On the eve of the second anniversary of the establishment of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, the Gaza Strip is on edge and is seeking to counter any potential Israeli escalation by using a mix of rhetoric and concrete measures.
With Israeli and Egyptian rockets raining down on Gaza over the past week, Hamas leaders have sought to highlight the potential escalation as they look to the future.
The former has been the focus of a new war, with the latter now the main threat to the country.
In recent days, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has urged residents to prepare for a “civil war” and “war on the streets.”
In the past few weeks, the Palestinian leadership has also issued threats, saying that a “dirty war” is on its way and that Hamas was prepared to “turn the clock back” on the Gaza military operation, and that it was prepared for an “intense battle.”
In response, Hamas officials have claimed that the military operation has already cost thousands of lives and damaged tens of thousands of homes, with several Gazans suffering serious health problems and a few others losing their lives.
The new threat is coming from a few Hamas factions, and they are also using a combination of rhetoric, gestures and concrete actions.
While Hamas’ current war strategy has been largely focused on the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the group’s leaders have also used rhetoric and gestures to signal a new phase of the conflict.
The rhetoric from Hamas has included a number of symbolic acts, including holding a large protest against the Israel-Egypt blockade of Gaza.
On Friday, Hamas’ leader, Khaled Mashaal, said that the Gaza conflict was about the future of the region and the Middle East, adding that the West Bank and Gaza had become the “front lines” of the Israeli war.
He said that Hamas would not hesitate to “use force” in any conflict, and reiterated that Gaza was an integral part of the Palestinian cause.
Mashaal also made the case that Israel was the aggressor in the current conflict, as he claimed that “it’s the occupation that has been committing aggression against the Palestinians.”
Israel is also seeking to portray the war as a proxy war between the Palestinians and the Jewish state.
In addition, Hamas has sought to make a number inroads in the media by using various online platforms.
On Tuesday, the organization posted a video on YouTube, in which the leader of Hamas, Muhannad al-Malki, referred to the United States and Israel as “the biggest enemy” in the Middle Eastern region, while highlighting the “great danger” posed by Israel.
In the video, Malki said that Israel is “taking revenge for the death of our prophet Muhammad.”
In addition to his statements, the leader also referenced the recent Gaza conflict and the “crushing of the Gaza rocket,” which the group claimed was launched from the Strip.
In response to the statement, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that it would be “unwise” to make such a “mistake,” and the minister said that he was “not sure that Malkieh is really the one that is speaking for Hamas,” the Times of Israel reported.
The latest video was posted in response to a recent statement from Israel’s military chief, Benny Gantz, who said that while Hamas has “not yet” taken any concrete steps to take on Israel, it was ready to “take any action necessary.”
Israel’s military also made a series of statements on Friday, including a statement from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that said that if the threat of a “sudden and decisive escalation” by Hamas is “taken seriously,” “Israel will be forced to take preemptive action.”
The statement from Rivlin comes amid the “sustained and aggressive efforts” by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to address the escalation, as well as to show Israel that the threat from Hamas remains “a credible threat,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The current escalation is part of an ongoing pattern of violence by Hamas that is directed at Israel and its citizens,” the Israeli statement read.
“The ongoing efforts by the parties to respond to the threat in Gaza and in other places in the world are in part based on the reality that the Palestinians have been unwilling or unable to engage in serious negotiations with Israel.”
Yaalon also warned that the Israeli government is “ready to act” to stop the escalation in the region.
The Israeli statement also said that “all options are on the table” for dealing with the escalation.
In a separate statement on Friday evening, the United Nations Security Council held a rare meeting on the crisis, which was attended by Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and the United Kingdom.
The council’s meeting came hours after the Israeli military warned of possible escalation in Gaza following the destruction of a UN-designated border crossing.
The meeting was called to discuss the escalating situation in Gaza, as the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said it is “urgently” trying