Posts

Geert Wilders’ message to Israel — ‘Ignore UN, continue building’

Leave it to good friend of Israel, Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party to send an important message to embattled Israel following the betrayal by President Obama and the UN Security adverse vote approving resolution 2334.  Israel National News republished  this statement on his Facebook page today offering an important advice:

“Ignore the UN and continue building”

Leading Dutch politician Geert Wilders has criticized US president Barack Obama for not vetoing the Security Council resolution against Israel on Friday and advised Israel to ignore the UN resolution.

Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, who has dominated Dutch polls during the year of 2016, wrote on his Facebook page:”Obama betrayed Israel. Thank God for Trump. My advice to my Israeli friends: ignore the UN and keep building more and more settlements.”

Wilders was voted politician of the year 2016 when 40,000 people participated in the annual public election held by Dutch TV-show ‘EenVandaag’. He is known for his sharp criticism of Islam and his outspoken support for Israel.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Netanyahu: Israel Doesn’t Accept U.N. Resolution

December 23, 2016: Another date that will live in infamy

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Another Temple Mount Intifada?

The Jewish religious calendar of the Days of Awe started with Rosh Hashanah, continued with  Yom Kippur and the harvest festival of Sukkot  ending with Simchat Torah-the celebration of Ha Shem’s gift of the torah.  In Israel  it has been the scene of daily violence and pitched battles on the Temple Mount between rock and Molotov cocktail throwing Palestinian protesters and Israel security and border police. This period of Jewish religious observance sorrowfully culminated in a murderous Palestinian spectacle in both Samaria and yesterday in Jerusalem.

Naama and Rabbi Eitam Henkin

Naama and Rabbi Eitam Henkin

Thursday, Palestinian terrorists committed a random drive by shooting murdering Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin z”l (of blessed memory)  from the community of Neira in their car while traveling on the road between Itamar and Elon Moreh in Samaria. She was killed instantly by the wanton gunfire. Rabbi Eitam Henkin  heroically opened his door to shield the couple’s four sons, ages  9 to less than three months  in the back seat,  later succumbing to his  mortal wounds. When the vehicle with its flashing emergency  lights  and a door open  was approached  by an Israeli paramedic one of the older Henkin surviving boys screamed, “they murdered my parents. “ Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin were American Olim from a respected Orthodox family.

The One Family Fund began an emergency appeal for support of the four orphaned and traumatized Henkin boys who are now in the care of their grandmother.  The Palestinians ‘celebrated’ this heinous crime.  Israel National News reported that Friday, October 2, 2015, thousands attended the funeral s of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin who were interred in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot Cemetery  located near the western entrance to the capital city.

From  New York,  Prime Minister Netanyahu excoriated Palestinian President Abbas, condemning him for his silence. This was in the wake of a speech by Abbas suggesting that Israel hadn’t implemented the Oslo Accords in effect  justifying non –observance of prevailing agreements. Of course, the UN  lent its tacit support by agreeing to raise the flag of the Palestinian Authority at the UN.  The PA  has never been admitted as a full member , although it holds observer non-state status, enabling it to avail itself of membership in a number of UN organizations and treaties including access to International Courts.

Rabbis Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett z”l

Rabbis Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett z”l

Then Saturday, we had another burst of Palestinian terrorism. The murders of two Rabbis Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem stabbed to shouts of “allahu akbar” all while recorded on security cameras. A news release from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted what occurred:

At around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening (October 3, 2015), a knife-wielding Arab attacked Rabbi Aharon Bennett, his wife, their 2-year-old son and baby daughter who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, an Old City resident and IDF reserve officer, went down with his gun to try and save those wounded by the Arab terrorist in the attack, but the terrorist stabbed him and seized his weapon. Border Police forces stationed nearby shot and killed the attacker. ?

Israel Hayom reported, “15-year-old Moshe Malka sustained moderate wounds in another Jerusalem stabbing attack.”   The State Department issued a statement requesting calm by all parties involved.

In the wake of Saturday’s  murderous events in Jerusalem  PM Netanyahu scheduled a meeting with his Security Cabinet for Monday.  From New York he said:

Israel is waging an all-out war on Palestinian terrorism. This battle must be fought with determination and focus. We are increasing our prevention and punitive measures. We all feel outraged, but we have to let the IDF, Shin Bet and police fight terrorism, and no one should take the law into their own hands.

Could we be witnessing another Temple Mount Intifada?  Saeb Erekat, PA senior negotiator said it looks like the beginning of a Third Intifada, so did the perpetrator of the Jerusalem murders.  The Times of Israel (TOI) reported, 19 year old Muhannad Halabi posting the day before the attack on his Facebook page, “The Third Intifada is here”.

As Israel Hayom noted, Israel security officials made references to an all out campaign against Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria akin to Operation Defense Shield during the Second Intifada:

A source privy to consultations held by top government officials over the past few days said that if the Palestinians “want a third intifada they will end up with a second Operation Defensive Shield. Steps will be taken on the ground to undermine Hamas infrastructure.”

