Nearly two-thirds of Jewish Israelis think Israel should launch a large-scale military offensive in the Gaza Strip if its Hamas rulers do not abide by the latest ceasefire agreement, a poll released Tuesday found.
The results, published by the Israel Democracy Institute as part of its monthly Peace Index, also found that Arab and Jewish Israelis were divided on whether the Syrian regime’s recent military advances were a positive development for the Jewish state.
According to the poll, 61 percent of Jewish Israelis think the IDF should launch a military operation in Gaza if the cross-border arson attacks from the Hamas-run coastal enclave continue.
Support for an extensive military offensive was higher among respondents who identified as right-wing, with 75% supporting the move.
In contrast, 69% of Arab Israelis opposed a large-scale Israeli military response to the recent flare-up in violence in the coastal enclave, with only 16% indicating support for it.
The poll comes amid months of near-weekly violent border protests and ongoing cross-border arson attacks organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers. The kites and balloons carrying incendiary devices launched into Israeli territory have burned thousands of acres of farmland and caused millions of shekels in damage.
The confrontations have at times spiraled into military exchanges, with Palestinians firing dozens of rockets at southern Israeli towns and the army launching air strikes on Hamas positions in Gaza.
Israeli politicians and IDF officials have repeatedly warned Hamas that the continued violence could see a large-scale military response. Earlier in July, the IDF was reportedly instructed to prepare for an offensive in Gaza if the cross-border arson attacks continued.
After an IDF solider was killed by sniper fire along the Gaza border earlier this month, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters. Hamas said three of the four people killed in the strikes were their fighters.
The ruling terror group later declared an unofficial ceasefire, though sporadic violence has continued along the border.
Over the weekend, the United Nations envoy for Middle East peace met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and other officials in a bid to calm the violent flare-up.
Nickolay Mladenov is reportedly pushing a ceasefire proposal in cooperation with Egypt and other Arab states, according to the Haaretz daily.
Mladenov’s arrangement would see Israel remove recent restrictions on the Kerem Shalom crossing for goods into Gaza, and the sides agreeing to a ceasefire which would include the cessation of airborne arson attacks, Haaretz said, citing Egyptian media.