A day before the midnight expiration of a five-day ceasefire, Israel sent out clear messages on Sunday that it will respond massively to any type of fire from Gaza and not tolerate a long-term “war of attrition.”
“It is not clear whether there will be an agreement,” a senior diplomatic official said as the Israeli and Palestinian delegations held indirect talks in Cairo.
If no agreement is agreed upon, the official said, there are two possibilities. The first is that no cease-fire extension or agreement is reached by Monday at midnight, and Hamas renews its firing. “If that happens,” he said, “Israel’s response will be strong.”
He said an example of Israel’s likely reaction was last weekend’s breakdown of the cease-fire, when Hamas fired mortars at Israel and the IAF responded by hitting 170 terrorist targets inside Gaza.
The other possibility is that the cease-fire lapses, but the firing does not resume, in which case efforts would continue to find a longer-term arrangement, the official said.