Operation Defensive Shield, waged in 2002, was a large-scale military campaign targeting Palestinian terrorist infrastructure across Judea and Samaria in an effort to stave off increasingly deadly attacks.

Following Saturday’s attack, which came amid growing tensions in Jerusalem and a series of violent riots on the Temple Mount, the defense establishment decided to limit access to Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslim worshippers aged 50 and over, who will be allowed to enter the compound through the Lions’ Gate only. No restrictions have been placed on Muslim women’s access to the compound.

Access for Jews and Muslims alike to the volatile holy site is often restricted for security reasons.

The Second or Temple Mount Intifada was fomented by the late Yasser Arafat emboldened by two events in 2000: the pell mell IDF withdrawal from the Southern Lebanon Security zone creating a vacuum for Shia Hezbollah to move in and his rejection of a peace deal at Camp David proposed by then PM Ehud Barack with the support of former President Clinton. Arafat triggered the uprising to coincide with the visit by the late PM Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount on September 28, 2000.

Operation Defensive Shield began in earnest after the March 27, 2002 suicide bombing by Hamas of the Park Hotel in Netanya hosting a Passover Seder with largely elderly holocaust survivors. 30 civilians were killed and 140 were injured, the most casualties in the worst single event during Operation Defense Shield. It began on March 29, 2002 with Israeli tanks mounting a siege of Yasser Arafat in the Mukata in Ramallah. The IDF engaged in urban warfare in Palestinian major towns in the Samaria and the West Bank, withdrawing in May 2002 with cordons of these communities remaining during the Second Intifada. In one operation alone in Jenin 23 IDF soldiers were killed in close quarter attacks with armed Palestinian terrorists. The Second intifada went on for nearly five years. Arafat, the first PA president died in a French hospital before the end of the Second Intifada in  November 2004. He was succeeded by Mahmoud Abbas elected for a four year term in 2005 now serving in his 11th year.  According to the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism  Israeli casualties during the Second Intifada were 731 civilian and 231 IDF service personnel. The Israeli security fence  was constructed resulted in reducing terrorist attacks from the disputied terroritories.

The rise of murderous Palestinian terrorism during the Days of Awe comes amidst the entry of Iranian Revolutionary Guards units and Russian forces in neighboring Syria and cross border exchanges with Assad regime forces on the Golan. There are also allegations that some of the current Palestinian terrorist actions may involve Fatah, Hamas and Iranian proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  A further complicating element has been the castigation of Israel security and border police  actions on the Temple Mount by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the patron of the Jordanian religious leaders of the Waqf that control the Al Aksa Mosque complex. The late Moshe Dayan in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Jerusalem in the June 1967 Six Days of War granted control of the Mosque complex atop the temple Mount to the Jordanian Waqf.  Adding  his voice to the chorus of fundamentalist  Muslim objections to Israel controlling security of the Temple Mount was Ayatollah Khamenei objecting to the ‘Zionist enterprise’ defending the security and access to this spiritual center of the Jewish nation of Israel.  Stay tuned for developments.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Time for a March in Washington, D.C. to Stop the Iran Nuke Deal

President Obama may be on a vacation with the family, however his West Wing political operatives are busily trying to line up Democrat votes in both the Senate and House enabling him to veto anticipated Republican majority resolutions.

While New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer has come out against the pact, he demurred from active advocacy of his position. The Hill noted in its Whip List count that Rep. Pete Roskam (R-IL) has signed up 218 of 243 Republican colleagues for a resolution opposing the Iran nuclear pact. The Hill Whip List vote tally, as of  August 14, 2015, on the Democrat side of aisle shows Democrats divided with 48 “Yes”, 16 leaning in that direction, 11 “No,”  2 leaning towards “No” and 58 “undecideds.”  The resolutions are likely to be voted on by both Chambers before September 17th following Congress reconvening just after Labor Day.

The ultimate choice of which way the undecideds will go will depend on what they learn from Town Hall meetings and constituent calls, tweets and emails.  If respected polls are any indication, millions of Americans have voiced concerns that Iran’s track record as a cheater on nuclear weapons developments and state support for terrorism preclude trusting it.  The JCPOA will immediately release tens of billions for Iran to expand hegemony in the Middle East. In  10 years it will add over 1 trillion dollars in additional sanctions relief to Iran and the Mullahs that run it.

Already the international sanctions regime has been shredded by Iranian Quds Force commander Soleimani’s  violation  of travel bans and purchases of Russian advanced air defense systems and Chinese stealth  fighter jets. Italian, French and other Foreign Ministers have led trade delegations to Tehran to ink billions in pre-approval deals. Just this week, the Swiss lifted some of their financial sanctions, doubtless both the Russians and Chinese will follow suit, as their sequestered funds comprise the majority of off shore resources .  Moreover, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is endeavoring to broker the Syrian Crisis.  With the nuclear deal, the Islamic regime is gaining traction in the Middle East courtesy of Obama’s outreach and the pending nuclear pact.

