Netanyahu Warns of Possible War in Gaza Prior to March Election
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned of a possible war with Hamas prior to Israel’s March 2 election. His comments come amid the renewed launching of balloon-borne explosive devices from the Palestinian enclave into the Jewish state and follow a series of rocket attacks over the past week to which the Israeli military responded by striking terrorist positions in Gaza. Netanyahu made a similar assertion before September’s inconclusive national vote, which was followed weeks later by a major conflagration between the Israel Defense Forces and the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, which fired some 500 projectiles from Gaza toward Israel over a 48-hour period. Thereafter, relative calm was restored, with Hamas calling off its weekly protests along the border fence as the two sides, through Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations mediators, explored the possibility of a long-term cease-fire. However, talks on the matter have reportedly come to standstill, and many analysts believe Hamas is now upping the ante in order to pressure Israel into making concessions, particularly as regards the easing of restrictions on the entry of goods into the blockaded Palestinian territory.