violence emanating from the Gaza Strip despite allowing the money into the enclave.
“In fighting an enemy, you should do what you know how to do and avoid doing that which your enemy knows how to do,” according to the Bar Ilan scientist who added that Israel should use “extortion” meaning hitting Hamas and PIJ “hard, massively and quickly.”
What is clear is that Israel has reached the end of the road in the long battle against the Gazan terror factions.
Apparently Israel’s new Defense Minister Naftali Bennett shares Frish’ opinion.
After introducing a new strategy against PIJ on Sunday night when Israeli warplanes not only bombed PIJ targets in Gaza but also launched an attack on the organization’s headquarters in Damascus, Syria, Bennett says the moment is rapidly approaching that Israel will “restart or reset Gaza”.
Since entering the IDF’s headquarters in the so-called Kiryah in Tel Aviv last November, Bennett is trying to change the strategy Israel uses against its foes.
The IAF attack on a PIJ base south of Damascus was one of the changes Bennett introduced and he now wants to do the same with the war of attrition Hamas and PIJ are waging against Israel.
He, together with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, has drawn-up a new strategic plan for dealing with Gaza that will change the existing equation.
“We will give one very last chance to the terrorists to maintain quiet,” Bennettsaid during an interview this week adding that he doesn’t believe for a moment that Hamas and PIJ will maintain quiet.
“I don’t believe them (PIJ and Hamas). They are liars, murderers and we are going to have to act,” Bennett said adding that Israel will chose the timing and the terms of the coming war.
Bennett thinks the chance that the Israeli military will start a new war in Gaza is 95 percent and that the people living in the south of Israel will have the quiet they haven’t experienced in 20 years.
Hamas was going to have “a painful spring” said the Israeli DM in a possible hint to the timing of the anticipated military operation against PIJ and Hamas in Gaza.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is a 95% chance it is inevitable that we will have to launch a large campaign to restart Gaza,” Bennett announced adding that the plans for such a campaign are ready.
He indicated that the new military operation would be “completely different” from past campaigns and the same counts for what Gaza will look like “the day after”.
The IDF is currently going through a transformation process that includes the forming of new units and commands and which is based on a plan called ‘Momentum’ and which was drawn-up by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.