Even If It Didn’t Plant the Bomb, Hamas Is Responsible for the Latest Attack on Israeli Soldiers

Feb. 19 2018

On Saturday, a bomb exploded near an Israeli unit patrolling the border with Gaza, injuring four. Separately, an Israeli tank opened fire on a group of Gazans trying to sneak into Israel. The IDF has responded to the bombing with airstrikes on targets in the Strip connected to terrorist organizations. Eyal Zisser comments on the situation:

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for detonating the explosive device, . . . and the IDF has also avoided pointing an accusatory finger at any of the power players in the Strip. But . . . an attack like that could not have been executed without Hamas’s approval, even if merely tacit.

In any case, even if Hamas didn’t know a thing about the bomb, its lack of response against the perpetrators proves the group’s willingness to tolerate such attacks and even to welcome them. After all, there is a clear working order in Gaza. Seeking to preserve its rule, Hamas avoids carrying out terrorist attacks in order to prevent Israeli military responses. But all the while, Hamas continues to dig terror tunnels and improve its missile arsenal.

Hamas leaves the dirty work of perpetrating terror attacks to the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, whose command center is in Damascus. . . . There are also a number of terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip that refuse to accept Hamas’s authority. . . . In addition, terror cells affiliated with the Islamic State group in Sinai are also active there. Hamas tolerates the activities of all of these groups and does nothing to counter them.

The border incident on Saturday proves yet again what we learned during the 2006 Second Lebanon War: when you tolerate provocations along a border for too long, such as protesters “just” trying to breach a border fence or “just” throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, you can be sure that terror attacks are never too far off.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security

 

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war