The Israeli government took a significant step toward a more serious response to the rocket attacks from Gaza on Monday, as the security cabinet authorized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to order a military operation at a time of their choosing, according to media reports.
No further action is to be taken unless there are further provocations from Hamas.
“The ball is Hamas’ hands. There is no desire on Israel’s part for an escalation, but we are prepared in case the [rocket] fire continues,” unnamed senior officials told Ynet.
The ministers also voted in favor of an operational plan to strike Hamas, The Jerusalem Post said.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Rassan Alian informed the cabinet that U.N. Special Envoy Tor Wennesland and Egypt said that Hamas does not seek an escalation.
Meanwhile, the head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza, Col. Iyad Sarhan, made a statement on social media addressed to residents of Gaza blaming Hamas for the current tensions.
“The blessed month of Ramadan is intended to be a time for families, and yet, Hamas has chosen a course to the detriment of the Gaza Strip and rather than investing in the improvement of the civil and economic situation, it is escalating and bringing harm first and foremost to you,” he said.
“Following three days of rocket fire from the terror organizations, Israel has decided to close the fishing zone that has been significantly contributing to the Gaza Strip’s economy and welfare.”