While many Congressional Democrats and liberal media pundits contend that the nuclear pact is not perfect, they suggest it is better than the alternative.  Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow and leading expert on non proliferation law and policy at the Washington, DC Foundation for Defense of Democracies  in a Wall Street Journal  opinion piece, yesterday  contends that  the unsigned political agreement can be and should be amended by Congress. He cites as evidence  the 200 plus incidents, include ing nuclear test ban and arms control agreements with Russia during the Cold War era. There is also the recent 2009 nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, where Congress demanded changes and material improvement to international agreements before granting consent.

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Pact Source: Hollywood Reporter.

Testimonials from Prominent Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Deal

The White House has been bombarding media with ‘testimonials’ in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. There was one from three dozen retired generals and admirals, another from 29 of the nation’s leading scientists, and still yet another from 100 former ambassadors.   The argument from the former senior officers in the military was the agreement is “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” The scientists called the Iran deal “technically sound, stringent and innovative”.

The other voice heard from was the liberal Jewish Hollywood mogul crowd and J Street rabbis’ who bought an ad in the L.A Jewish Journal, and other newspapers of record. Israel National News (INN) noted  among them were leading campaign financial bundlers for Obama’s Presidential elections:

Among the seven lead signatories are billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad; Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry; and legendary TV writer-producer Norman Lear.

[…]

“I just felt that some of the mainstream Jewish organizations weren’t speaking on behalf of a large segment of the community that has a different point of view,” Matthew Velkes told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that LA’s Jewish population is “as diverse a community as one might imagine.”

INN drew attention to the letter signed by these Hollywood Jewish supporters of Obama published in the Hollywood Reporter:

We appreciate that many have reasonable concerns about the risks of a complex nuclear weapons development agreement with an untrustworthy adversary like Iran. We too hold these concerns, but the deal that was reached is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring.

They view killing the deal as a “tragic mistake.”

us energy secretray

U.S. Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz

Secretary of Energy Moniz discusses the Iran deal on a National Jewish Federation Webcast

I watched a National Jewish Federation live interview with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Earnest Moniz, extolling the virtues of the Iran nuclear deal from technical aspects. Retired MIT physics professor Moniz knows the subject well.  He was an official in the Clinton Administration during the failed attempt to reign in North Korea from achieving nuclear breakout. The on-line audience was a third of the 10,000 viewers  when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expounded his thesis about why the nuclear pact was a bad deal given existential threats to both the US and Israel.

The Hill cited Moniz saying on the webcast that the Iran nuclear deal “would aid in fighting terrorism.”  The Administration’s primary concern he said was to cut off all paths for Iran from achieving a bomb. A path, he acknowledged, currently would take less than two to three months to achieve with the 80 tons of fissile material on hand.  However, he suggested that when the existing stock of fissile material was reduced by 98 percent under the current proposal it would set back by a decade  industrializing nuclear development.  He also told the on-line audience that there were no secret side deals.  Rather he characterized them as confidential arrangements between the IAEA and Iran that would allow for close monitoring of Iran nuclear developments.  He suggested, when asked by viewer, not to worry about the Parchin military test site, as the Energy Department’s labs have developed the technical means of identifying even trace amounts of nuclear residue. The Problem is the Ayatollah has barred the IAEA and any US inspectors from visiting Parchin and ‘known’ military development sites.   Further, Moniz suggested the US was supplying the 24/7 monitoring technology to the IAEA covering the entire Iranian nuclear production pathway from mine through enrichment.

Watch Secretary Moniz’s Jewish National Federation Vimeo video presentation:

ambassidor yoriWhat the polls of Americans show.

Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Congressional liaison with the rank of Ambassador, in an  Israel Hayom column highlighted the findings of several polls. They reflected Americans’ deep concern about the nuclear deal with Iran.  Here are the highlights of what Ettinger addressed in his Israel Hayom column:

According to RealClearPolitics’ most recent polls, a major wedge has evolved between the US constituents, on the one hand, and US policy-makers, on the other hand, when it comes to foreign policy and national security: a mere 38.5% approval rating of President Obama’s foreign policy.  For instance, a CNN poll documented a majority disapproval of Obama’s handling of Islamic terrorism, and a majority backing the use of military force against ISIS.

The voters’ deep distrust of the Ayatollahs is documented by the annual Gallup poll of Country Rating.  …  Iran is rated as the second least favored country by Americans with 11% favorability, ahead of North Korea – 9% and behind Afghanistan (14%), Syria (14%) and the Palestinian Authority (17%), compared with Israel’s 70%.

In addition, Gallup shows that 77% and 84% of US constituents regard nuclearized Ayatollahs and international terrorism, respectively, as “critical threats.”  Gallup indicates that “Americans’ views on [the Ayatollahs] have remained unchanged for 26 years.”

