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Sabra Express | Breaking Dawn

Emanuel Fabian, Times of Israel, August 9th, 2022


Recap:

Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) halted three days of fighting that saw hundreds of rockets lobbed at Israel and airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military inflicted significant damage on PIJ, destroying infrastructure including a tunnel into Israel. The flare-up is the worst outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants since last year’s 11-day war [1].


The Context:

· Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the terrorist group gained power 15 years ago. Hamas and PIJ are rival factions, often competing for men and resources, but usually partner in confronting Israel.

· The IDF opened its offensive on Friday afternoon striking 170 targets, citing an imminent attack from PIJ [2]. In total, 1,175 rockets were launched from Gaza at Israel with the Iron Dome intercepting 97% of them. 45 Palestinians were killed in the fighting, including 16 children. Israel points to errant PIJ rocket fire as the cause.

· Unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad is not responsible for overseeing Gaza’s 2.2 million people and are viewed as a more aggressive faction, often undermining Hamas’ authority [3]. Hamas sat this round of fighting on the sidelines, likely because it has not fully recovered from its last war with Israel and Israeli military made it clear they were focused solely on PIJ targets [4].

· Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid emerged emboldened from the conflict. He faces an election in November, Israel’s 5th since 2019, and has long been criticized for lacking the military knowledge to lead the country in a time of war. [5]

· Past Gaza conflicts drew heavy criticism from Arab countries but this time the response was more muted. Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that formalized ties with Israel in 2020, expressed concern but avoided criticism of Israel. US president Joe Biden urged a “swift resolution to the conflict” [6].


Conversation Points:

· Was Hamas happy to see PIJ lose?

· Is successfully maneuvering through one conflict enough to build Lapid’s wartime credentials?

· Have Arab countries with closer ties to Israel given up on the Palestinian cause?



Notes

2. A Cease-Fire Holds After a 3-Day Gaza Conflict: Key Takeaways, Isabel Kershner, New York Times, August 8th, 2022

4. Why Hamas stayed out of the latest Gaza conflict, Hadas Gold, CNN, August 8th, 2022

5. A Cease-Fire Holds After a 3-Day Gaza Conflict: Key Takeaways, Isabel Kershner, New York Times, August 8th, 2022

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