Archive for the ‘Hamas’ category

‘Don’t you dare’

November 13, 2017

‘Don’t you dare’ Israel Hayom, Yoav Limor, November 13, 2017

Now the message to Gaza is “no more.” Israel will not be a passive player, rather an active one that if attacked – will attack back. If Islamic Jihad considered a limited retaliation, one that would not lead to an escalation of hostilities, Israel is saying that its reaction will be severe regardless. It will not only target Islamic Jihad but the ruling faction in Gaza: Hamas.

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The unusual announcement from Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories unit, Saturday night was not out of the blue. In Israel, defense officials believe Palestinian Islamic Jihad is preparing a revenge attack for the demolition of its underground tunnel and deaths of its people.

This assessment was enough for Mordechai to leave his home Saturday evening, put on his uniform, and drive to IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to record an announcement in Arabic, the gist of which can be summarized in three simple words: Don’t you dare.

During the 69 seconds in which he spoke, Mordechai sought to transfer the dilemma to the other side. Ever since the tunnel was destroyed, some two weeks ago, Israel has been on high alert; its military activity along the security fence has been minimal, agricultural work in the vicinity has been greatly restricted, and the message received by the Gaza was that Israel was waiting for a retaliation.

Now the message to Gaza is “no more.” Israel will not be a passive player, rather an active one that if attacked – will attack back. If Islamic Jihad considered a limited retaliation, one that would not lead to an escalation of hostilities, Israel is saying that its reaction will be severe regardless. It will not only target Islamic Jihad but the ruling faction in Gaza: Hamas.

This purpose of this message was to pass the dilemma back to Gaza. It was meant for Hamas, which is taking great pains to restrain Islamic Jihad and has thus far managed to stop it from retaliating; and for Islamic Jihad itself – which was warned that a terrorist attack would bring disaster to the Gaza Strip and sabotage Palestinian reconciliation efforts (which Israel opposes but is presently seeking to utilize). As expected, Islamic Jihad responded with an aggressive message of its own, reiterating its intention to retaliate.

With that, it appears the group’s leadership in Gaza has yet to make that decision and is waiting for the green light from its military headquarters in Damascus, namely from Ramadan Salah and his second-in-command Ziad Nahala. This is also why Mordechai included in his statement a particularly undiplomatic message for the two, warning “there will be those who will be held responsible” for the consequences of a future attack.

In the meantime, there are no signs that Islamic Jihad is folding. If the prevailing assumption of a revenge attack materializes – which will lead to an assured Israeli response – we could find ourselves in a downward spiral that neither side wants.

Terror tunnel bingo

November 1, 2017

Terror tunnel bingo, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, October 31, 2017

Will there be parades in Gaza and Ramallah for the terrorist who committed bloodshed in Manhattan today?

Only we regret. I get it, we’re Jewish. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be better.

Maybe, as I’ve written elsewhere, we should be worse once in a while, and then maybe they’d leave us alone.

[T]o borrow from Patton: 

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

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A few days ago the Israelis found yet another terror tunnel leading into Israeli territory and thinking it was empty, blew it to smithereens. Turns out that there were people still inside busy as beavers, terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. So the blast, bingo, eliminated them too, about 20 of them, half sent directly to their 72 virgins, the other half injured. 

I get conflicting numbers between the naked and the dead, but within Israel there’s a larger conflict going on even as we speak.

First, the world’s leading Islamic terrorist, Mahmoud Abbas, left his EU and US- funded multi-million dollar bunker to proclaim his outrage.

The Israelis, he said with a straight face, have no right to use deadly force against terrorists. Jews have no right to protect themselves…and according to that line of depraved thinking, New Yorkers are likewise open season as we saw from Tuesday’s ramming and shooting attack in Manhattan.

That is not news. We expect that from the man behind the Klinghoffer and Munich Olympics massacres.

But it is news when the IDF seems to explain that it never intended to hurt anyone. This has sparked controversy as it amounts to an apology.