According to the August 3, 2015 poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, “American voters oppose the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran 57 to 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters.”

nyt times front page

New York Times Front Page April 16, 2002.

The 2002 Washington Rally to Stand with Israel.

I recently exchanged thoughts with the AIPAC Florida regional director about a possible march in Washington, just after Labor Day when Congress reconvenes to address the looming vote on the Iran deal. I recalled vividly my personal impressions of being in the multitude estimated at over 100,000 at the Stand with Israel Rally on April 15, 2002 gathered to hear speakers on the back lawn of the US Capitol.  The rally was the genius of current executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, that despite daunting logistics and busing arrangements organized the event in less than five days.

That rally occurred in the wake of the Second Intifada that witnessed the horrific suicide bombing on March 27, 2002, the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel.  30 elderly holocaust survivors were killed and over 140 injured and maimed.  The Washington Rally in 2002 was directed at Palestinian terrorism occurring less than a year after 9/11 in lower Manhattan.  Clearly, there was solidarity among Christians and Jews gathered in support of Israel who listened to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and  Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), now departing Senate Minority leader. The small contingent of pro-Palestinian advocates were swamped, but not abused by the attentive crowd.  Pictures and reports of the rally were front page items the following day in newspapers of record like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and the New York Times. In the wake of the 2002 Washington Rally Christians United for Israel was formed.   I suggested to the Florida AIPAC regional director, we needed to do that again, now.

The March to Save America in Washington, September 9, 2015

Serendipitously, Tom Harb, an Orlando businessman and leader in the Lebanese diaspora, sent me an email introducing the group currently organizing a March to Save America for which it has been given a permit in Washington, scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th. That led to a discussion with a  Los Angeles-based spokesperson for the March.  She indicated that starting this weekend and early next week, the March organizers will issue press releases and break news of the March on a major cable news network.  She referred me to their website at: www.marchtosaveamerica.org with a statement from founding Committee Chairman, Barry Nussbaum. Here are some key excerpts:

Congress is about to vote on a deal with Iran that essentially consents to their belligerent military goals, with some delays specified.  …. There is no historical precedent for Iran’s compliance.  Nor, does the deal require “anytime, anywhere” inspection.  Rigorous verification of Iran’s adherence to the deal is virtually impossible.

[…]

The deal does not require Iran to materially dismantle its nuclear infrastructure while it includes, practically speaking,  the irreversible dismantling of the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.  Easy circumvention of the deal’s restrictions can only lead to the war that Iran has promised.  A majority of Americans (2/3 as of August 2015) have learned enough details to oppose it.

[…]

The only way to stop the deal, at this stage, is to put major pressure on Congress to reject it.  While many organizations are working tirelessly through lobbying individual Members of Congress to stop the deal, we feel that the strongest statement America can make is to unite through a march on Washington: The March To Save America, September 9, 2015.

Stay tuned for developments! Watch this brief YouTube video on The March to Save America:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama Invoked the ‘Brzezinski Doctrine’ to Shoot Down IAF Planes Attacking Iran?

Last night, I glanced at a report from a Kuwaiti  news paper and thought it looked suspiciously familiar. The Kuwaiti publication Al-Jarida published a report that a senior Israeli minister with alleged close ties to the Obama Administration had tipped off  Secretary of State Kerry about  a possible IAF attack against selected Iranian nuclear facilities.  Israel National News (INN)  reported:

U.S. President Barack Obama thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets in Iran.

Following Obama’s threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reportedly forced to abort the planned Iran attack.

According to Al-Jarida, the Netanyahu government took the decision to strike Iran some time in 2014 soon after Israel had discovered the United States and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran’s nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement in that regard behind Israel’s back.

Al-Jarida quoted “well-placed” sources as saying that Netanyahu, along with Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon, and then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, had decided to carry out airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear program after consultations with top security commanders.

According to the report, “Netanyahu and his commanders agreed after four nights of deliberations to task the Israeli army’s chief of staff, Benny Gantz, to prepare a qualitative operation against Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, Netanyahu and his ministers decided to do whatever they could do to thwart a possible agreement between Iran and the White House because such an agreement is, allegedly, a threat to Israel’s security.”

The sources added that Gantz and his commanders prepared the requested plan and that Israeli fighter jets trained for several weeks in order to make sure the plans would work successfully. Israeli fighter jets reportedly even carried out experimental flights in Iran’s airspace after they managed to break through radars.

If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, as baseball great Yogi Berra might opine, it should. Back in 2008, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Carter National Security Advisor, was a foreign policy consultant to then Senator Obama in the midst of his first Presidential campaign. He became a center of controversy when he publicly favored the shoot down of IAF aircraft transiting Middle East airspace in an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, in a September 21, 2009, INN report wrote:

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who enthusiastically campaigned for U.S. President Barack Obama, has called on the president to shoot down Israeli planes if they attack Iran. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?” said the former national security advisor to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in an interview with the Daily Beast. Brzezinski, who served in the Carter administration from 1977 to 1981, is currently a professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Maryland.

