The past few weeks have been punctuated by escalating makeshift rocket attacks coming out of Gaza into Israel, with intermitted retaliation by Israeli forces.
Some onlookers are worried that the escalation of the homemade projectile attacks may indicate that a second ‘Cast Lead’ war may be on the way if the attacks continue. This has been compounded by statements from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which say that Hamas, who rule in the narrow Gaza strip, posses anti-aircraft rockets. Netanyahu’s remarks are the first by an Israeli official making such a claim.
However Palestinian observers are saying that different conditions prevail than in 2008, when Israel launched the devastating ‘Cast Lead’ offensive into the Gaza strip which left 1,400 Palestinians, and 11 Israeli’s dead after the 21 day war.
A Gaza-based political analyst, Hani Habib has said "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.”
Israel is currently preoccupied with how to restart peace talks which have stalled with the Palestinian Authority after a ban on settlements into the West Bank was lifted. Many are saying that the best hope of the peace talks being successful is bringing Hamas into the political fold and neutralizing somewhat its threat from Gaza.