Since when do we – meaning any sovereign nation – apologize for killing the enemy?

In fact it is a command that when he comes to kill you – which is what these tunnels are all about – you are to get up early and kill him first. In every other country, that’s a good day when even by accident you’ve taken out your attackers. Lucky shot.

But this is Israel and Israel is Jewish and old habits die slowly. Jews always apologize.

Some may remember Tom Wolfe’s “Radical Chic” article in New York Magazine. That was about a group of Black Panther types who attended Leonard Bernstein’s big shindig to celebrate Black Power. The (Liberal) Jews at the same soiree were blamed for everything – and apologized for everything. Everything!

Never mind that from the start the Jews were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

So now there’s a flap within Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet. One says that the IDF was wrong to apologize; the other says, leave the IDF alone.

Criticism against the IDF will never come from me. But I must say this; the response comes across as pathetic…an uncalled for justification in the fog of war.

Sorry for what? Do they apologize to us? They give out candy and build statues to their murderers. They celebrate after they kill.

Sorry we got to them before they got to us?

Will there be parades in Gaza and Ramallah for the terrorist who committed bloodshed in Manhattan today?

Only we regret. I get it, we’re Jewish. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be better.

Maybe, as I’ve written elsewhere, we should be worse once in a while, and then maybe they’d leave us alone.

Or take it from our Book of Deuteronomy– “Your eye shall not pity them.”

Then came this British journalist who sprang this over coffee: “Must say, the Israelis have become awfully militaristic.”

The evidence, I explained, proves otherwise. But if so, it’s about damn time. I’ll take militaristic any day against 2,000 years of sitting-duck passivity.

Yes, I will take militaristic whenever it is between them and us.

Or to borrow from Patton:

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

Secret Egyptian-Hamas bid to rush through Gaza crossings handover to Palestinian Authority

November 1, 2017

Secret Egyptian-Hamas bid to rush through Gaza crossings handover to Palestinian Authority, DEBKAfile, October 31, 2017

DEBKAfile’s US sources disclose additionally that there is nothing to the reports published in Israel in the last few days that the Trump administration is on the point of presenting Israel with a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Senior US officials in Washington told our sources that no such plan exists. They say that Middle East leaders, who are talking about it, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are fully aware of this, but are using the non-existent US peace plan as a pretext for turning down or delaying projects they deem undesirable.

The only real project engaging Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at present is the establishment of joint Israel-Palestinian industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

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Egyptian intelligence and Hamas security agencies are in an overnight effort to rush through the Gaza crossings’ handover to the Palestinian Authority by Wednesday morning, Nov. 1, even if only as a token step. This is reported by DEBKAfile.

To distract attention, they put out a statement earlier Tuesday pretending that the transfer had been postponed from Tuesday to Nov. 15 in consideration of the high military tension generated around Gaza by the IDF’s destruction of a Jihad Islami terror tunnel on Monday.

Our military sources report that the latest Egyptian-brokered Palestinian unity steps are shrouded in secrecy, which Israel, too, is preserving. Therefore, there is no information about a Palestinian Authority security contingent reaching the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Neither is there any word about this contingent obtaining permission to travel from Bethlehem through Israel and gaining entry to the territory through the Erez crossing. This contingent may still make the journey overnight under cover of dark – either through Israel or Egypt – barring another last-minute change of plan.

If they go ahead, the transfer itself will take some days.

Egyptian and Hamas officials are confident that the Jihad Islami won’t act Tuesday night on its threat to wreak vengeance on Israel for blowing up its terror tunnel in an explosion that left 11 operatives dead.

DEBKAfile’s US sources disclose additionally that there is nothing to the reports published in Israel in the last few days that the Trump administration is on the point of presenting Israel with a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Senior US officials in Washington told our sources that no such plan exists. They say that Middle East leaders, who are talking about it, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are fully aware of this, but are using the non-existent US peace plan as a pretext for turning down or delaying projects they deem undesirable.