“We have to be serious about denying them that right,” he said. “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.’” Israel mistakenly attacked the American Liberty ship during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Brzezinski was a top candidate to become an official advisor to President Obama, but he was downgraded after Republican and pro-Israel Democratic charges during the campaign that Brzezinski’s anti-Israel attitude would damage Obama at the polls.

But like a bad penny, the Brzezinski doctrine popped up in an exchange in 2010 between Admiral Mike Mullins, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an Air Force ROTC cadet at the University  of West Virginia. Gil Ronen of INN in an April 21, 2010 report noted:

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, evaded a question Tuesday regarding the theoretical possibility that the US would shoot down IAF jets en route to attack Iran.

The Weekly Standard reported that in a town hall meeting on the campus of the University of West Virginia, a US Air Force ROTC cadet asked Mullen to respond to a hypothetical situation: if Israel decided to attack Iran, he said, its jets would need to fly through Iraqi airspace, which is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. Would US troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airman asked, if they entered that zone?

Mullen evaded the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,” he said. “I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.”

The cadet insisted: “Would an airman like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli aircraft or personnel?”

Mullen still would not answer directly. “Again, I wouldn’t move out into the future very far from here,” he said. “They’re an extraordinarily close ally, have been for a long time, and will be in the future.”

Mullen, appearing in a forum at Columbia University on Sunday, equated the danger of a nuclear Iran with the danger of an attack on it. “”I worry . . . about striking Iran. I’ve been very public about that because of the unintended consequences. I think Iran having a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. I think attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome,”  He did not mention the added danger to Israel of a nuclear Iran that has vowed publicly to destroy the Jewish State.

Israel - Iran War Scenarios  12-14

For a larger view click on the map.

Israel may be prepared to counter an Iranian S-300 threat. We commented in a 2010, Iconoclast Post:

In June 2008, Israel’s air force undertook massive air training exercises involving more than 100 aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean against Greek S-300 Russian air defense systems. That effort demonstrated the canny effectiveness of swarming attacks against the S-300 and later versions that upset the Iranian military and Revolutionary Guards.

That did not go unnoticed by the IRGC Air Force commanders.   They had put in orders for  an advanced version of the S-300 system to counter a possible Israeli air attack threat. However, Russia  was prevailed upon  by Israel and the US not to deliver those air defense systems.  Just after the January 18, 2015 Golan attack that took out senior Hezbollah and Iranian Al Quds commanders, there was a meeting in Tehran  on January 20, 2015 between, Russian Defense Minister Shogui and Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Dehghan. We noted in a January 21, 2015 Iconoclast post:

TAAS reported the US studying the announced Russian –Iranian military agreement, but specifically objecting to possible shipment of the S-300/400 air defense system. Russia might finally ship Iran the advanced S-300 air defense system that both the US and Israeli successfully lobbied former Russian President Medvedev in 2010 to cancel.  Immediate payment by Iran of $800 million for the S-300 system may have cemented the deal.  This defense cooperation deal is a prelude to a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President   Hassan Rouhani in a Central Asian republic location.

The Russian delivery of the S-300/400 air defense system to Iran  maybe a  possible counter to the IAF December 8, 2014 attacks at Damascus  International airport hangars  that destroyed  deliveries of missiles headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon and allegedly killed two senior  terrorist proxy operatives.

While the threat of the Brzezinski doctrine allegedly may have been invoked by President Obama to foil an alleged IAF attack in 2014 against Iranian nuclear facilities, the Israelis are prepared in that eventuality to spring some surprises that neither the US nor Iran had planned to  counter.  These reports reinforce the widening divide that has erupted between the Obama Administration and the Israeli Netanyahu government, the latter facing a general Knesset election on March 17th. PM Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington this evening demonstrates his determination to inform the American body polity of the clear and present dangers of Iran’s closure on becoming a nuclear threshold state  as witnessed by the  leaks of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding revealed in our February 27, 2015 post.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Treachery Report: Israel forced to call off 2014 strike on Iran after Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets

Iran behind cyber-attack on Adelson’s Sands Corp.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is courtesy of BreakForNews.com.

American Jewish Baby Killed by Hamas Terrorist in Jerusalem

Baby-Killed-NY-Jerusalem

Insert is photo of three month old Chaya Zisel Braun. Photo courtesy NBC Channel 4 New York.

Three month old Chaya Zisel Braun was run down and killed at the Silwan Light Rail Station in Jerusalem by a Hamas terrorist, 21 year-old Abdel Rahman  Al-Shalodi. Eight other persons were injured in the crowd he ploughed into on the station platform. Ha’aretz reported:

According to witnesses, Al-Shalodi drove the car 14 meters on the tracks itself, hitting disembarking passengers and continuing on along the length of the track. He stopped after hitting a pole a few hundred meters down and then attempted to flee on foot, when he was shot, arrested, and hospitalized.

