IDF top spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yoav "Poly" Mordechai, responded Monday to reports international actors were trying to instate a ceasefire between Gaza terror groups and Israel saying "facts in the field and not any declarations" would be the determinate factor.
"The chief of staff completed a situation assessment after midnight and concluded that the IDF is preparing for a fierce response based on several levels of operations," Mordechai said,. "We will examine the developments based on facts in the field and not any declarations."
Mordechai insisted, "the IDF is prepared both in terms of defense and offense in order to defend communities in the south."
However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected reports a ceasefire was being considered on Monday, saying, "There is no ceasefire, there are no negotiations and the IDF continues its operations."
Last night, Mordechai had said "The Hamas terrorist organization is the ruling body in the Gaza Strip, though at this point it remains passive. With different means, both direct and indirect, we are examining how Hamas is operating to end the escalation of violence."
But observers say it is unlikely Hamas is doing anything to stop the attacks, noting Gaza's principal terror organization has long played a double-game whereby they look the way as their confederate terror groups, such as Islamic Jihad, launch attacks and then claim their hands are clean.
Nonetheless, Mordechai touted the impact the IDF's present airstrikes-for-rocket-attacks were having on the Islamic Jihad terror organization.
"The Islamic Jihad was severely hurt from the IDF's attacks in response to the rocket fire. It was attacked and is anxious. So far, ten terrorists were killed, including Sheikh Ahmed Halili, a senior Islamic Jihad member, and injured others."
"It is unclear how long this will last. If a large number of people will be killed on both sides, this might continue for several more days," Mordechai added.
Security experts, however, say striking Hamas' terror allies in the enclave does little to undercut the entrenched terror network in Gaza, and that only by rooting out the terror infrastructure and munitions stockpiles there, can a lasting impact be had.
It is Hamas, they say, who controls not only the stockpiles of arms and smuggling tunnels in Gaza, but also the freedom of movement that allows rockets to be launched in the first place.
Numerous lawmakers, ministers, and security experts in Israel have called on the Netanyahy government to move away from the “maintenance paradigm” it currently maintains vis-à-vis Israel’s terror enemies, and strike directly at Hamas.
Islamic Jihad, they note, had been eviscerated following the targeted assassination of Sheik Yassin and its critical senior commanders in 2004, but was able to rebuild itself into a threat under Hamas’ tutelage as Israel’s posture shifted from aggressive deterrence to defensive counter-strikes following Israel’s abandoning Gaza in 2005.