by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — Over the past few weeks, minor militant groups based in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Islamic Hamas movement, had escalated their daily homemade projectiles attacks at southern Israel, where the Israeli army carried out limited retaliatory attacks against specific targets.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently that Hamas owns anti-aircraft rockets. This was the first open statement from an Israeli official claiming that Hamas possesses anti-aircraft missiles, which would threaten Israeli airforces’ mastery of the sky over Gaza Strip.
However, despite the recent escalation, Palestinian observers ruled out that Israel would soon wage another war against the Gaza Strip similar to the late 2008 three-week “Cast Lead” war, citing different circumstances.
Israel waged the war on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008, which lasted for 21 days and around 1,400 Palestinians and 11 Israelis were killed, following an increase of Gaza militants’ rockets attacks on Israel.
With the ongoing homemade rockets and mortars attacks carried out by the minor militant groups, mainly the pro-Hamas Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Israel’s retaliation is kept on a low profile, where Israeli warplanes strike on specific targets, such as tunnels and weapons stores.
Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political analyst told Xinhua that he does not believe that Israel would wage a second Cast Lead War against Gaza, despite the Israeli threats that Gaza militants have dangerous weapons, simply because Israel is not in need for a war at the current circumstances.
“The Israeli threats are something, and waging a real war on the ground is something different. Amid the current internal Israeli political disputes, I believe that Israel would carry on with its threats without waging a war because by this way, Israel would gain better consequences that the war itself,” he said.
The Israeli government, led by the right-wing parties, is currently focusing more on the issue of how to resume the peace talks with the Palestinians and at the same time keep settlement construction in the Palestinian territories, a strategy that the Palestinian leadership completely rejects.
The Middle East peace process is currently stalled due to the settlement issue, but the success of the Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks might depend on the proposal of the international Elders Group, which is merging Hamas in the political Palestinian system through out achieving the inter- Palestinian reconciliation.
Mohsen Aburamadan, another a political analyst from Gaza, told Xinhua that “merging Hamas in the political system and recognizing it as part of this system, without joining the direct talks with Israel, would give President Mahmoud Abbas an umbrella and would save Gaza from another Israeli war.”
He added that “in case a final peace agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians, without Hamas, I believe that there will be serious scenarios waiting for Gaza, mainly uprooting Hamas by different mechanisms, either through the Arab League, or by waging another new war on Gaza.”