What does new round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict mean?

What does new round of Israeli-Palestinian conflict mean?

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have carried out additional strikes in the Gaza Strip today in response to the rocket attack on the State of Israel.

After the declaration of a ceasefire, in the early hours of Tuesday, Palestinian radicals launched about 30 missiles targeting Southern Israel, the army press service reports. In response, the Israeli military hit 15 military targets in the Gaza Strip.

Israel opened public bomb shelters in most major cities and civil defense authorities canceled sports events and public transportation in southern Israel, while schools were cancelled for the day, the AP reported.

The conflict took another turn when in the early morning of March 25, a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip struck a residential building in the moshav of Mishmeret in Central Israel, north of Tel Aviv. The attack left seven people injured including children. In response to the rocket fire, the army launched an offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to cut short his official visit to the U.S. citing the developments in Israel. Netanyahu held just one meeting with President Donald Trump, during which he signed a decree saying the U.S. recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Boarding his flight back home, Netanyahu said Israel had delivered "a very, very forceful response."

The previous military operation in Gaza dubbed Protective Edge lasted 50 days in July-August 2014, its official objective was to force the Palestinian enclave to cease rocket attacks on Israel.

The head of the department of Israel and Jewish Communities Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Tatyana Karasova, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the current escalation is likely to be of short-term nature. "The situation will calm down soon. The current exchange of missile strikes is a result of the U.S. decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. It is not even clear whether the Israeli military forces intend to carry out an operation in Gaza after these attacks, the elections are coming and all Israeli politicians are engaged in preparations for them," she said.

"The geopolitical situation in the region is still tense. Moreover, there have been two factors that only worsen the situation - Trump's statement about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the pro-Israel stance on the Golan Heights. The situation in the Middle East is tense as always, and for the most part unpredictable," Tatyana Karasova stressed.

Director of the Center for Partnership of Civilizations of MGIMO, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Veniamin Popov,noted that the situation is unpredictable, so one can only guess about future prospects.

"On the one hand, the Israelis may decide that on the eve of the upcoming Israeli elections they need to strike Gaza again. On the other hand, dissatisfaction with Trump’s decision to recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights can lead to unpredictable consequences. The whole world condemns this decision, one can say, the United States simply violated norms of international law by doing this," the expert noted.

“In any case, the fact that they managed to reach a cease-fire through the representatives of Egypt is a positive fact. But since there is an aggravation from all sides, one can only guess how the situation will develop in the future. I think it will be closely linked to the decision on the Golan Height, because everyone warns that it was an actual step towards war," he explained.

Veniamin Popov also recalled Netanyahu's ambiguous situation on the eve of the election, who is opposed by a center-left coalition, which also has great chances of success.