On Tuesday morning, Palestinian Islamic Jihads military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, announced that Ashdod and Beersheba will soon enter the line of fire. And indeed, it currently looks like there is nothing stopping Israel and the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terrorist groups from continuing the escalation toward a full-blown war.
The traditional brokers of ceasefires between both sides, Egypt and the United Nations, seem to have put aside their efforts to calm the situation, and the pessimism is evident in their statements.
But while Israel and the Hamas terror group both appear ready, even eager, for deeper battle, that is mostly a facade. The two sides are engaged in a game of brinkmanship in a bid to demonstrate their superiority and create deterrence. The problem is that it is highly doubtful that either Hamas or Israel have the ability to achieve those goals without taking steps that will inevitably plunge the area into war.
At least for now, Hamas and Israel look like two trains reluctantly speeding toward a chasm.
In attempting to understand what exactly went wrong over the past few days, it is hard to point to a clear strategic decision. Hamas and Israel had already entered a truce. The Gazan organizations leadership had invested tremendous efforts in reaching the ceasefire, in which the Strips economy was to improve, the supply of electricity was to increase and even Hamas officials were to receive payments using cash suitcases transferred by Qatar with Israels approval.