[…]

An eyewitness reported seeing the car hit the mother and baby and continue plowing through the crowd. “The stroller was shattered and the mother was screaming.

[…]

The stroller flew into the air and the baby was found 10 meters away from the stroller.”

Hamas issued a statement calling Al-Shaludi’s murder of Chaya Zisel an “act of heroism”.

Al-Shaludi  had served  time  in an Israeli prison on terrorist-related charges.  Chaya Zisel  parents and visiting grandparents from America, the Halperins, grieved for their loss. Shimon Halperin and his wife had just arrived in Israel on their first visit after their birth of their granddaughter to see Chaya Zisel. Instead they were rushed  to Hadassah Hospital  on Mount Scopus   Chaya  succumbed to her injuries and  was laid to rest  at a Jerusalem cemetery  at midnight, Wednesday, October 22nd.  Al -Shaludi’s  mother,  did not acknowledging her son’s murderous action.   The Times of Israel  reported 42 year old Inas Sharif  saying “I feel [Chaya’s mother’s pain, I am a mother after all. I don’t wish for any mother in the world to lose her child.”

 Biased media  obfuscated what occurred on Wednesday  at the Silwan Light Rail stop in Jerusalem located at the bottom of Ammunition Hill.

What passes for the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA)  stoked the violence that broke out during the recent Sukkoth holiday.  The AP had an initial headline, “ Israeli Police shoot man in East Jerusalem”  and only after complaints about it being misleading changed it to read,  “Palestinian Kills Baby at Jerusalem Station. “ The  U.S. consulate in Jerusalem issued statement hours after the event  calling it a “traffic incident”.  When the news caught up  at Foggy Bottom  they called it an act of terrorism, but with the usual proviso of  “all parties remaining calm.”  Jen Psaki  State Department Press Spokesperson made  the following statement:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.

Jerusalem Mayor  Nir Barkat said:

We must restore peace to Jerusalem – as I said for months, the situation in Jerusalem is intolerable and we must be acting unequivocally against the violence taking place in the city,

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu put the blame squarely on the PA leadership. He said:

This is how Abu Mazen’s  partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited  a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Toameh  squarely put the blame for the eruption of violence in Jerusalem  on PA President Abbas in a Gatestone Institute article, today, “Abbas’s Responsibility for Murder.” Toameh wrote:

To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one need look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.

The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas’s speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas’s crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.

Toameh drew attention  to the record of incitement  perpetrated by Abbas and  his cohorts like chief negotiator Saeb Erekat .  They concocted  the hate that led to Wednesday ‘s vehicular homicide by  al-Shalodi.  There was  Abbas’ UN General Assembly speech in September accusing Israel of waging  a “war of Genocide” in the 50-day war against  terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.  This from a man who ordered Palestinian security to cooperate with Israel  during the rocket and terror tunnel conflict fomented by his partner in the unity government, Hamas.   Abbas used the Sukkoth visits to the Kotel to inflame Palestinian. That  resulted in Israeli police cordoning off the Al Aqsa Mosque preventing Palestinians from raining rocks and Molotov cocktails on  the festival crowd of observant Jews below.  Abbas railed about Jewish desecration of Islamic  holy places. Abbas said:

We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary by all means. This is our Al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa is a red line: Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on Al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine, and without it, there will be no state.

The flash point for al-Shalodi’s  terrorist act was reports that Jewish  “settlers” were buying buildings in the Silwan  section in Jerusalem.   The National , published in the UAE had  a  report that vaulted  to world coverage  when it popped up on Yahoo News, “By hook or by crook, settlers rack up gains in East Jerusalem.” The report looks suspiciously like hate filled PA agit-propaganda , tantamount to throwing oil on the fire of the “silent Intifada”.

By fair means or foul, Jewish settlers are notching up property gains in the heart of Arab east Jerusalem through a series of shady deals involving front men or straw companies.

The process by which such properties are acquired is shrouded in mystery, with the new Jewish occupants often moving in under the cover of darkness to avoid confrontation with residents.

The latest controversial acquisitions took place in Silwan, a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood on a steep hillside flanking the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

In the past three weeks, hardline settlers have moved into 35 apartments there, sparking anger and consternation among Palestinians who vehemently oppose such moves as a hostile attempt to Judaise Silwan.

Some were allegedly acquired fraudulently, and others legally.

Jewish groups buying up property in the heart of Arab neighborhoods is an explosive political issue because it touches on the future of east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of a future state.

The reality is that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and undivided capital. East Jerusalem was formally annexed  by the Knesset on June 28, 1967, reunified following the Six Day War.. Earlier this month we posted on the Iconoclast:

The President and State Department condemned  Netanyahu’s announcement of 2,610 apartments in Givat Hamatos completing the Jewish areas of the municipality and separation from Bethlehem.   The Administration said the move would “poison relations” among Israel’s allies.  Nir Barkat , Mayor of Jerusalem,  took exception to the Administration’s criticism of the building program noting that it was anti-discriminatory and had been approved over two years ago.  Nearly half of those apartments were allocated for Arabs. There were death threats against Arab property brokers for sales of apartments to Jews in the Silwan section of Jerusalem, that prior to the War for Independence had been occupied by Jews.

