There was a time when Israel had four so-called “confrontation states” with whom it had intermittent clashes, from firefights to battles to full-scale wars. Now that Egypt and Jordan are at relative peace, this leaves only Syria and Lebanon out of the original quartet. However, a fifth, or currently third, has emerged: namely Gaza.
Under the rule of Hamas for the last sixteen years and with no Israeli military presence within its boundaries, Gaza is a constant threat to Israel. Even when Hamas refrains from launching rockets it directs and incites terror from both the West Bank and Lebanon. With the Netanyahu Government unable to foil these attacks, it has sent warnings to Hamas leaders in Gaza and elsewhere that they will be targeted for assassination.
Should this happen, in the wake of a particularly grave terror attack, further escalation seems certain to ensue. The questions to consider are: is this in fact a foregone conclusion, what could be done about it and what would the affected parties gain or lose by a new round of attacks?