Will Gradual Escalation Turn into New Confrontation?

Tension has risen once again in the Gaza Strip as the Israeli occupation continues its racist procedures against the people of the Gaza Strip: The crossings are closed, the food supplies are banned from entry and trade is stopped. The Palestinian resistance had to resume popular tools that include firing burning balloons at the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Benny Gantz, the occupation's Minister of War, stressed that the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip would continue, and threatened the people of the Strip of resuming the bombardment of the cities if the burning balloons continue to be fired at the settlements. He said that any security breach in the Gaza Strip would be fiercely dealt with. His words were translated into action as several raids hit the Gaza Strip to push the resistance to stop its activities. 

The Palestinian powers and factions in the Gaza Strip opposed such statements and expressed the necessity of having the conditions of the Strip returning to the status prior to the military operation Al-Quds Sword. They also called for the reopening of crossings, allowing the entry of aids to the Strip and reducing the restrictions imposed on the Palestinians besieged in the Strip.

Until this moment, the occupation clings to its new policy, which is intensifying the siege and reducing the fishing area from 12 to 6 miles.

The gradual escalation warns of possible deterioration and new military operation if the Israeli occupation continues to exercise pressure on the Gaza Strip and the mediations fail to resolve the existing crises and ending the collective punishment policy.

 

 

 

Insight of the Situation

  1. The occupation's government has, since the end of Operation Al-Quds Sword, sought to impose new rules of engagement different from earlier ones during Netanyahu's term.
  2. The Israeli government, led by Bennett, is trying to win the hearts of the Israeli right bloc through punishing the Gaza Strip in an attempt to reflect its rightist views and ideology. 
  3. The Israeli right bloc has been calling for changing the policy with the Gaza Strip, increasing the level of deterrence, and increasing the pressure on the resistance to make it lose the victories it had achieved in the previous rounds. 
  4. The occupation has come to the realization that solving the Gaza Strip issue cannot be done militarily, which has been proven again and again after every escalation.
  5. The mediation endeavors, especially by the Egyptians, between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation are still the same. This is reflected in the slow-paced reconstruction work and absence of political achievements.
  6. The occupation continues to reject any proposition of reducing the restrictions imposed on the Strip since the last aggression, and insists on linking the reconstruction with concluding a swap deal.
  7. The instability between the occupation and the Palestinian resistance may lead to a new round as the occupation's army announces the army's preparedness.
  8. The occupation's government allows the entry of 30% of goods, including raw and construction materials. 

Possible Scenarios:

  1. The calm continues as both parties try to impose their own conditions and policies since the occupation's government is new and the coalition is trying to protect its durability. The occupation's new government is trying to impose a new reality, exercising more pressure on the Gaza Strip in particular and the Palestinians in general; at the same time, the Palestinian resistance is working on protecting and maintain its political and field rules of engagement.
  2. The tension and pressure continue until the situation explodes and a new escalation takes place. The Israeli occupation has been exercising great pressure on the Gaza Strip focusing on basic life needs such as fuel, electricity, services, and crossings; and has been Judaizing Al-Quds and attacking the Palestinians. 

Generally, all scenarios are possible, but the first scenario is more likely to happen because the occupation's government and the resistance are exercising calculated pressure; i.e. escalation without confrontations. The fact that the occupation's government is gradually giving in to the Palestinian demands, even if at a low rate, indicates the continuity of the calm.

Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre