Whether or not this morning’s assassination of an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza and the retaliatory barrage of rockets fired at the south of the country will escalate into another mini-war in Gaza has yet to be seen. At this stage, the Palestinians are threatening retaliation and Israel is talking tough. Given that cool heads are a rare commodity in this part of the world, things could still get uglier.
What’s already clear is that Benjamin Netanyahu is playing by the book. Creating a security crisis to deflect public attention from political failure is a time-honored tradition in Israel; virtually every prime minister has resorted to it at one point or another. Media pundits have been forecasting a military adventure ever since Netanyahu lost the second 2019 election and failed to cobble together a workable coalition. He is not one to slip away without a fight (though preferably with someone else doing the fighting).