Gaza abandoned Nablus and the “Lions’ Den” group

Gaza Strip maintains relative peace despite the escalation in the West Bank and Israel's successful operations against the "Lions' Den" group. The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are content with condemnations and threats for the time being, no rocket has been fired at Israel, but this is no indication of what is to come.

There is great anger in the city of Nablus, which has been under a strict lockdown for more than two weeks, because the Palestinian Authority, the Arab countries and the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip are not coming to the aid of the city’s residents to stop the IDF operations in the city and lift the blockade.

The residents of Nablus ask: “where are the promises of Yahya Sinwar and Ziad al-Nakhala about the policy of the “unity of all fronts”? Where is the “Gaza-Nablus” equation? Why don’t Hamas and Islamic Jihad launch rockets at Israel to help us”?

Gaza Strip has been relatively quiet since the IDF’s operation against the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip last August.

Shortly after the assassination of the terrorist Waddi al-Houh one of the heads of the “Lions’ Den” group in Nablus, the factions in the
Gaza Strip convened an emergency meeting in which they announced a day of mourning and a general strike and called the residents of the Gaza Strip to go to nightly protest marches in support of the residents of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Indeed, in several places in the Gaza Strip last night there were marches in support of the residents of Nablus and dozens of young people who burned tires and threw stones at the border fence with Israel.

It is Hamas that in recent months has pushed the residents of the West Bank and East Jerusalem towards an new armed intifada against Israel while promising that it would actually support such an intifada and assist it by firing rockets from the Gaza Strip.

Hamas also leads a large support campaign on the social media of the “Lions’ Den” group and even transferred more than a million dollars to finance its activities.

However, despite this support, no rockets were fired from the Strip towards Israel.
Beyond statements of support by the leaders of the Palestinian factions and slogans that support the “Lions’ Den” group and the residents of Nablus, no real step has been taken on the ground.

Senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials threatened yesterday that the Gaza Strip ” will join the conflict in the event of an imminent escalation in the West Bank”, as if there had been no escalation until now.
Hamas movement announced that the “resistance in Gaza and the West Bank will not abandon its duty”, while the Islamic Jihad announced that “Gaza will not leave the West Bank and Jerusalem alone”.

Why has the Gaza Strip remained silent so far?

There are several reasons for this.

A. Pragmatism on the part of the Hamas that wants to maintain the monthly Qatari financial aid to the Gaza Strip, the continued entry of thousands of workers from the Gaza Strip to work in Israel, and the humanitarian relief and rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip from the damages of the recent wars.

B. Hamas has still not restored the tunnel system and rocket production that was severely damaged in the war in May 2021.

C.Israel learned the lessons from its military operation in May 2021 and formulated a new strategy of separating the various fronts and severing the connection between the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Arabs.

Israel proved last August that it does not hesitate to take the initiative and land a pre-emptive military strike on the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s military operation against the Islamic Jihad proved that Israel abandoned the policy of containment and moved to the policy of initiative and preemptive strike and assassinations.
It was an important message to Hamas.

The Israeli deterrence against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip is being maintained for the time being, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that some rockets will be fired from the Strip towards Israel as a warning signal, but the assessment in the Israeli security establishment is that until next week’s Knesset elections, no escalation is expected at the Gaza border either.

The big question is whether the deterrence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad will continue even if Israel conducts a large military operation in Nablus and Jenin to eliminate the terrorist infrastructure, the answer to this is not clear but Israel will have to decide on this question soon because, according to estimates, the terrorism in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will not stop and will even increase.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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