As tensions continue to rise between Hamas and Israel, the threat of a new war continues to loom over Gaza. Israeli warplanes and tanks bombed Hamas military sites on Tuesday in response to the flammable balloons launched from Gaza towards Israel’s south. These balloons sparked off fires that had to be doused by the Israeli army. Just after this retaliation, on Wednesday, Israel carried out air attacks on the Hezbollah observation posts in Lebanon after shots were fired from across the border towards its troops the previous evening.
The attack on Tuesday was the 15th day in a row that Israel launched strikes against Hamas’s infrastructure and agricultural land in the Gaza Strip. Although there was no retaliation by the Gaza Military on Tuesday, they had previously launched rockets towards Israel after attacks last week as an answer to Israel’s onslaught.
On Wednesday, the country’s military had said earlier that a “security incident” was unfolding in the vicinity of Manara near the UN-demarcated Blue Line border between the two nations. “During operational activity in northern Israel last night, shots were fired from Lebanon toward IDF troops,” the Israeli army wrote on Twitter. “This is a severe event & we remain ready to combat any threat to our borders,” the Tweet added. The incident also comes after Hezbollah announced on Saturday that it had brought down an Israeli drone flying over the Blue Line.
The backdrop of these incessant attacks and a war-like situation lies in the fact that the Palestinians are demanding an end to the devastating 13-year-long blockade and Israel is trying to maintain a stronghold on Gaza’s economy while targeting Hamas.
Over the past two years, ever since the ‘Great March of Return’ protests gained traction, multiple deals were reached between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel with the mediation of Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations.
Hamas, which governs Gaza, was to provide security along the demarcation dividing the Palestinians and Israelis, in return for Israel’s alleviation of the blockade. But Palestinian leaders in Gaza accused Israel of repeatedly trying to repudiate their side of the understanding. Hamas officials say this time they will not cooperate until Israel fully lifts its blockade on Gaza.
According to local Palestinian media reports, Israel is exercising unwarranted control over the Gaza economy by- failing to extend Gaza’s allowed fishing zone to 20 nautical miles, allowing the construction of a new power line into the Gaza Strip, permitting Gaza’s power plant to operate on natural gas, and facilitating the movement of goods, including the entry of 1,200 trucks a day, through the Karem Abu Salem (known as Kerem Shalom to Israelis) crossing.
As the pressure mounts, the current situation can be narrated as a confrontation between the Palestinians and Israelis, wherein the former is fighting to lift the blockade on Gaza, and the latter is fighting twice as hard to keep the blockade in place. Gaza’s armed troops and Israeli forces are now on high alert and gearing up for a further confrontation.
Meanwhile, Israel accuses Hezbollah of stockpiling weapons at the border to prepare for a new war.