Wednesday’s vehicular homicide of three month old Chaya Zisel Braun was perpetrated by Hamas terrorist al-Shaludi  with  PA President Abbas, as  an accomplice after the fact for inciting the terrorist act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Photos courtesy of NER.

Israel is not ‘sightless’ in Gaza

download

Destroyed home of Mohammed Deif in Gaza city, August 20, 2014. Source: AFP

Yesterday in Jerusalem, with visiting American Congressman Darrell  Issa (R-CA) at his side, Israeli PM Netanyahu heaped considerable praise on Shin Bet-Israel’s General Security Service – for the targeted  killings of senior Hamas commanders in Rafah. The International Business Times(IBT) quoted Netanyahu saying:

The “hard work and professionalism” of Shin Bet had enabled the Israeli military to “carry out this operation against the Hamas leaders who plotted fatal attacks against Israelis,” Netanyahu reportedly said, referring to pre-dawn air strikes in Rafah that killed the three Hamas commanders.

“In the name of every Israeli citizen, I thank the Shin Bet, the heads of the intelligence and operational units, and the chief of the organization, Yoram Cohen,” he said, according to Ha’aretz. Meanwhile, the Israeli military said that it had killed six militants of the Islamic Jihad — a Palestinian Islamist organization — as they were “about to launch rockets into Israel.”

Possibly in retaliation, today, Hamas,  publicly executed 18 ‘collaborators’. These public executions come in the midst of a rising wave of ‘collaborator’ executions in the terrorist stronghold of Gaza.  Israel National News  reported a series of such reprisals in an article, “Hamas Goes on an ‘Israel Collaborator’ Killing Spree”:

Majd, a website close to Hamas, on Thursday reported that Hamas’s military wing,the Al-Qassam Brigades, executed three Gaza residents and arrested seven others for ‘collaborating’ with Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

No date was given for the executions or arrests, but the Hamas security official quoted in the report said the three were killed after “revolutionary procedures” were completed against them.

The same website reported on August 6 that “a number” of Arab collaborators had been killed, again without giving a date.

In the last week of July, Palestinian sources reported that over 30 Gazans were executed by Hamas, most of them in the Shejaiya neighborhood. In that case too, Hamas claimed that they were collaborators with Israel.

The Times of Israel reported a revelation by a Lebanese publication that a phone call between Hamas leader Khalid Mashal in Qatar and  Mohammed Deif, the elusive  head of the Hamas military wing, may have  provided Israel with intelligence that sealed the fate of both he and his family.  According to the TOI  Mashal may have broken protocol to discuss a possible cease fire with Israel. The Deif residence in Gaza was hit with several bunker buster bombs which  cratered  the structure. That resulted  in a massive funeral purportedly for Deif’s wife and children. Hamas spokesman persist in conveying the impression that Deif escaped the fatal attack, and yet have not provided any proof of life.  That attack signifies, as one source told me, that the IAF is flying missions with small bunker buster bombs, in just such a  instance to make  an instantaneous attack.

MohammedDeif

Mohammed Deif, Hamas military leader.

A report by the Shaham Palestinian news service published a picture of Deif along with this statement:

“The bodies arrived at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, after the occupation planes attacked the al-Dalo home, in the Rimal neighborhood in the north, in Gaza City, last night,” the report said. “The document we obtained was confiscated by an armed squad of the Al-Qassam brigade from Shifa’s archive, and also changed the check-in information in the hospital to erase Deif’s name from the list.”

“We at Saham News are forced to tell the Palestinian nation, with great sadness, of the death of Deif,” it concluded. “We belong to Allah, and to him we return.”

Shin Bet is also to be credited for its role in uncovering  the Hamas  power play against Fatah in the West Bank with funds  and arms caches. Many observers believe this may have been a key part of the Rosh Ha Shanah attack plan by Hamas that included infiltration of suicide commandos through  the terror tunnels dug across the frontier between Gaza and Israel. The joint IDF-Shin Bet Operation Brother’s Keeper that detained hundreds of Hamas operatives in the search  for three murdered Jewish Yeshiva students may have provided the intelligence resulting in disclosures of the thwarted plot. Senior Hamas representative ensconced in Turkey, Salah al-Aruri,  announced his role in orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish yeshiva students. The Jerusalem Post reported:

SalahalAruri

Hamas Military leader in Turkey, Salah al-Aruri.

A senior Hamas official admitted for the first time on Wednesday that the organization’s armed wing, the Kassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah in the West Bank in June, Channel 2 reported.

The Hamas official, Salah al-Aruri made the comments during a conference of Islamic clerics in Turkey. He praised the “heroic action of the Kassam Brigades who kidnapped three settlers in Hebron.”