The only real project engaging Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at present is the establishment of joint Israel-Palestinian industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian Normalization — With Hamas, Not Israel

October 11, 2017

Palestinian Normalization — With Hamas, Not Israel, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, October 11, 2017

The most widespread conspiracy theory, which has been floating around for decades and can be heard in almost every coffee shop on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah and Beirut, is that Zionist Jews, together with American capitalists and imperialists, have a secret plan to take control over the Arab and Islamic countries and their resources.

How exactly are the “Zionists and imperialists” trying to “undermine” the Palestinian “national project”? And what, precisely, is this project? Is it the project of Hamas and many other Palestinians that seeks the destruction of Israel?

The corrupt Arab and Palestinian leaders spread such rumors to divert attention from problems at home, such as corruption and dictatorship. These leaders want their people too busy hating Jews and Westerners to demand reform, democracy and transparency from their leaders. Those valuables, of course, are what Arab and Palestinian leaders still refuse to offer their people.

Why do many Palestinians prefer peace with Hamas? Because they identify with Hamas’s dream of destroying Israel and killing Jews. It may be an unpleasant a truth, but that is the bottom line.

When Palestinian women took part in a march with Israeli women for peace this week, they were condemned in the harshest terms by many other Palestinians, who called for their punishment. The Palestinian women who participated in the October 8 event, organized by a group called Women Wage Peace, have been denounced by many of their own people as “traitors” and “whores.”

Conversely, when Palestinian Authority (PA) officials held “reconciliation” talks with Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and Egypt during the same period, many Palestinians praised them as “heroes” and “brave.”

Judging from the reactions of many Palestinians, especially on social media, they prefer peace with Hamas rather than with Israel.

The thousands of Palestinian women who participated in the march with Israeli women are being accused of promoting “normalization” with Israel. This, in the eyes of their critics, is an abhorrent and despicable act, tantamount to “high treason” — an offense punishable by death.

Palestinian and Israeli women from the “Women Wage Peace” group participate in an event on September 30, 2017. (Image source: Women Wage Peace/Facebook)

Prior to the women’s march, Palestinian activists waged an online bid to stop the Palestinian women from taking part in the “shameful” event. It was a vicious campaign that lasted for several days and that accused the Palestinian women of treason for promoting “normalization” with the “Israeli enemy.” One group, The Women’s Campaign for Boycotting Israeli Merchandise, said in a statement that the planned march was “hurtful to Palestinian and Arab and international efforts to boycott and isolate Israel.” The group pointed out that the march coincided with a “Zionist-imperialist onslaught to undermine the Palestinian national project.”

Exactly which “Zionist-imperialist” conspiracy these protesters are referring to remains unclear.

Such rhetoric, however, reflects the mindset in the Arab and Islamic world. The most widespread conspiracy theory, which has been floating around for decades and can be heard in almost every coffee shop on the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah and Beirut, is that Zionist Jews, together with American capitalists and imperialists, have a secret plan to take control over the Arab and Islamic countries and their resources.

What does a peaceful march of Israeli and Palestinian women have to do with Zionism and imperialism? How exactly are the “Zionists and imperialists” trying to “undermine” the Palestinian “national project”?

And what, precisely, is this project? Is it the project of Hamas and many other Palestinians that seeks the destruction of Israel? Is it the project that still talks about a phased plan to destroy Israel by demanding a Palestinian state next to Israel so that it would be used in the future as a launching pad to eliminate Israel?

Palestinian and Arab leaders have long advanced anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Western conspiracy theories. Why do these leaders do so? For one purpose: distraction.

The corrupt Arab and Palestinian leaders spread such rumors to divert attention from problems at home, such as corruption and dictatorship. These leaders want their people too busy hating Jews and Westerners to demand reform, democracy and transparency from their leaders. Those valuables, of course, are what Arab and Palestinian leaders still refuse to offer their people.

Back to the controversial women’s march.

The abusive comments hurled against the Palestinian women who took part in the march are frankly embarrassing to read. Even the PLO committee that permitted the participation of the Palestinian women in the march is being pilloried by many Palestinians, with some calling for holding the PLO officials involved accountable.

The verbal abuse is reminiscent of the experience of teenage Palestinian girls who recently participated in a summer camp with Israeli girls in the US. The Palestinian girls endured a massive smear campaign for attending the summer camp, which was organized by Creativity for Peace, an organization in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Like the women from the march, the teenage girls were also cursed on social media and dubbed as “sluts” and “traitors.” The abuse reached the parents of the Palestinian girls, for allowing their daughters to commit the sin of dancing and mixing with Israeli (Jewish) girls. The girls, like the women, were also accused of promoting “normalization” with Israel.

Sadly, only a handful of Palestinians have thus far dared to come out in defense of the summer camp girls or the women who participated in the October 8 march.

While many Palestinians may be opposed to the brutal and senseless attacks on the girls and women, they are terrified of voicing their views in public. No one wants to get targeted by the abusers, especially if some of these people are affiliated with terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Palestinians have an unfortunate habit of allowing thugs and terrorists to intimidate them, control the discourse and set the agenda. This is certainly not new. Most Palestinians prefer to sit on the fence instead of speaking their minds. This is what happens when you live under ruthless dictatorships such as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas that suppress freedom of expression.

Yet this most recent exhibit has an ironic twist. Just as the women were shamed publicly for taking part in an event with Jewish women, many Palestinians were celebrating the “reconciliation” between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip took to the streets to express their jubilation over the “accord,” and when the PA Prime Minister and his delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, scenes of kissing and hugging were easy to spot.

What does all this teach us?

First, that many Palestinians continue to consider any form of contact with Jews and “normalization” with the “Zionist entity” an act of treason.

Second, that Palestinians do not hesitate to designate their own women as prostitutes and traitors for engaging in the most basic activities with Jews. Such disrespect for women is not, by the way, something that should surprise us about conservative Arab and Islamic societies.

Third, that for many Palestinians, the priority remains making peace with Hamas and not Israel. Why do they prefer peace with Hamas? Because they identify with Hamas’s dream of destroying Israel and killing Jews. It may be an unpleasant a truth, but that is the bottom line.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Iran Quadruples Cash Flow to Hizballah Since Nuclear Deal

September 15, 2017

Iran Quadruples Cash Flow to Hizballah Since Nuclear Deal, Investigative Project on Terrorism, September 15, 2017

Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal, including many within the Obama administration, argued that the agreement would moderate Iran’s behavior. On the contrary, Iran immediately enhanced its support for terrorist organizations, while extremist factions within Iran gained more influence. Two years later, Iran has proved to be even more emboldened to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions, drastically increasing financial and military support to terrorist organizations and cells worldwide.

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Iran has drastically increased financial support for its Lebanese-based terrorist proxy Hizballah since the Iran nuclear deal was signed two years ago, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Iran secured $100 billion in frozen assets and sanction relief in January 2016 as a result of the deal with the United States and European countries. Flush with cash, Iran immediately increased its support for terrorist proxies in the region and nefarious activities worldwide. Hizballah was receiving $200 million from Iran. Now, it’s $800 million.

Last month, Hamas terrorist leader Yahya Sinwar admitted that “relations with Iran are excellent and Iran is the largest supporter of the [Hamas military wing] Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades with money and arms.” Iran reportedly provides Hamas with about $60-$70 million.

Both Hizballah and Hamas remain dedicated to Israel’s destruction and continue to invest considerable resources to fight the Jewish state. Iran also spends hundreds of millions of dollars for Shi’ite militias in Syria and Iraq, while increasing support for Houthi militants in Yemen.

Shortly after the July 2015 nuclear deal was signed, Iran expanded its presence in regional conflicts and even increased its own intervention in Syria’s civil war, leading to mounting Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) casualties.

