Exactly four years after “Operation Protective Edge” ‎in the Gaza Strip, Israel and Hamas are at the ‎brink of another full-fledged clash.‎

The escalation notes this weekend did not have one ‎single trigger but rather it was the result of both ‎parties reaching critical mass. Months of border ‎riots and arson terrorism have worn out Israel’s ‎patience, and the restriction imposed on Gaza’s ‎fishing zone and the shuttering of the Kerem Shalom ‎cargo crossing did the same for Hamas. ‎

It seems that both Israel and Hamas wanted to change the rules of the game on ‎the ground, but both also sought to do so without ‎completely breaking the existing mold. ‎

As violent as the past weekend has been, Hamas and ‎Israel both went to great lengths to still contain ‎the situation. Israel exacerbated its airstrikes on ‎Gaza, including destroying several key Hamas ‎positions, but it made sure to minimize any danger to civilians. Hamas fired 200 rockets at ‎Israel, but kept its range to the Gaza-vicinity ‎communities, keeping the bigger southern cities—Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba—out of the rockets’ ‎reach, for now. ‎

Still, it is highly likely that Hamas was taken ‎aback by the intensity of Israel’s response. The Israel Defense Forces ‎was gearing up for this exact scenario and had ‎prepared a target bank, including the two terror ‎tunnels destroyed over the weekend. Hamas took a few ‎hours to rally its troops, but once it did, the die ‎was cast. From this moment on, both parties are ‎ready for a rapid escalation neither of them really ‎wants.‎

Hamas is on maximum alert and the IDF is ready for ‎it, showing a clear preference to airstrikes and ‎deploying Iron Dome missile-defense system batteries to ‎protect Israeli border towns, with aim of avoiding a ‎ground incursion of Gaza if possible. ‎

The way things evolve from here is up to both sides’ ‎ability to roll back their rhetoric and their ‎actions and Egypt, which assumed its familiar role ‎as mediator, is focused on that.‎

Israel has set three conditions for a cease-fire, namely an immediate end to rocket fire, arson terrorism and the border riot campaign. Hamas, for its ‎part, demands the reopening of the Gaza crossings in full ‎and a cessation of all Israeli strikes in Gaza. ‎

While Israel is likely to contain an incendiary kite ‎here and there, it will not allow for the gradual ‎reintroduction of a reality by which Palestinian ‎arson terrorism dominates the daily routine of ‎border-adjacent communities.‎

Those who argue that Israel should not place ‎soldiers in harm’s way over kites, balloons and burnt ‎crops are right, but until Israel reshapes its ‎policy on Gaza, the residents of the border ‎communities deserve a quiet summer, even if it means ‎a few days of fighting in Gaza.

Yoav Limor is a veteran Israeli journalist and columnist for Israel Hayom.