Truce between Israel and Islamist group Hamas put to the test for the first time

Israeli Air Force attacks Hamas bases in response to dozens of incendiary balloons launched from Gaza into southern Israel

Explosions tonight in Gaza.MAHMUD HAMSAFP

In response to the launch of dozens of incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip Against southern Israel that caused 27 fires, the Israeli Air Force has attacked several military positions of the Islamist group Hamas in the first major review of the fragile truce that began on May 21. After communicating that the facilities “served as bases for terrorist activities of the Jan Yunes and Gaza brigades “, the Army warned that “it is prepared for any scenario, including the resumption of hostilities, depending on the terrorist actions from the Gaza Strip.”

It is also the first litmus test of the new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and premier since 2023, Yair Lapid, since his inauguration this Sunday that ended 12 years in a row of Benjamin Netanyahu in power.

As happened at the start of the climb five weeks ago, Jerusalem has once again been the source of tension. On Tuesday morning, Hamas launched incendiary balloons and warnings to Israel in the wake of the so-called “Parade of Flags.” This event, which took place in the afternoon, was organized by several ultra-nationalist associations after it was interrupted on May 10 – “Jerusalem Day” celebrated in Israel as its festival of “reunification” after the war of ’67 – due to the seven projectiles launched by Hamas against the disputed village.

The nationalist march was scheduled for last Thursday but the cabinet still led by Netanyahu decided to postpone it. The new Homeland Security Minister, Labor Omer Bar-Lev, who criticized the call for the march a week ago, authorized it this Tuesday but with a different path that minimized contact with the Palestinian inhabitants of the eastern part of Jerusalem. Part of the 4000 participants were able to reach the esplanade of the Damascus Gate to sing, dance and wave the Israeli flags, but they did not cross this access to the old town, occupied by Israel in the war of ’67, nor did they visit the Muslim quarter. Three Palestinians who were injured in minor crashes they needed to be hospitalized in a day that mobilized 2,000 policemen.

Lapid has condemned the cries of “death to the Arabs” of protesters at the Damascus Gate: “It is inconceivable how you can hold up the flag of Israel and at the same time shout death to the Arabs. This is not Judaism or Israelity. These people are a shame to the people of Israel. “

After Hamas warned with a response if “Al Aqsa is attacked by settlers” and declared this Tuesday “Day of Wrath”, Israel deployed more defensive batteries due to the possibility of resuming the launch of projectiles launched from the Gaza Strip. against their cities.

“We cannot ignore this provocation (parade) but that it does not mean that we will end up in a new military confrontation “, had declared the Hamas leader in Jerusalem Mohamed Hamada revealing that Egypt asked in recent days not to do something to break the truce after 11 days of the worst escalation since 2014, 255 dead in the Gaza Strip and 12 in Israel. Along with the US, Egypt was key in the mediation for the return to calm although it is still far from propping it up with agreements and incentives.

Jerusaln-Gaza

The “Parade of Flags”, which ended as is traditional at the Wailing Wall, put the two great arguments behind the escalation to the test. Israel noted as one of its achievements the restoration of deterrence before Hamas, warning that it would respond to each attack, even if they were balloons with explosives. Hamas, for its part, vindicated its role as “protector of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa”, presuming that everything that happens in the disputed city has an immediate response from Gaza. “The reality has changed,” they assured from the pro-Iran Islamic Jihad group that defined the Jerusalem parade as a “march of hatred.”

The Islamist spokesman, Fawzy barhum has claimed that Israel’s decision to change at the last minute the route of the parade and even flights at Ben Gurion airport to deploy more “Iron Dome” was due to warnings from Hamas which, he added, “shows that we have imposed a new equation “.

“It is a parade of unity in the capital of Israel. Our message to the terrorists is that we are not afraid and that we can walk with our flags in any part of our country including of course our capital,” said Matan Peleg, one of the organizers. of a march that was the first litmus test of both the complex new Israeli government coalition (seven parties of the right, center, left and another Arab) and of the fragile truce.


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