Monday, June 4, 2018

Rebel Groups Trying To Drag IDF Into War In Gaza

Rebel groups trying to drag IDF into war in Gaza

Satturday night's rocket fire from the Gaza Strip was likely carried out by Salafi Islamist organizations, which Israeli officials refer to as "rebel" groups. The radical Muslim members of these organizations wish to turn the strip into the Islamic State's "Sinai district" branch. 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which belong to the political Islam, are these groups' bitter enemies and are constantly trying to destroy and target their members, seeing them as a threat to the Hamas rule in Gaza. 

The Salafi group's strategy is to get Israel to do their job for them. Their goal to get the IDF to enter the strip for another round, which will include a ground invasion. In this round, they believe, the IDF will eliminate the Hamas rule and maybe even replace it or bring members of Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority to control the strip.

Either case, the radical groups believe, would make it easier for them to act, as the regime would be less violent and would receive less support from the population compared to the Hamas government, facilitating their cooperation with Islamic State operatives in Sinai who are fighting Egypt. 

Aware of the explosive situation and knowing Israel will retaliate against Hamas targets, the members of these organizations are doing everything they can to prevent an arrangement that will leave Hamas in power for a long time. 

Cairo is scheduled this week to host a meeting for a long-term arrangement in Gaza, both of the economic situation and of the security situation, and the rebels are interested in preventing this meeting from succeeding. That's why they are firing rockets and mortar shells.

Another reason is the anger in the Gaza Strip following the killing of a Palestinian nurse during the fence riots. On Saturday, thousands attended the funeral of 21-year-old Razan Ashraf Najjar, a volunteer medic, whose apparent killing by IDF troops is still being investigated by the army. 

These appear to be the two reasons prompting the rebel organizations to launch occasional rockets, knowing that the IDF will respond to make Hamas prevent them from firing. 

They are also hearing the Israeli media's interview with residents of the Gaza vicinity and they know that without a lot of effort, although their rockets don't endanger the residents and although the Iron Dome system intercepts the rockets that do endanger the residents, they can disrupt the residents' lives by making them sleep in their safe rooms and traumatizing their children. 

Then, the rebels hear interviews with the heads of the Gaza vicinity regional councils, and they know that the government in Jerusalem is being pressured to enter Gaza and put things in order, and that's exactly what they're hoping for. Hamas usually tries to prevent the rebel groups' from firing rockets, but it's quite possible that it gave them free rein following the nurse's killing.

There is no doubt that Hamas is deterred and was deterred by the IDF's activities in the past week, which is why it is avoiding firing rockets itself. It is also imposing its authority on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the fear of IDF strikes along with the Egyptian pressure are doing the trick. 

The problem remains unchanged. This pattern of rebel fire, an Israeli response, and so on and so forth, harms the Gaza vicinity residents' routine life and causes them a lot of suffering, if only as a result of the repeated sirens at night. It may also drag the IDF and Hamas into a conflict they aren't interested in.

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