Iran also increased efforts to subvert its neighbors. In March, Bahrain security authorities arrested members of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist cell, accusing them of planning to assassinate senior government officials. The IRGC reportedly provided military training to several cell members.

Beyond Iran’s regional ambitions, it continues to plan terrorist attacks around the world. Earlier this year, for example, Germany accused Iran of plotting attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets.

Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal, including many within the Obama administration, argued that the agreement would moderate Iran’s behavior. On the contrary, Iran immediately enhanced its support for terrorist organizations, while extremist factions within Iran gained more influence. Two years later, Iran has proved to be even more emboldened to pursue its regional hegemonic ambitions, drastically increasing financial and military support to terrorist organizations and cells worldwide.

IDF’s Gaza Wall May Change Hamas Terror Strategies

September 15, 2017

IDF’s Gaza Wall May Change Hamas Terror Strategies, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, September 15, 2017

The big question now is whether Hamas will sit back and watch Israel take away its offensive tunnel option, or whether it will feel cornered and strike out, risking a new conflict.

Hamas is most likely to respond to Israel’s improved position against the tunnels in Gaza by upping attempts to generate terrorism from the West Bank.

Hamas, together with Iran, could try to smuggle rockets into the West Bank, Karmon said, citing a directive by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to assist West Bank terrorist cells.

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Time may be running out for one of Hamas’s main weapons against Israel: Its cross-border terror tunnels.

By 2019, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) assessments, Israel will complete an underground wall that stretches along the 60-kilometer (37 mile) border with Gaza. The wall is the product of several years of research and development, and is designed to eliminate the tunnel threat to Israeli communities located near Gaza.

During the past three years, since the end of its last conflict with Israel, Hamas has invested big resources into its tunnel maze. One of its top goals is to rehabilitate an ability to inject murder squads into Israeli territory through the tunnels.

Once inside Israel, they could target IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians for murder or kidnapping, whenever the next conflict breaks out.

But Israel has invested far more than Hamas to try stopping that threat. It is paying 150 million shekels ($42.5 million) for each kilometer of the new wall.

Work began on the subterranean project in areas where Israeli communities were very close to the border. Then, gradually, other areas began receiving protection.

During a conference call held with reporters in August, the commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir, said the wall will prevent “the digging of tunnels into our territory,” adding that work is “advancing according to plan. In the coming months, this project is going to significantly accelerate. We will see an expansion in the scope of the works. Within two years, we will be able to complete work.”

Many details about the wall remain classified. But IDF sources have previously indicated that the wall will come with electronic sensors. The sensors will issue alerts to military control centers, sounding the alarm about suspicious tunnel digging activity.

The control rooms, would, in turn, be able to order action if necessary.

Similar military control rooms are popping up along the Gaza border to handle intelligence coming in from Israel’s above-ground border fence. Sensors installed on the barrier, together with units from the IDF’s Combat Intelligence Collection Corps, are joined by drones, spy balloons, and radars, all feed the control centers with a flow of data, and alert them to suspicious activity.

The big question now is whether Hamas will sit back and watch Israel take away its offensive tunnel option, or whether it will feel cornered and strike out, risking a new conflict.

“We very much hope we will not be challenged as this [work] continues,” said Zamir. “We hope that this quiet will continue, but continue to prepare. We are on high alert.”

Hamas’s military wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, issued a statement earlier this month saying that the underground wall “will not limit the ability of the resistance,” and vowing to “find the solutions needed to overcome it.”

But Hamas is unlikely to launch attacks in response to Israel’s wall, Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“They cannot initiate a military maneuver now. The timing is bad for them,” he said, citing Hamas’s financial woes, made worse by the fact that Qatar, under U.S. pressure, is cutting off the cash flow to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas wants to engage Egypt to improve its isolation and find a way out of its financial crisis. It just opened an office in Cairo. It cannot depend on friends like Turkey, which has a limited ability to provide assistance, Karmon said. “Beyond that, Hamas is under pressure from the Palestinian Authority. A new military clash with Israel will harm them,” he said.

