by Keren Setton
JERUSALEM, May 5 (Xinhua) -- As hundreds of rockets fired by militants in the Gaza Strip landed in Israel over the weekend, analysts are divided on whether the violence between Israel and Hamas would further escalate.
An Israeli man was killed early on Sunday morning by a rocket while eight Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli airstrikes throughout the weekend.
The recent flare-up comes after a month of relative calm between the two sides.
Jonathan Conricus, head of the International Media Branch at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Unit, said over 4200 rockets were fired into Israeli territory by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement.
The recent escalation is not the first since last year, leaving many Israelis impatient about solutions to bring long-lasting calm to the volatile border.
"Seeing that Israel does not have a strategy about Gaza and the Hamas has clear goals, Hamas manages to dictate when the violence begins and when it ends," Ronnie Shaked of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said.
The flare-up comes days before Israel marks its Independence Day and two weeks before the Eurovision song contest held in Tel Aviv.
The contest is expected to draw thousands of tourists from abroad and Israel has invested large amounts of money in preparation.
Israeli analysts speculated that Hamas may exploit this delicate time to gain advantages in Egypt-mediated cease-fire talks that have been going on for weeks.
"I do not see any advantage that Hamas will gain because of the sensitive time," said Efraim Karsh, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
"Even if they manage to get concessions, the concessions will be cancelled immediately," Karsh added.
Israel has been struggling with its policy toward Hamas which has been controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007. Hamas does not recognize Israel's right to exist.
Because of an almost 12-year blockade by Israel, the Gaza Strip is seeing an increasingly dire economic situation and a growing humanitarian crisis.
While Israel seems to be growing less tolerant to the increasing frequency of border flare-ups, it is not clear whether the Jewish state will intensify its response.
"Israel will not topple Hamas because there is no alternative to their rule," Karsh said.
The Israeli government has indicated that they do not see this as an option, he added, as there is fear for a more extreme entity to take over Gaza.
However, in a briefing to reporters, Conricus said an armored brigade was being sent to the southern border "to be ready to undertake offensive missions ... in enemy terrain."
Since the last war in 2014, Israel has refrained from putting boots on the ground in Gaza and has chosen to show force through massive airstrikes in times of escalating violence.
"There is no chance for Israel to undertake a ground offensive at this point," Shaked told Xinhua.
"Netanyahu does not want a war, especially in the coming weeks. This round will end once Hamas has determined it has hit Israel hard enough," Shaked said.
For now, the Israeli military has retaliated with airstrikes on hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad military targets, including a cross-border tunnel meant to help militants carry out attacks within Israel.
"Israel needs to decide what it wants," Karsh told Xinhua. "Hamas is rational. If it knows that violence and provocations might topple it, they might be quiet."