Hamas may be forced into war unless Gaza situation improves, Israeli officials tell PM

According to an Israeli security assessment, the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip has become so urgent that it may lead Hamas to launch war despite it being against its interests.
Photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib, Flash 90

Israeli security officials have told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating rapidly, Israel News Company reported on Saturday.

The officials warned that the current situation in Gaza might prompt Hamas to initiate a military conflict even though it is not interested in one. According to the report, Israel is considering transferring food and medicine directly into the Strip, a step never taken before.

Meanwhile, ministers in the Israeli cabinet have voiced harsh criticism over what they describe as "dragging feet" on tackling the growing threat of rockets in the south.

In December, JOL reported that Israeli security officials had told the Security Cabinet that the situation in Gaza resembled the one that existed just before Operation Protective Edge in 2014, warning that it might lead to a new military conflict with Hamas.

The officials then based their assessment on factors such as the rapidly-worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, a high unemployment rate, the cutting of funds from Qatar and the general disappointment of Gazans from the failing reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

The assessment from December was made before the Trump administration's decision to cut its financial aid to UNRWA, a move said to have put Gaza on the brink of collapse.



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