The escalation along the border with Gaza on Monday was not significantly greater than other upticks in violence in the area in the past.
Still, there was a difference this time.
If, in the past, Israel retaliated for each attack in a restrained, tit-for-tat fashion, on Monday the reaction was on a different scale. Following the directions of a very senior defense official, the level of response was considerably greater.
The impression was given that the IDF took advantage of the incidents on Monday in the south to target Hamas infrastructure that it had long sought to destroy.
The IDF did not investigate which terrorist group was responsible for the rocket that landed in the Ashkelon council. Rather, it answered with a massive attack on installations belonging to the entity which is in charge in Gaza — Hamas.
This is a new type of message, notifying Hamas that it not only failed to keep the guarantee of quiet both sides agreed to, but also that it stands to lose something by not reining in the Salafist extremists operating in its territory.
Israel is not interested in which specific group was responsible for this or that attack. The address for retaliation will always be Hamas. That’s why it took the brunt of the IDF fire on Monday, far beyond what it was used to in the past.