1. The #Gaza ceasefire broke this morning after barely a few hours. Over the past two days, Israeli fire has killed 34 Palestinians, and counting, including 6 children.
2. This escalation began with Israel’s assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Baha’ al-Atta, which ended a period of calm that has been in place since at least September.
3. The escalation is the deadliest since May 2018, when Israeli forces killed 86 Palestinians, the majority of whom were protesting America’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem.
4. This attack is the culmination of an Israeli narrative that has taken hold over the past year that Islamic Jihad is the disruptor in the Gaza Strip, compared to Hamas, the more responsible counterpart that stabilizes Gaza and respects ceasefire agreements.
5. The escalation unfolded mainly between Islamic Jihad and Israeli forces, with Hamas taking a back seat, even though it discursively came out in support of Islamic Jihad, reiterating that the resistance front in Gaza is united and refusing efforts to divide it.
6. Israel’s strategy demonstrates a recognition that Hamas has been effective at respecting past ceasefire agreements, and Israeli efforts to continue demonizing it falter in the face of what is an increasingly predictable and stable relationship between the two.
7. Islamic Jihad instead is treated as the spoiler and used to justify Israel’s attacks. The reality is that even with internal divisions, and Islamic Jihad’s disruptions, the factions in Gaza have been mostly united in their military tactics and capable of sustaining the calm.
8. On the flip side, Israel has failed to use the preceding period of calm to pursue measures that could sustainably alleviate suffering in Gaza by loosening the blockade. It has continued sticking to its policy of calm for calm, ignoring the violence of the blockade itself.
9. Even with the Israeli media priming for this assassination, the timing of the attack benefits Netanyahu by easing the negotiations deadlock with Gantz and neutralizing attacks from other politicians that challenge Bibi as soft on Gaza.
10. It is unclear if a ceasefire can resume. The one certain thing is that an iron fist on Gaza - whether due to Hamas or Islamic Jihad - carries significant political capital for Israeli politicians, offering little incentive for the current policy to be revisited.
You can follow @TareqBaconi.
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