Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, display home-made rockets during an anti-Israel military parade, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 21, 2016.
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)
Intelligence officials warned that there is an increasingly possibility of a confrontation with the Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza in 2019.
According to a report published by Channel 13 news, this chance of an escalation would increase with the death of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The PA chairman has been in extremely poor health.
Channel 13 also said that security priority has in recent years been focused on Israel’s northern border, where the state is at threat of attack by Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria.
Further, the Gaza border has necessitated security attention, though in recent months the southern has been relatively quiet. The report stressed that security officials assume this quiet to be temporary.
If the escalation occurs with Palestinians in Gaza, wrote Channel 13, then it could consist of a ground assault, during which the aim would be to engage Israel in a short, intense fight with Hamas. A ceasefire would then enable the terrorist organization to demand an easing of economic restriction on Gaza.
Security officials do not believe that the next escalation will involve kidnappings, but would likely involve a new network of tunnels.
Another element which could lead to an escalation, according to the report, is the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza. It recently proved its independence from Hamas by carrying out shooting attacks along the border fence.
Finally, Channel 13 reported that Israel expects to operate in new ways in 2019, though it did not disclose additional details.
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