Israel Poised for More Fighting as Ceasefire Announced

israel ceasefire
An Israeli soldier stands next to an armored personnel carrier (APC) in a field in southern Israel, near the border with Gaza, Tuesday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The ceasefire that has reportedly been agreed to between Israel and Hamas on Tuesday afternoon put a halt to an IDF campaign of mounting severity, but the guns could begin firing again at a moment’s notice.

The upshot of a seven-hour Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, concluded before media reports of an agreement having been reached, said nothing about a ceasefire.

An official statement said that “the Security Cabinet discussed events in the south. The Cabinet was briefed by the IDF and security officials about the attacks and the extent of operations against the terrorists in Gaza. The Security Cabinet instructed the IDF to continue its operations as necessary.”

IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis said the military was ramping up forces on the Gaza Border.

“We are in the midst of a wide-scale process of accumulating more infantry, armored and other forces to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, and we are mobilizing reserves for Iron Dome operations and the Home Front Command,” he said.

“We struck four multi-story buildings that Hamas uses for terror activity. We attacked the buildings in an orderly manner after the inhabitants had been evacuated,” he said.

“Hamas is behaving as if we have moved on to targeted assassinations, as their men have been in hiding since Monday afternoon,” Manelis added.

“Hamas knows very well what we are attacking and what the cost of the confrontation with the IDF is. We will continue to act with full force,” he wrote on Twitter.

In light of the firing of over 400 rockets and mortars at southern Israel on Monday, the IDF spokesman said that evacuation of the Gaza border communities was under consideration, but was decided as not yet necessary.

The IDF said 150 targets were attacked in the Gaza Strip on Monday evening and overnight Tuesday, including the Gaza City headquarters of Hamas’ Al Aqsa tv station. Israel had fired warning shots ahead of the airstrike, prompting the station to halt programming and replace it with a logo. Minutes later, the airstrike reduced the three-story building to rubble and the station went black.

The IDF explained that the station fully qualified as a military target.

“The station broadcasts violent propaganda against the State of Israel and its citizens, as well as operational messaging to terrorists, which include methods for carrying out attacks against civilians and soldiers and ways to obtain weapons,” the IDF said.

Gaza’s broadcasts emphasize the destruction across the strip caused by IAF strikes in an attempt to influence global public opinion.

The IAF also hit Hamas’ Interior Security Headquarters, which were disguised as the Al-Amal Hotel. The activity conducted in the structure apparently included the planning of terror attacks against Israeli targets. The hotel is located in the heavily populated a-Rimal neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. Gaza’s Health Ministry is located nearby, Ynet reported on Tuesday.

The calls for ceasefire from the international community, routine in such crises, this time have bordered on the hysterical.

The office of the U.N.’s Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said Monday that efforts were underway “to ensure that Gaza steps back from the brink.”

“The escalation in the past 24 hours is EXTREMELY dangerous and reckless,” tweeted Mladenov. “Rockets must STOP, restraint must be shown by all!”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, meanwhile, urged Israel and the Palestinians “to exercise maximum restraint,” according to a statement.

Also on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with French President Emmanuel Macron, thanking him for his hospitality in Paris and apologizing for his early departure.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told President Macron that “Israel is implementing its right to defend itself against terrorists attempting to harm Israeli citizens,” according to a statement released by the PMO.