Israeli army’s Southern Command is preparing for a new round of fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip front at the end of next October, according to reports.
Channel 12 reported that the regional command asked its forces to start preparing from now for a new round of confrontation.
The Israeli military establishment believes that the deteriorating situation in Gaza, including the spread of the coronavirus, coming to the end of financial aid from Qatar, increased Palestinian anger towards Israel due to the blockade and the coming American elections may push Hamas towards escalation by launching incendiary balloons and missiles.
“The situation in the Gaza Strip could change at any moment, so we are at the highest levels of vigilance and readiness,” said Itay Zaafrani, a senior officer in the 74th Battalion, the Israeli Southern Brigade.
Recently, Defense Minister Benny Gantz also warned of an inevitable escalation in the Gaza Strip for the same reasons including continuing economic difficulties in the sector, the coronavirus crisis and lack of coordination may lead to a new escalation. Hamas and Israel agreed to stop the escalation in exchange for the entry of funds and goods into the Strip. However, the Israeli assessment indicates a threat announced by Hamas after the signing of the agreement that it will test Israel for two months to implement the recent understandings before returning to another round of fighting.
A member of the Hamas political bureau, Khalil al-Hayya, said at the time that “Hamas in Gaza has given Israel two months to implement the previous understandings, and if Israel does not comply, it will return to other rounds of balloons and others.”
In an interview with Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Hayya confirmed that what prolonged the negotiations was “the disagreement over the period that we will grant the occupation to implement previous projects and understandings.”
“We will give them two months and we will monitor their behavior in implementing projects and bringing in other projects,” he said.