Israel and Syria exchange fire (again) and Netanyahu contemplates a bigger fight with Gaza

Israel and Syria traded fire across the ceasefire line in the Golan Heights for the second day in a row. The Israelis seem to think the mortar shells that have landed in Israeli-controlled territory were not aimed in that direction, but drifted that way unintentionally.

Nonetheless, the defense minister has promised a more aggressive response. And today, the IDF said it scored “direct hits” in Syria.

Israeli TV is now reporting that Syrian soldiers were injured.

Meanwhile, the cycle of violence between Israel and Gaza militants might be entering a new phase.

The pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom says the countdown to an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has begun already.

But Businessweek quotes analyst Jonathn Spyer, who’s doubtful that Bibi really wants – or has the stomach for – war in Gaza.

“If he can avoid it, he won’t want a ground incursion,” Spyer said by phone. “It doesn’t fit into his pattern of behavior. In contrast to his predecessors, he tries to diffuse the tensions.”

With Israel’s election season under way, Michael Koplow says Netanyahu is going to  find it harder and harder to avoid hitting back at Gaza by air and on the ground.

Ha’aretz military correspondents say the IDF is more likely to engage in assassination campaign against the leaders of Hamas and other militant factions rather than a full-blown ground incursion.

Likud Party minister Yisrael Katz, according to the NYTimes, has:

“called for the liquidation of the Hamas leadership in Gaza and said that Israel should stop supplying the enclave with water, electricity, food and fuel.”

At the root of the problem, according to military analyst Alex Fishman, is that the Israelis lack a coherent long-term policy for dealing with Hamas. He’s also critical of the IDF commander who sent a jeep to patrol the Palestinian side of the border fence.

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About Matthew Bell

Correspondent with PRI's The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston. We're an international news operation with an hour-long show Mon-Fri on US public radio stations. Check it all out here: www.pri.org. Follow me @matthewjbell & the show @pritheworld
This entry was posted in Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Politics, PRI's The World, Syria, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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