Azerbaijan, Baku, August 3 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
Despite the rocket attacks on Israeli territory and air raids on alleged weapons caches in the Gaza Strip, the experts do not think that this will repeat the scenario of the winter of 2008.
Israel carried out a 22-day military operation in the Palestinian enclave to stop rocket attacks of members of the Palestinian movement Hamas in late December 2008 and early January of 2009.
"So basically there is some agreement between Hamas and Israeli government that no one wants to escalate," a research associate at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Hillel Frisch told Trend over phone
On Monday, the territory of the Israeli resort town of Eilat was fired by missiles, which as expected was conducted from neighboring Jordan or Gaza.
Israeli Air Force continued air strikes on Sunday. Two underground tunnels were attacked. One of them was intended for smuggling weapons, the second - for militants to penetrate Israel, servicemen said.
A press-release by the Israeli Army press service called the bombing as a response to the incident with Palestinian rocket. It has recently damaged a public building in the countryside in southern Israel. No one was hurt.
On Friday, Palestinian militants fired Ashkelon - one of the largest cities in Israel's south. Rocket-type "Grad" exploded in a residential area, damaging cars and homes. Nobody was injured, RIA Novosti reported.
Israel made airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in response to Friday's shelling. One of commanders of Hamas ruling in the enclave, more than a dozen of Palestinians were wounded on Saturday night.
According to Palestinian media, the responsibility for Friday's attack was taken by the Popular Resistance Committees. On Saturday missiles were launched. Salafi groups - supporters of radical Islam, the opposition Hamas took responsibility for these attacks. The Israeli authorities said that they will consider Hamas guilty of any "terrorist activities emanating from Gaza, irrespective of the particular executor.
The situation is similar to that one occured in the fall and winter of 2008, when Hamas fired at southern Israel in protest against the blockade of Gaza. Israel responded by a large-scale military operation 'Cast Lead'.
But experts think that increased tension on the border of Israel with Gaza is rather political in nature. It is unlikely to lead to another war.
The Center for Strategic Studies Al-Ahram head Gamal Abdel Gawad said that Hamas wants to remind the world community about its role in the peace process, which can not be ignored.
"Hamas says more about direct negotiations to show the rest its importance in the peace process, which can not be continued without its participation. Israel, in its urn, wants to remind Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that most of the Palestinian territories is out of its control, Gawad told Trend over phone from Cairo.
Moderate reaction of the Israeli government is also associated with pressure, it has suffered after the incident with the humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea. That time nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli navy, Gawad said.
If one does not touch upon the political aspects, neither Hamas nor Israel are interested in an open military confrontation, Egyptian analyst said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry commented on the air raids as "unconditional right and duty to protect its citizens," the official statement of the ministry said.
"Israel will respond to the renewed aggression by the means and time, which it considers acceptable," Israeli Foreign Minister cites excerpts from the documents submitted to the UN.
"Israel is playing the same game it is not interested in conduction another offensive. But Israel would like 0 missiles on its territory. Israel reaction is very moderate in proportion the missiles that have been launched," Frisch said.
Hamas is not directly involved, it is groups like Islamic Jihad or revolutionary popular committees- small groups and sometimes Fatah to embarrass Hamas in Gaza fires these missiles, he said.
The final blow at Hamas, which led to the death of one of its leaders was strong enough. So, Hamas was hit hard and doesn't want to escalate, he said.
"Hamas is interested in very low level trickle and it has probably more to do with prisoner exchange, there is a lot of pressure on Hamas to deliver prison exchange, because it has been 3 years since capturing Shalit. Hamas is not interested in repeating the scenario of two years ago.
If small groups increase the number of rocket attacks on Israel, the movement can take measures to halt attacks," Frisch said.
In the last years there have been 200 missiles when previously between 2001 and 2008 there were around 8,000, it much less.
The report by the Israeli army says that Palestinian militants have fired about 110 rockets and placed mines in southern Israel since the beginning of 2010 and more than 400 - since January of 2009, after completion of 'Cast Lead' operation.