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Spike in militant attacks from Gaza Strip ahead of March 2020 Israeli elections

On 2 February, the Sunni Islamist militant group Hamas released a statement announcing that militants in the Gaza Strip would not stop their targeting of Israel. The statement was made amid ongoing airstrikes conducted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the Gaza Strip in response to a spate of increased violence by militants based there. The increased tempo of the conflict, paired with Hamas’ announcement of its commitment to continued violence, and the peace plan proposed by United States President Donald Trump, has resulted in increased attention being brought to the conflict, for example by Elders – an independent group of global leaders – at the recent Munich Security Conference on 14–16 February.

Response to US peace plan

On 28 January, the US announced its ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan, redirecting the “spotlight … back on the conflict”. Amongst other things, the plan proposes the establishment of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and the recognition of numerous Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – prompting outrage from Palestinian officials. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas labelled the plan a “conspiracy”, stating that his people’s rights “are not for sale”. In the weeks since the announcement of the peace plan, numerous protests have broken out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip leading to renewed clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians.

Attack methods and increased tempo

Rocket and incendiary balloon attacks in Israel, May 2018 – February 2020. (©2020 Jane’s Group UK)

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