In what officials are calling “an exceptional” response and what many are calling a “disproportionate” overreaction, Israel responded to a stray rocket strike from the Gaza Strip by a flurry of airstrikes, conducting 50 distinct air raids against the tiny enclave over a two hour period.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in his first real salvo against Gaza, gave the sort of speech that usually precedes one of Israel’s many, many invasions of the strip, talking about how Israel won’t allow Hamas to continue to rearm, and claiming massive Hamas plots against Israel, despite all indications that Hamas has continued to try to prevent rocket fire.
Hamas’s efforts to keep its rivals from starting fights had largely been successful too, with almost nothing happening along the Israel-Gaza frontier and the nation’s south enjoying one of its quietest summers in decades. That’s a boring spot for a defense minister to be in, and has raised concerns among Israeli analysts that Lieberman is looking to implement his bellicose security plan, despite no reason for such a reaction.
It isn’t a foregone conclusion that’s what Lieberman is doing, or that he’ll continue trying to escalate the situation, with many insisting that the show of force might be a one-off deal for the time being, and not an attempt to pick another one of those multi-week wars that leaves a few thousand people dead and amounts to little else.