During his remarks, Zamir said that the “Gaza arena is stable,” adding, “We have identified that Hamas remains deterred, and that it is restraining many attacks [by smaller Palestinian armed factions].”

At the same time, he said, Hamas is encouraging the flames of terrorism to spread in the West Bank, and is orchestrating terror cells remotely, as it prepares itself for future war in Gaza.

That’s an assessment that was echoed by Karmon, who said Hamas is most likely to respond to Israel’s improved position against the tunnels in Gaza by upping attempts to generate terrorism from the West Bank.

Hamas, together with Iran, could try to smuggle rockets into the West Bank, Karmon said, citing a directive by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to assist West Bank terrorist cells.

“The Iranians understood that Hamas is deterred in Gaza, and limited in what it can do,” Karmon said.

As a result, Hamas likely will remain focused on igniting the West Bank, and using it as a launchpad for terrorist attacks on Israel, he said.

Karmon cited information unveiled by the chief of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, in recent days, which told the government that about 200 terror attacks had been thwarted in 2017.

“Most of the big attacks [that were stopped by the Shin Bet] were organized by Hamas, not Fatah,” Karmon said. “Hamas’s whole campaign is focused on the West Bank, and includes using clans that support Hamas, and distributing propaganda for violent incitement. They are neutralized in Gaza, and are trying to heat up the West Bank.”

Meanwhile, back in Gaza, Hamas continues neglecting the basic needs of the 2 million Palestinians it rules over, as it remains focused on its quiet military build-up, according to the chief of the IDF’s Southern Command.

“Many resources in Gaza are going to the Hamas military wing. They could be used instead to improve the humanitarian situation,” Zamir said. “We continue to prepare. Reality is explosive. It could deteriorate into a conflict at any time.”

In addition to offensive tunnels, Hamas has built a maze of tunnels that crisscross Gaza City. Zamir described them as “an underground metro network,” designed to move Hamas armed members, weapons, and logistics out of Israel’s sight.

Yet Israel’s Southern Command is watching these activities closely, and preparing a range of solutions designed to enable Israel to turn Hamas’s underground city into a large death trap if a new conflict begins.

The IDF’s Southern Command recently sent out images of civilian facilities in Gaza that Hamas uses as a cover for its military-terrorist activities.

One image is of a six-story residential building, which Hamas used to build an underground facility nearby, according to the military. The second photo is a of a home containing a family with five children, which is linked to a tunnel that leads to a mosque, enabling Hamas terrorists to move underground and use human shields as they do.

This type of activity “endangers the civilians of Gaza,” Zamir cautioned. “We hope that this quiet will continue, but we are continuing to prepare, and are on high alert.”

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

More arrests as terror stalks Jerusalem again

August 16, 2017

More arrests as terror stalks Jerusalem again, DEBKAfile, August 16, 2017

Finding the UAE funding Hamas terror was somewhat of a shocker to Israel.  After all, the emirate formally joined the anti-terror coalition that US President Donald Trump created during his visit to Riyadh and later to Israel in early April.

Obviously, Israel’s sovereign presence on Temple Mount, which is holy to three monotheistic faiths and claimed by Muslims, is an abidingly explosive issue. Last month’s crisis centering on the shrine, appears to have abated – but only on the face of it. The embers of the conflagration continue to simmer under the surface of the site and the city.

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Three major Israeli counter-terror operations in a week (Aug.10-16) are a measure of the intensity of terrorist plots for the commission of mass-casualty strikes in Jerusalem.

On Aug. 10, a combined effort of the Shin Bet, the police and the IDF, led to five Palestinians from Hebron being intercepted in the Palestinian Jerusalem neighborhood of El Azaria on their way to an attack. No details of this plot were released. But it was obvious that the five terrorists, armed with guns and explosives, were only stopped at the last minute from reaching the center of Jerusalem, just 15 minutes drive from El Azaria, and conducting a major attack.

