The volatile region of Israel and its neighbourhood in the Middle East is seeing relative calm after the 11-day Hamas-Israel war in May this year. However, the rivalries refuse to die down.
The latest provocation has come in the form of border protests held by Hamas, their unceasing air balloon attacks and the consequent airstrikes by Israel. These protests escalated as the Palestinians clashed with the Israeli border guards. Israeli media and security establishment is looking at the incidents as the possible seed of the next battle with Hamas.
Last week saw Israel conduct pre-emptive airstrikes against terror targets in Syria. The Israeli fighter jets flew over the Lebanese capital of Beirut and targeted the Syrian cities of Homs and the capital Damascus. Curiously, the Russian defence ministry broke the news about this happening. Throughout the Syrian Civil War and after that, Russia has provided air defence systems to Syria. Moreover, the Russians have said that their systems were able to shoot down 22 Israeli missiles.
This update coming from Russia is considered a warning by Moscow to Jerusalem to stay away from the latter’s ally, Syria. The warning could complicate the security challenges in the Middle East, given the widespread Russian influence in the region.
Another front brewing trouble for Israel is with Lebanon. During the May war with Hamas, rockets were fired on Israel from within Lebanon. That time, already engaged with Hamas, Israel had largely preferred to ignore the attacks. Besides, the rockets hits were blamed on Palestinian militant groups. However, continued attacks do suggest an involvement of Hezbollah and possible build-up in tensions with Israel.
Terrorist Taliban, which has come to power in Afghanistan, has worryingly forged ties with Hamas. It could mean violence spilling over from Afghanistan into the Middle East.
The world is currently focused on the Afghan war. However, the Middle East, especially the region of Israel and its neighbourhood, sees a tense calm that could get triggered in the time to come. However, when it will happen depends much on the restraint the newly elected Israeli government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shows amid continued provocations.