ZAt least some normality was quickly restored on Monday. The Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which had been hit by shelling the night before, opened in the morning, albeit only for humanitarian transport. The 12,000 Palestinians with work permits for Israel were not yet allowed to cross the border again; from Israel it was said that this would be the case on Tuesday at the earliest. Food and medicine did make it into Gaza — as well as fuel, allowing the coast’s only electric power plant to resume work after shutting down on Saturday. The Israeli army dropped all restrictions on areas in the south of the country at noon. The called-up reservists were sent home.
On both sides, people inspected the damage caused by the attacks. Gazans also counted the dead and injured. The Hamas said 45 people were killed and 360 injured between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. 15 of the dead are said to have belonged to militant groups, and 15 others are said to have been children. The Israeli army gave different figures: A spokesman said an estimated 35 people were killed in the Gaza Strip as a result of the Israeli attacks. Eleven of them were civilians.
It was the deadliest escalation in the Gaza Strip in more than a year. It was also the shortest armed conflict since Hamas took sole control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. It lasted almost two and a half days, then at 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday evening, the mediated by Egypt truce and lasted, with a few exceptions, also on Monday. In Israel, this was viewed as a success by the vast majority of commentators. With the surprise attack on Friday, the army made short work of the PIJ, the “Movement of Islamic Jihad in Palestine”. The army’s airstrikes killed and otherwise severely damaged several senior leaders of the militant organization—all without casualties. According to the army, the Iron Dome missile defense system was more effective than ever against the more than 1,000 missiles fired by the PIJ.
Hamas did not participate
After several strikes in the Gaza Strip killed several people, including children, the Israeli army quickly released material to show that the hits were the result of failed PIJ rocket launches and not Israeli shelling. Some observers drew a comparison with the multi-day armed conflict between Israel and the PIJ in autumn 2019 and pointed out the most important similarity: Hamas did not intervene in the conflict then as now. “I think that’s one of the things that the Israel Defense Forces consider a success,” Sagi Baruch, commander of the southern home front district, said on Kan radio station Monday. Unnamed high-ranking government officials were quoted in the media as saying that Hamas was certain that it would remain silent. It is the strongest military force in the Gaza Strip, ahead of the PIJ with its approximately 6,000 fighters.
Both groups are ideologically and militarily allied, but they also go their separate ways in some respects. While Hamas is primarily focused on maintaining power and dominating Gaza residents, the Iran-backed PIJ is more focused on continuing the fight against Israel. More recently, he has devoted more energy to building cells in the northern West Bank, such as in the cities of Jenin and Nablus.
Above all, the activities of “Islamic Jihad” in the Gaza Strip are not always convenient for Hamas. PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nachala, who is currently in Iran, called for the “unity” of the Resistance Front after the start of the Israeli military operation. The Hamas leadership apparently did not listen to him. In general, things remained quiet among the Palestinians over the weekend, especially compared to May last year, when the Gaza war led to serious clashes between Palestinians and Jews, including within Israel. The fact that more than 2,000 national-religious Jews visited the site of the former temple on the Al-Aqsa site on Sunday on the occasion of a public holiday did not lead to any major escalation. There were some minor scuffles and a Palestinian photographer at the Al-Aqsa compound was detained by Israeli police and was reportedly ill-treated. in the Middle East Conflict this is also part of normality.
However, after the ceasefire was declared, Al-Nachala spoke of Israel’s capitulation. At a press conference in Tehran, the PIJ leader also said that Israel had pledged to release PIJ commander Bassam al-Saadi, who was arrested in Jenin a week ago, and another group commander who has been detained without charge and has been in prison for weeks as a result hunger strike to release. Otherwise, al-Nachala threatened, the PIJ would resume fighting. In Israel, it has been disputed that such promises exist. Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said on the radio that al-Saadi remains in prison “like any prisoner.”