Posted tagged ‘Hamas’

How Israel is bringing an end to Hamas’ tunnels

December 12, 2017

How Israel is bringing an end to Hamas’ tunnels, Al-Monitor

In the same week that Hamas is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding and Israel is marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the first intifada (1987), Hamas finds itself facing a multifaceted crisis. It has ceded government control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, it continues to be isolated internationally and Israel’s missile defense system has successfully neutralized 89% of the threat posed by rockets to the Israeli homefront, based on Defense Ministry figures from Protective Edge. Now the tunnels are slipping out of its hands as well. Hamas will have to reinvent itself if it wants to remain relevant. Given its current conditions and the means at its disposal, it will be especially difficult to do.

**********************************

There were no loud explosions, and no plumes of black smoke rose along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. The latest Hamas tunnel was discovered weeks ago using advanced technology developed by Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) kept news of the tunnel secret until completing preparations to neutralize it with innovative methods.

It is worth remembering that the last time the IDF destroyed a tunnel dug by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement it failed to realize that members of the terrorist group were inside it at the time. Despite efforts to extricate survivors, the demolition of the tunnel resulted in the deaths of 12 Islamic Jihad and Hamas fighters and almost led to a major conflagration. This time, the tunnel was neutralized in absolute silence.

Hamas appears to have had no idea that its strategic tunnel had been located or that it had been targeted by the IDF for weeks. Following the operation, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Dec. 10, “Thanks to the joint efforts of the IDF, the Ministry of Defense and the defense industries, we have reached new technological capacities in the struggle against terrorism and the terror tunnels. I hope that over the next few months, the threat posed by the tunnels to Israelis living in localities surrounding the Gaza Strip will be a thing of the past.”

Liberman’s comments prompted a series of public statements by top Israeli officials that after investing unlimited resources and the extensive efforts of the country’s finest minds, Israel has managed to remove the threat of the tunnels, which have kept the people of the south up at night for the past few years. The truth is much more complicated, though there is no doubt that Israel is getting closer to achieving this capacity.

“It’s not like we have some machine that locates tunnels and destroys them,” a senior defense official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “This is a system based on the integration of three parallel approaches: shielding, intelligence and technology.”

As of now, this approach is effectively keeping Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip sealed. Israel estimates that in the near future it will be able to eradicate the existing tunnels entirely and make it impossible to dig new ones.

The Hamas tunnel destroyed this week was especially long, stretching several hundred meters into Israel. Israeli officials say that it was intended to allow Hamas to strike behind IDF lines in the next round of violence, just as the group attempted to do during Operation Protective Edge. Now Hamas has been denied that ability.

The movement developed its underground strategy to gain an advantage over the IDF, but that advantage is decreasing rapidly. This development is forcing Hamas to confront a strategic dilemma. Should it accept the existing situation and search for new ways to attack Israel, or should it act quickly to take advantage of whatever tunnels it may have left before it is too late to use them?

This danger is one reason the IDF did not make a big deal of the tunnel’s neutralization on Dec. 10. Apart from some warnings by the chief of the Southern Command, Eyal Zamir, to Hamas and Islamic Jihad that the tunnels would become a death trap for their fighters, the IDF has remained quiet. “There’s no need to celebrate,” one senior military official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “These are sensitive times, especially after President [Donald] Trump’s declaration concerning Jerusalem. There is no reason to help anyone who wants to bring about the deterioration [of the security situation].”

Israel’s approach to this operation was based on three components. The first, shielding, consists of a vast underground cement barrier being built along the border that should eventually encompass the entire Gaza Strip. The wall extends several dozen meters underground, and experts say that there is no way to dig tunnels beneath it. The wall is outfitted with sensors and other technologies to detect other tunnels and identify new excavation efforts.

The second component, intelligence, involves using all means at the disposal of Israel’s defense establishment — HUMINT (human intelligence), SIGINT (electronic signal intelligence) and others — to learn where and when militants are excavating tunnels. The IDF has told Al-Monitor that Israel has put together a very good picture of what is happening on the ground.

The third component, technology, includes the major innovation that enabled Israel to locate the two tunnels in the past two months. It was an integrated effort by all of Israel’s defense industries. The Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure set up a lab near the Gaza Strip for the country’s finest minds to tackle the problem.

“Each meter that we check takes a lot of time and serious investments,” a senior Israeli military official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “but we are getting results.”

Despite remarks by a number of Israeli leaders this week, the country’s ability to identify and destroy the tunnels and to seal its border with the Gaza Strip has yet to be perfected. “We are making progress. Our capacity will improve, and we will reach a stage in which we can announce that there are zero tunnels and that the threat has been neutralized,” one senior Israeli security official said on condition of anonymity. “But we’re not there yet.”

In the same week that Hamas is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding and Israel is marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the first intifada (1987), Hamas finds itself facing a multifaceted crisis. It has ceded government control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, it continues to be isolated internationally and Israel’s missile defense system has successfully neutralized 89% of the threat posed by rockets to the Israeli homefront, based on Defense Ministry figures from Protective Edge. Now the tunnels are slipping out of its hands as well. Hamas will have to reinvent itself if it wants to remain relevant. Given its current conditions and the means at its disposal, it will be especially difficult to do.

 

‘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.

***********************************

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.”

****************************

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.

******************************

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.

An epic moment at the UN as former Hamas member speaks up for Israel

September 28, 2017

An epic moment at the UN as former Hamas member speaks up for Israel | Anne’s Opinions, 28th September 2017

This has to be one of the most epic and stunning moments in the history of the UN. Once more the UN Human Rights Wrongs Council was holding a debate on “the human rights situation in Palestine”. All the usual anti-Israel suspects had their say, spouting lies, slander, blood libels and epithets at the one and only free, civilized and democratic country in the Middle East. How the likes of Pakistan, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and other like dictatorships, who between them have killed millions and imprisoned even more – how they can sit there with straight faces while they accuse Israel of the very crimes of which they are guilty, is a subject for a psychologist to deal with.

And then it was UN Watch‘s turn. We have already seen Hillel Neuer speak at the UN many times, and his is superb. But Mosab Hassan Yousef (aka The Green Prince) was in a class of his own, not only for what he said, but for who he is.

Just watch the faces of the Palestinian delegation and enjoy a bit of schadenfreude from the UN for a change.

The funniest reaction was the face of this Palestinian delegate:

Shock horror at the UN as Palestinian speaks up for Israel

 

This speech was a master-stroke by UN Watch.

Kol hakavod on their persistence and devotion to the cause of Israel’s defence.

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.

*************************************

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.