Israeli military has for a while been promoting efforts to advance a long-term arrangement between Israel and Hamas, which could eventually lead to a relative quiet on the volatile border. And now, the newly appointed hard-liner defense minister appears to have also joined these efforts.
Naftali Bennett on Tuesday expressed his support for financial assistance to be delivered to the impoverished Gaza Strip, provided the funds do not come from Israeli sources.
Over the past few months, Qatar has been providing Gaza's rulers with financial aid in an effort to promote international development projects (with the agreement and support of Israel and Egypt) in order to improve the quality of life of the civilian population in the embattled enclave.
Following the targeted killing of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata by the IDF two weeks ago, both Israel and Hamas appear to recognize an opportunity to advance the understandings between them, one that the military leader of the Iranian-backed group opposed.
During the 48-hour round of fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad - sparked by Abu al-Ata's assassination - Hamas refrained from joining in, which the defense establishment is Israel considers as achievement when it comes to restoring Israel's deterrence.
Deterrence is in fact the second condition the defense minister has put forward for any possible arrangement with the terror group which rules the enclave.
In discussions with IDF commanders, the defense minister said that in order to strengthen Israel's deterrence, the army must respond quickly and forcefully to any attack originating from Gaza.
"Deterrence is achieved by actions and not words," he said adding that "anyone launching missiles at Israel must be targeted regardless of whether the missile caused any damage or not."
The new minister's doctrine - when it comes to achieving deterrence -includes his intention to hold back and deny burial of the bodies of Palestinians killed in violent conflict with Israel until all MIAs and civilians believed to be held by the factions in the Strip are returned to Israel.
"I don't see any logic in making gestures to the Palestinians and handing out presents, while our people are being held captive," he said.
Bennett added that the Gazans tend to turn any funeral into a pro-terror festival.
The security cabinet will have to decide on the issue since Bennett said he intends to raise it there as soon as possible.
The family of MIA Hadar Goldin expressed support for the defense minister's position but added that living Palestinian prisoners should also remain in Israeli hands until the issue is resolved.
First published: 16:17 , 11.28.19