Tensions have increased following the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prison last week, and struggling efforts by Egypt in brokering a long-term ceasefire after an 11-day conflict last May.
Three rocket launches were reported by the Israeli military late Sunday and Monday. It claimed that at least two of them had been intercepted in its rocket defenses. It responded by saying it had attacked several Hamas targets. Both sides did not report any casualties.
Sunday's call by Yair Lapid, Israeli Foreign Minister, for a new approach in ending the fighting with Hamas was made. He described a plan for international investment in Gaza's infrastructure as a way to put pressure on Hamas for a halt to its military buildup and maintain calm.
Lapid stated that "the policy Israel has pursued until now hasn’t substantially changed the circumstances," during a speech delivered at Reichman University north of Tel Aviv.
He said, "We must change our direction."
Many details about his proposal, which he claimed was in consultation with other countries, have been discussed before, but not implemented due to fighting, deep distrust or bitter internal divisions. The proposal was not immediately commented on by Naftali Bennett (Israel's Prime Minister), who Lapid will replace in 2023 as part of a rotation agreement.
According to the army, Hamas launched rockets into Israel, but they were stopped by Israel's Iron Dome defense systems. It also said that fighter jets had struck a Hamas military post. Within hours, the army received a report of an attempted stabbing at the Gush Etzion Junction south of Bethlehem. According to the army, no soldiers were injured in the attack and that the attacker was taken to a hospital.
Israel captured four of six Palestinian prisoners who had tunneled out from a maximum security prison in Tel Aviv on Sept. 6. The Palestinian militants responded by firing rocket fire. The search by Israel for the two remaining prisoners continues.
Egyptian mediation efforts to reach a long-term truce are in shambles, with both sides unable agree to a system for renewing Qatari payments to Gaza families. Israel demanded that Hamas not use the money for military purposes.
Gaza is an impoverished area whose population is overwhelmingly made up of families that fled or were expelled from their homes in Israel during the 1948 war.
Hamas wants Israel to end the crippling blockade that has decimated Gaza's economy. Israel, on the other hand, is asking Hamas to release two Israeli civilians held captive and return two Israeli soldiers.
Since 2007, when Hamas overthrew the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority, Gaza has been under the control of Hamas. This was one year after the Islamic militant group won Palestinian elections.
Israel and Hamas have fought 4 wars since then and many smaller rounds of fighting.