Israel had the biggest hand in creating the conditions that led to the exchange of rocket fire with Gaza, writes Haggai Matar of +972 Magazine. Its decision to engage in aggressive police behavior and evictions in east Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan was excessively provocative. This culminated in police storming the Al Aqsa mosque, Palestinians' holiest religious site, and a major flashpoint in the longstanding conflict. Hamas responding with rockets towards civilian areas in Israel is wrong and a war crime. However, Israel's blockade of Gaza and systemic violence and racism towards Palestinians have long sowed the seeds of conflict, not peace.
Hamas is responsible for provoking the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza, argues Neville Teller of the Jerusalem Post. The terrorist group has used this moment as an opportunity to establish itself as the alleged defender of all Palestinians against Israel, to rally them to its cause. Iran and Turkey are backing Hamas to use this violence to shake up Israel's recent peace deals with Arab nations. Their attack was planned to test for any weaknesses in Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. All in all, the current situation was set up by Hamas to consolidate its political power, achieve its allies' goals and strike out at Israel again, no matter the cost.