Egyptian Mediators: New Israeli Gov’t Trying to Alter Equation in Gaza

YERUSHALAYIM -
Rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza into Israel, seen over Kiryat Gat on May 18. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The new Israeli government is trying to use the latest tensions with Gaza as a pretext to impose a precedent ahead of indirect talks with Hamas in Cairo next week, Egyptian sources told Qatar-based newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on Sunday morning, referring to the IDF’s recent harsh response to cross-border arson attacks.

In the past, Israel’s policy was to shell Hamas military positions with tanks in response to such attacks. Overnight Thursday, however, Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas rocket launching sites and other military infrastructure in the coastal enclave – indicating that Israel intends to act more forcefully than before to arson attacks.

Other than seeking to secure a long-term ceasefire agreement with the Hamas terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, the Israeli delegation slated to partake in the negotiations will also seek to finalize a prisoner exchange deal.

The Egyptian sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “Hamas understands the degree of pressure within the Israeli government.” Hence, they said, Hamas decided to heed Egypt’s request not to exploit the escalation and to put another military conflict with the Jewish state on hold.

Earlier Thursday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi held a situation assessment in which he issued instructions for the military to increase its alert level and prepare for various scenarios, including a possible resumption of hostilities.

The IDF issued a statement saying: “We will continue to destroy the capabilities and the military infrastructure of the Hamas terrorist organization, which is responsible for what happens in Gaza.”

Fearing matters would indeed spiral out of control, several Egyptian mediators in Gaza returned home on Friday.