Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered nightly airstrikes on the Gaza Strip overnight after flaming balloons fired by Palestinian militants Hamas conducted a new first test for the new prime minister.
Hamas balloons came after the Bennett government on Tuesday allowed right-wing settlers to go to the East Damascus gate in East Jerusalem after Israel celebrated its conquest of the Holy City in the 1967 war. The number of balloons increased as social media images of Israeli police beat young Palestinians on horseback and threw stun grenades at hundreds of meters from right-wing settlers.
The three-day revenge strikes by the government last month were the first attacks since the 11-day airstrike. The Israeli military said Wednesday night that it had attacked “military compounds and meeting sites.” There were no deaths.
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and caused small fires near balloons near the border, did not take it with rockets. This suggested that the ceasefire between Egypt, the US and the UN, which ended the conflict in May, was maintained.
But the Bengals stressed the challenges they have received from the ousted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His predecessor adopted a “calmly” policy with Hamas, responding to the attacks with limited airstrikes. That changed on May 10 when militant rockets landed inside Israel, causing the latest conflict.
As the education minister of a previous government, he had Bennett, a multimillion-dollar ultranationalist technology the military called for the shooting of Palestinians lighting fiery balloons. Balloons, carried by sea winds to Israel, ignite fires in Israeli agricultural areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.
But Bennett is now in charge of an eight-party coalition, stretching from the far right to the left and relying on the votes of the Islamist Arab party that supports his government. He is also under pressure from the right wing to prove his ultra-nationalist credentials with a tougher response and to express independence from the Islamist Arab party that supports his government.
“For the first time in Israel, we have a Zionist minority government – like Hamas it depends on the existence of a party that is part of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said retired brigadier general Amir Avivi, Habithonistim, which has 2,000 groups. former Israeli generals, officers and Mossad agents who are pushing for stronger military action. “If they decide whether or not this government will exist, they have great political power – and we are concerned about Israel’s national security.”
There is no indication that Bennett’s decision to attack was caused by members of his coalition, and the limited airstrikes in response to the balloons are part of an “escalation ladder” that the Israeli military has followed over the years.
Tuesday’s attacks were carried out by right-wing settlers after the march, with some shouting “Death to the Arabs” and “Let your cities burn” from west Jerusalem to the Damascus gate east of Jerusalem. The flag march was canceled on May 10, after clashes between Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Israeli police and a warning to halt the planned expulsion and march by Israel on the way to Hamas before Hamas fired a rocket. This volley caused the last conflict.
The organized march was again focused on avoiding the Muslim neighborhood of the old city of Jerusalem, the political decision of the Bennett government and the concession granted to its coalition allies. While a smaller number of settlers were allowed to approach the old city, the Damascus Gate itself was closed to prevent Muslims from entering the deserted neighborhood.
For Netanyahu’s allies, the decision to change course was the failure of Bennett’s government. “Personally, I don’t think we should cancel anything because of terrorist threats – it’s not like we’re telling anyone when and where we should march on Gaza,” said Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, who has defended more Jews in the occupied East Jerusalem settlements.
“All of that is ours,” said Orly Hasid, 50, who made the trip from coast to march. “We won the war, so we own this city – Muslims need to remember that.”