November 18, 2018

Latest from Gaza: Hanging by a Thread

On Thursday afternoon, a rocket from Gaza hit the city of Beer Sheeba for the first time since the Gaza war of 2014. This was an escalation of an already tense situation, after a long day and night of fire — an escalation of potentially grave consequences. Israel was forced to make two quick decisions. The first one: How to respond to this provocation? The second: Should an international soccer match, scheduled for this evening in Beer Sheeba, be canceled?

The decisions Israel made could seem contradictory. The match was to be played; the military response was to be immediate and high profile. So, as Israel was taking the risk of having thousands of people under the threat of rockets during a soccer match, it also sent the Israeli Air Force to take down a building in the center of Gaza.

In the last war, taking down two high rises in Gaza was the last straw that led to a ceasefire. It was a message: From now on, if the war doesn’t stop, all hell will break loose.

Today, taking down a building was meant to prevent a war that hasn’t yet started, but could start very soon. Israel does not want this war, but cannot tolerate for much longer the drip drop of fire from Gaza. Thus, it is now in Hamas’ hands.

The building went down in flames. Hamas surely got the message. If this message doesn’t sink in, there could be only one reason for it: Hamas wants war.