In Gaza, Israel’s New Government Makes No Haste Asserting Itself

MIN READJun 18, 2021 | 21:28 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) speaks with Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar in the Knesset on June 16, 2021.

(MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel’s new government is already signaling a shift toward more hawkish policies, raising the risk of both accidental Gaza escalations and diplomatic pushback from the United States, as well as more unrest across Israel and the West Bank. Overnight on June 17, Israel’s new governing coalition, led by right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, conducted an increased number of airstrikes against militant targets inside Gaza after Palestinian militants launched incendiary balloons against the southern Israeli border. There were no casualties on either side and escalation does not appear imminent. The airstrikes, however, could signal the beginning of a policy shift in Israel’s Gaza strategy away from the relatively restrained policies of the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government toward a more hawkish stance favored by right-wing nationalists like Bennett, along with his coalition partners Gideon Sa’ar and Avigdor Liberman. ...

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