Empty threats? Gaza terror groups differ on response to Sheikh Jarrah tension

Hamas’s reluctance to threaten retaliatory action from Gaza may indicate that the terror group’s capabilities are still devastated from the last conflict.

By World Israel News Staff

Despite a threat that Israel would face serious “consequences” for any change to the status quo in the eastern Jerusalem Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood, the overall response from Gaza-based terror groups as to possible escalation with Israel over the flashpoint site has been mixed.

Hamas’ hesitance to threaten rocket launches into Israel from Gaza raises questions about how much last May’s Operation Guardian of the Walls clash with the IDF affected terror infastructure in the Strip.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, officials from Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which has operatives in both Gaza and PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria, have made statements indicating that they’re ready for “round two” and eager to battle with the Jewish State once again.

“The resistance in Gaza is ready for another round of military confrontation at any moment if the crimes of occupation in Jerusalem continue,” senior PIJ official Daoud Shihab was reported as saying by news site Abu Ali Express.

That sentiment was backed by his colleague, Khaled al-Batash, who emphasized that PIJ was ready to “defend” Sheikh Jarrah residents via military force.

But Hamas took a more measured approach towards threatening Israel, warning that the Jewish State was “playing with fire,” but stopping short of specifying what violent escalation would follow.

While Hamas has downplayed the damage to its weapons stockpiles and infrastructure caused by Israeli airstrikes, its reluctance to threaten retaliatory action from Gaza may indicate that the terror group’s capabilities are still devastated from the last round of conflict.

The Hamas statement warned that Palestinians would unite to protest evictions of Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah, urging Arabs from PA-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem to “mobilize” and engage in confrontations with security forces.

Notably, Hamas did not mention that Gazans would be part of the united Arab effort against Israeli activity in Sheikh Jarrah, nor that its operatives in the Strip would be participating in any conflict with Israel over the matter.

Israel’s southern border with the Strip has been relatively quiet, with no reports of rocket launches, attempts to cross the border, or arson balloons.

This comes as a major departure from May 2021, when Hamas launched a rocket at Jerusalem during a period of high tension on the Temple Mount and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

That initial rocket launch was followed by a barrage of missiles fired at civilian areas throughout Israel and widespread rioting by Arabs in mixed Arab-Jewish municipalities.