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What Hamas’s Massive Terror Tunnel Signifies

Jan. 17 2018

The IDF demolished a Hamas tunnel last weekend that stretched from Egyptian territory in the Sinai, underneath Gaza, to a point 180 meters into Israeli territory, adjacent to the sole border crossing that connects Gaza and Israel. To Ron Ben-Yishai, the tunnel’s existence demonstrates much about Hamas’s plans:

Hamas’s military wing likely counted on this tunnel for smuggling strategic weapons, possibly heavy precision-guided missiles that would be sent to the Strip from Iran through Sinai and serve Hamas in its next conflict with Israel. But that wasn’t its only purpose. Another purpose was to infiltrate Israel and to target the [nearby] communities of Kerem Shalom and Shlomit, and possibly also bomb the crossing on its Israeli side. . . . The [obvious] conclusion is that [Hamas] was willing to sacrifice the Gazans’ welfare and vital needs in favor of a “strategic surprise” for Israel in the Kerem Shalom area.

Those who wondered about Hamas’s leader Yahya Sinwar’s apparent moderation have now received their answer. The restraint practiced by the radical terrorist, [who was among many terrorists released in exchange for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit], was simply a way of covering up his intention to carry out a murderous attack in Israel and bypass the Egyptian measures aimed at disconnecting Islamic State in Sinai from Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations in Gaza. . . .

Hamas and Islamic Jihad now understand, without a doubt, that they are about to lose all of their underground assets. Furthermore, the Egyptians are going to reevaluate their relationship with Hamas in Gaza. As a result, the probability is growing that the two largest terror organizations in the strip will initiate an escalation with Israel, before losing the ability to surprise us [altogether].

Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Sinai Peninsula

 

Israel Agreed Not to Retaliate During the Persian Gulf War—and Paid a Price for It

Feb. 19 2018

During the Persian Gulf War of 1991, Saddam Hussein fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel, killing one person and causing extensive property damage. Under intense pressure from the first Bush administration to sit still—ostensibly because Israeli involvement in the war could lead Arab states to abandon the White House’s anti-Iraq coalition—Jerusalem refrained from retaliating. Moshe Arens, who was the Israeli defense minister at the time, comments on the decision in light of information recently made public:

[W]hat was George H.W. Bush thinking [in urging Israel not to respond]? His secretary of state, James Baker, had accompanied the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles (Chas) Freeman, on a visit to King Fahd in Riyadh on November 2, 1990, two-and-a-half months before the beginning of the war, to obtain the king’s approval for additional deployment of U.S. troops in his kingdom in preparation for the attack on Iraq.

He was told by the king that although they would not welcome Israeli participation in the war, he understood that Israel could not stand idly by if it were attacked by Iraq. If Israel were to defend itself, the Saudi armed forces would still fight on America’s side, the king told Baker. So much for the danger to the coalition if Israel were to respond to the Scud attacks. Israel was not informed of this Saudi position.

So why was President Bush so intent on keeping Israel out of the war? It seems that he took the position, so dominant in the American foreign-policy establishment, that America’s primary interest in the Middle East was the maintenance of good relations with the Arab world, and that the Arab world attached great importance to the Palestinian problem, and that as long as that problem was not resolved Israel remained an encumbrance to the U.S.-Arab relationship. If Israel were to appear as an ally of the U.S. in the war against Iraq, that was likely to damage the image the U.S. was trying to project to the Arabs.

In fact, immediately upon the conclusion of the war against Saddam Hussein, Baker launched a diplomatic effort that culminated in the Madrid Conference in the hope that it would lead to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It didn’t. . . .

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: George H. W. Bush, Israel & Zionism, Israeli history, Peace Process, Persian Gulf War, US-Israel relations