Israel Defense Forces are preparing for renewed attacks from Hamas one week after a ceasefire was reached.
While Israel's political leaders have praised the ceasefire as a successful deterrence of Hamas, IDF officers have privately expressed worries that the terrorist group may reinitiate the conflict, according to Haaretz. Israel's attacks damaged only 10 percent of Hamas’s rocket launching network, and the Iran-backed terrorist group has thousands of missiles left. Without a long-term political agreement between the two, Israeli defense officials say, the fighting will resume.
The officials say an agreement could be reached if Hamas exchanged two captured Israelis and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014 for humanitarian aid to Gaza meant to rebuild destroyed infrastructure. Hamas may also advocate for the return of prisoners held in Israel.
But Israeli military officials worry the humanitarian aid may lead to further attacks. Humanitarian funding in the hands of Hamas, instead of civilian authorities, will strengthen the terrorist group’s leverage, and Iran has expressed interest in sending aid directly to Hamas’s military.
Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz on Thursday extended the IDF leader's term for another year, saying the move "is crucial for Israel’s security" at a time "of regional shifts and complex challenges."
There is also historical precedent for initial ceasefire efforts falling apart. The last major crisis in Gaza—armed conflict between IDF and Hamas in 2014—required multiple rounds of peace talks before fighting completely stopped.