Hamas has renewed rocket manufacturing and tunnel building two weeks into the ceasefire, according to a report by Ynet News quoting a senior political source.
Why should anyone be surprised? Hamas makes no secret of the fact that its only raison d’etre is the destruction of the State of Israel and all Jews. At a time when the focus is supposed to be on rebuilding Gaza, Hamas takes what little materials there are for its own military needs.
There can be no greater demonstration of its cynical disregard of the requirements of the citizens who elected it to power with the assumption that their welfare would be paramount.
Indirect negotiations regarding future arrangements for a long-term peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians were set to begin in Cairo shortly. However, Hamas has decided to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and test his response to their extensive reinforcement efforts.
It is not clear how Israel will respond to Hamas rearming, resupplying, and – most importantly – rebuilding the tunnels leading into Israeli territory. Although Israel is capable of acting militarily, the overall situation in the volatile Middle East has changed, even in the last month.
Terrorist activity has increased on Israel’s northern borders. The abduction of United Nations observers on its Syrian border, and rumblings emerging from Hezbollah in Lebanon mean Israel can not only focus on Hamas.
Yedioth Ahronoth’s political analyst, Shimon Shiffer, said Israeli Military Intelligence is shortly expected to present a comprehensive report to the political establishment regarding Hamas’ rehabilitation efforts.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that he did not believe it is possible to demilitarize Gaza. Like Benjamin Netanyahu, he compared Hamas to the Islamic State (ISIS), claiming that the Gaza group was no less dangerous.
To prove his point, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank spoke on the subject.
“If the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank held a quarter of the tools at the disposal of the resistance in Gaza – Israel would be demolished in a day.
He added that, as far as Hamas is concerned, the security coordination in the West Bank between the Palestinian Authority and Israel was a crime. He intimated that if Hamas wrested control of the West Bank from Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s days would be numbered.
Al-Zahar also dismissed Israeli claims that the IDF destroyed all the group’s tunnels.
“Who is stopping us right now from building new tunnels?”
Certainly not the world, which has now shifted its attention to other trouble-spots.
All the signs point to yet another round in the Israel – Hamas conflict. It’s simply a question of when.