The IDF is preparing for the possibility of an escalation in the Gaza Strip during Rosh Hashanah and the other Tishrei holidays and has imposed a limit on holiday furloughs. Defense apparatus officials have told the Israeli press on Sunday that every effort will be made to prevent the escalation, but “if there’s no choice, we will go to an escalation, including several days of fighting in Gaza.”
The forces at the Gaza border have been reinforced and are on high alert. The air defenses and the Iron Dome system are on alert. In addition, increased vigilance is maintained on the northern border and in Judea and Samaria.
On Saturday, the Safa Press Agency reported that Gaza is preparing to increase the flying of incendiary balloons towards Israeli settlements near the Strip in the coming days. Hamas said that during the coming week, the balloon units will be activated alongside the “nightly harassment” units along the border fence. The Hamas nightly harassment units have operated along the fence every evening for the past week.
Egypt and Qatar are exerting heavy pressure on Hamas to order terrorist organizations to stop operating along the border fence with Israel, in an attempt to calm the Gaza Strip so as not to jeopardize the easing of the closure on Gaza.
Senior Hamas official Hamad a-Rakeb said in a radio interview that Hamas had officially informed the Qatari that it won’t agree to the conditions Israel had set on Gazans’ eligibility to receive the Qatari grants. He said: “The hands of our organization are free and it will do what it wishes until Israel meets the organization’s conditions.”
Saturday night, Mohammed al-Emadi, the Qatari envoy to Gaza, returned to the Strip after discussions in Israel to resolve the dispute between the parties.
Deputy Minister Yair Golan told Reshet Bet radio Sunday morning: “There is no siege on Gaza. Gaza has a border with Egypt. Should Egypt want to, it can keep the Rafah crossing open 24 hours a day and everything could flow into the strip. Fortunately, they don’t want to. On the one hand, a humanitarian catastrophe must be avoided in Gaza, but on the other hand, only items that don’t serve Hamas’ goals should be allowed in.”