In comments today during meetings with southern mayors, Israel’s Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman downplayed the chances of the recent rocket fire incidents escalating into a full-scale war, insisting Israel was not interested in launching yet another Gaza War over “a few rockets.”
That’s a significant shift in Israeli policy, of course, since more than a few Gaza wars have been launched because of a few rockets, and particularly during the rule of far-right governments it is rare indeed for any Israeli to express an aversion to launching an ill-conceived war on a minor pretext.
Maj. Gen. Turgeman went on to say Israel would “respond” appropriately to rocket strikes, but that he believes Hamas is working hard to prevent such rocket strikes, and doing its best to prevent rivals from launching them.
ISIS-allied group the Omar Brigades claimed credit for this weekend’s rocket strikes, explicitly saying they launched the attacks against Israel to damage Hamas. Hamas similarly warned Israel a few days ago, when the group launched a couple of other attacks, that the faction is trying to start a war in hopes of taking over the Gaza Strip.
The general’s comments suggest the Israeli military concurs with Hamas on this assessment, and irrespective of the usual bellicose comments from elected officials, the military is in no mood to see this escalate into yet another pointless summer war.