Israel’s Minister for Public Security, Gilad Erdan, has claimed that Israel might be forced to launch a “large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip”.
Speaking on Army Radio earlier today Erdan said: “I don’t want to launch an operation, but there is a good chance that we will have no other option but to go in so that we can create durable deterrence.”
He also added that anyone caught launching burning kites from Gaza should be shot regardless of their age, asserting that “age doesn’t matter, they’re terrorists and the danger they create must be prevented”.
To add to that, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Army Radio that “there is no difference between a burning kite and a Qassam rocket, and we should not tolerate the kites”. This echoes Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s call for the Israeli army to begin assassinating those who burn kites, as they believe the protesters who do so are controlled by Hamas.
These harsh threats from Israel’s politicians come after it claimed Hamas fired rockets near the Gaza border and that Palestinian protesters have been sending burning kites over the border. Erdan has previously called the phenomenon “kite terror”, but some sources in the Israeli military believe that Hamas is intentionally limiting its activities by launching rockets only during the night at short and harmless distances, and that protesters are burning a relatively low amount of kites in order to make a gesture.
Erdan claimed that “Hamas is incorrectly assessing when our limit will be reached… Hamas doesn’t want to get to a point of confrontation that will spell its end in the Gaza Strip”.
After the Israeli military withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas was elected into power and though Israel no longer officially has control over the Strip, it still controls and restricts its water supply and is conducting a land and sea blockade. Israeli military operations in Gaza are not uncommon, and have been taking place almost on a yearly basis since its withdrawal.