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The New Arab

Israeli military intelligence preparing for fresh war on Gaza

Hamas run the besieged Gaza Strip [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 February, 2019

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Israel's military intelligence agency has released a report anticipating a fresh round of confrontations with Hamas, just in time to stoke public fears ahead of elections.
Israeli military intelligence is reportedly preparing for a new war with Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip, it emerged on Wednesday.

The report, written just weeks before the upcoming Israeli elections, says the military intelligence agency is expecting Hamas to undertake small-scale military operations to provoke the Israeli army into a full-blown war.

The agency believes it is in Hamas' interest to attempt to garner international support by "starting" a military confrontation, despite the fact that Israel's military and civilian blockade of Gaza's borders, waters and airspace has been ongoing for more than a decade.

Hamas continues to receive global condemnation for its militant approach to what it describes as Palestinian resistance.

The report anticipates Hamas will infiltrate Israeli territory to carry out attacks or launch rockets to target short-distance Israeli targets. It is unlikely that Hamas will attempt to abduct Israeli soldiers at this stage, according to the report.

Tel Aviv generally boosts its confrontational rhetoric at the time of elections, mainly to boost populist morale and create a collective sense of fear among voters to choose the most hawkish party.

Ramping up military threats during election periods is a favourite tactic of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has led Israel and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory since 2009.

At the start of this year Israel appointed Lieutenant General Aviv to lead Israel's military. During his inauguration ceremony, he promised an even more "deadly, efficient" response from his troops, despite hundreds of protesters killed on the Gaza border over the past year.

Kochavi, 54, was promoted from major-general at the ceremony at the military headquarters, becoming the country's 22nd military chief.

Among other campaigns, he served in Israel's brutal 2014 Gaza war, and pledged at the event to focus on "strengthening our attack capabilities towards our enemies, and presenting an army that is deadly, efficient and modern, that preserves its mission and its uniqueness".

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