During Operation Protective Edge, the IDF destroyed more than 30 tunnels in the Strip. But just as the two opponents were set to begin indirect negotiations in Cairo to reach a long-term accord, Hamas has decided to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and test whether he will respond to the group's extensive reinforcement efforts.
Given the lack of an official truce agreement, it remains unclear how Israel will respond to Hamas rearming, resupplying, and – most importantly – rebuilding the tunnels leading into Israeli territory.
On Friday, Yedioth Ahronoth's political analyst Shimon Shiffer said that the Military Intelligence Director is expected to present in the coming days a comprehensive report to the political establishment regarding Hamas' rehabilitation efforts.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the press pool on Sunday that he does not believe it is possible to demilitarize Gaza. Lieberman compared Hamas to the Islamic State, claiming that the Gaza group was no less dangerous than its counterpart in Syria and Iraq.
On Saturday, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, Mahmoud al-Zahar, said that "if the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank held a quarter of the tools at the disposal of the resistance in Gaza – Israel would be demolished in a day."
He said the security coordination in the West Bank between the Palestinian Authority and Israel was a crime, and that if the largest force in the West Bank changed direction towards resistance, Israel's days would be numbered.
Al-Zahar further claimed that countries which had previously considered Hamas to be a terror organization had changed their opinion during the fighting and have now expressed interest in dialogue with the group.
"Victory has many fathers and failure has but one – its name is Netanyahu," al-Zahar said. The Hamas official also dismissed Israeli claims that the IDF destroyed all the group's tunnels. "Who is stopping us right now from building new tunnels?"