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Is West Bank, Gaza unrest a prelude of things to come?

Attacks on Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem after the release of President Donald Trump's peace plan have led security officials to view a recent escalation on the Gaza border in a new light.
Palestinian demonstrators burn a representation of an Israeli flag during a protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, in the southern Gaza Strip January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RC2ZQE9RWL7X
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Israel experienced two shootings and a car-ramming incident against its security forces on the West Bank and in Jerusalem on Feb. 6. With officials viewing the attacks as spontaneous reactions by Palestinians to the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan, the military began to take more seriously a recent gradual escalation on the Gaza border that had until now generated little attention in Israel.

In fact, for the past two weeks, several explosive devices attached to balloons have been launched from Gaza into Israel, as have rockets and artillery shells. Israel treated the latest escalation with a certain equanimity, regarding it as no different from the daily routine that residents of Israel’s southern communities and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have had to contend with for years. Accordingly, the IDF’s response had been relatively minor. Air strikes on what the military described as “Hamas targets” were carried out with precision to avoid hitting armed militants or civilians in Gaza. The attacks were meant to avert further escalation at a time of unprecedented political chaos in Israel and the run-up to the March 2 elections.

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