Then, on Saturday, Aug. 12, a Palestinian woman knifed a man on Suleiman Street in East Jerusalem, mistaking him for a Jew. He turned out to be a local Arab Christian and was not badly hurt, before a police patrol nabbed the woman.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, a suspect was shot in the foot while resisting arrest at Bet Tsafafa, in southern Jerusalem . The police later reported they acted on a Shin Bet tipoff that the suspect, a resident of the mixed Abu Tor neighborhood, was primed for a terror operation.

On Monday, Aug. 14, indictments were filed at the Jerusalem district court against three residents of East Jerusalem on charges of plotting a shooting attack, as well as targeting police forces and persistent rock attacks on traffic – all in Jerusalem. They were also accused of planning to loose gunfire and explosive devices on vehicles using the Nablus bypass. This group therefore harbored ambitions for a widespread terrorist offensive in and outside Jerusalem.

Although Israel’s security authorities are cagey with the information they release on the mostly covert war they wage on Palestinian and Israeli Arab terror, three geographical areas may be marked out as significant: They are metropolitan Jerusalem including Bethlehem; Hebron – the city and mountain district; and the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, northeast of Tel Aviv, which was the home town of the three gunmen who shot dead two policemen on Temple Mount on July 14.

Each location occupies a special place on the terror map.

The terrorist networks of Hebron and its environs are mostly tied ideologically and operationally to the extremist Palestinian Hamas. In the past fortnight, Hamas was found to be receiving large sums of money, most of it coming from sources in the United Arab Republic in the Persian Gulf. Some of the cash was funneled to Judea and Samaria and provided those networks with an extra incentive to go into action.

Finding the UAE funding Hamas terror was somewhat of a shocker to Israel.  After all, the emirate formally joined the anti-terror coalition that US President Donald Trump created during his visit to Riyadh and later to Israel in early April.

The terrorist cells operating in Jerusalem mostly belong to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, or its militia, the Tanzim. Most are fringe groups that are not directly associated with their leaders. But the fact that they are free to perform acts of violence against Israelis is worrying Israeli security authorities.

The networks of Umm al-Fahm and its rural villages appear to be ideologically inspired by the outlawed Northern Branch of the Israeli Arab Muslim Movement (which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood), or directly tied to the Islamic State command center in Syria.

At least 20 Israeli Arabs are known to have crossed into Syria to fight in ISIS ranks, some of them from Umm Al-Fahm.

Last Friday, Aug. 11, an indictment was filed against two residents of the town, who were preparing to leave for Syria and join the Islamic State. They were being helped by a former resident who had already reached Syria and was fighting with ISIS. One of the accused belonged to the same Jabarin clan as the murderers of police officers on Temple Mount.

Then, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, police arrived at the Umm Al-Fahm home of Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the banned Northern Branch of the Israeli Muslim Movement, with a warrant for his arrest. He was accused of publicly inciting to violence and terror and membership of an illegal organization.

Salah has been in and out of Israeli prisons for years over his fiery hate-filled sermons, which regularly call on his followers to “fight for the liberation” of Al Aqsa. Last year, he was locked up for calling on Israeli Arabs to join a Palestinian uprising against the state of Israel.

However, this time, the wide publicity given to his arrest so soon after the Temple Mount clashes – in an attempt to press charges serious enough to keep him behind lock and key for the long term – has brought the firebrand sheikh solid sympathy among sections of the Israeli Arab populace.

Obviously, Israel’s sovereign presence on Temple Mount, which is holy to three monotheistic faiths and claimed by Muslims, is an abidingly explosive issue. Last month’s crisis centering on the shrine, appears to have abated – but only on the face of it. The embers of the conflagration continue to simmer under the surface of the site and the city.