Israeli lawyer, Nitsana Darshan Leitner of Shurat ha Din (Israel Law Center) asked US Attorney  General Eric Holder to invoke the extradition treaties between the US and Turkey to bring to justice al-Aruri for the murder of Israeli-American, Fraenkel.  Meanwhile, PA President Abbas is reported to have had heated conversations in Doha, Qatar with Mashal triggered by Hamas’ plans to overthrow Fatah . Further, there are indications that pressure  is building  on the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to eject Mashal from his luxurious palace in Doha.  Qatar has been a major funder of Hamas, supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and  ISIS, along with Erdogan’s Turkey. If that eventuated Mashal might then be subject to apprehension and possible trial in Egypt. Lest we forget, PM Netanyahu was caught in an embarrassing position in 1998, when an attempted assassination of Mashal by Mossad agents was disclosed by the late King Hussein of Jordan.  Mashal also could have been taken out, while a resident in Damascus, before his departure for Qatar at the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Witness the Mossad assassination in February 2008 of Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyeh.

Whether it is human intelligence through cultivation of assets, or ELINT ears and eyes in the skies over Gaza, these targeted assassination episodes by the IDF with assistance from Shin bet have succeeded in decimating  the military leadership of Hamas. These actions clearly indicate that unlike the Biblical Shimshon, Samson the Nazerite, Israel is not ‘sightless’ in Gaza.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

How Israel’s Military Bureaucracy Bungled the Terror Tunnel Threat

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is now in its ninth cease fire with Hamas. How long this five day truce will last is anyone’s guess. Each of the prior truces was breached by Hamas, and its terrorist partner, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, even before the ceasefire was scheduled to end. The eighth truce was broken on August 13th when rockets were fired fully 2 hours and nine minutes ahead the deadline. Then, just as hurriedly, a ninth truce was declared, this time supposedly for five days.  Hamas’ demands, aired during the discussions in Cairo, were aimed at eliminating the seven year blockade by Israel, and the more recent one by Egypt, under President El-Sisi.

Both blockades were created to eradicate the threats of subversion from Hamas, an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has demanded a seaport and the re-opening of an international airport, the better to facilitate weapons deliveries, no doubt.  Israel’s counter offer was to increase Gaza fishing rights in the Mediterranean and the number of daily humanitarian truck deliveries of food, construction materials and medicine.

The latest break in the conflict, which is now verging on two months, has led to rising demands in Israel for a commission to investigate why the IDF hadn’t detected and mapped the network of cross-border terror tunnels from Gaza that posed such a great threat to Israel.  By enabling Hamas terrorists to move about unseen and emerge on the Israeli side of the border, equipped to kidnap both soldiers and civilians, Israel had much to lose by not treating the tunnels as credible and imminent threats.  The all-too-real experience during Operation Protective Edge was reminiscent of the five year long captivity of Galid Schalit, abducted in 2006 and held for five years until he was exchanged for 1,037 Palestinian prisoners.

Missteps  occurred during the October War of 1973 and the 34 day Second War with Lebanon in 2006. The Agranat  and Winograd Commissions were convened by Israel’s Knesset to investigate intelligence failures and military operational problems resulting in recommendations for corrective actions. What is apparent during the current Operation Protective Edge in Gaza is that bureaucratic bungling in Israel’s intelligence and planning echelons may have contributed to the IDF casualty toll in Gaza from attacks by Hamas commandos using the terror tunnels.

We have drawn attention to the terror tunnel threat in NER/Iconoclast  articles, <Qatar’s Cyberwarfare Support of Hamas in the War with Israel.  In these articles, we noted the lack of effort by the IDF to detect and map the intricate network of tunnels and underground armories. That was coupled with the discovery that Qatar had joined Iran in funding the Hamas resurgence, including the construction of the tunnels, and equipping Hamas with cyberwarfare capabilities.

Just this past Monday, August 11th, the Jerusalem Post reported this announcement:

Is this IDF announcement a matter of too little, too late?  Could a successful tunnel detection system have been developed earlier?

The Chronicle of IDF Tunnel Detection Missteps

Dr.  Ronen Bergman is the intelligence columnist at Israeli daily, Yediot Ahronoth (YA) (See our January 2013 NER interview with him on the Iran nuclear threat.)  He revealed the chronology of IDF military bureaucracy missteps in an August 6, 2014 YA Magazine article, “The Battle of the Gaza Tunnels”.  Bergman noted how early their investigation had zeroed in on the tunnel threat:

In July 2010, YA planned to publish a comprehensive investigative report warning of a serious military problem, of which only a handful of experts were aware at the time: Hamas’ terror tunnels.

[…]

The Defense Ministry and the IDF went to great efforts at the time to convince us that the tunnel threat was not so serious and that they were taking steps against the tunnels. Additional and even better measures, they said, would be used in no time.

We eventually decided that it was an important and fundamental issue, and published the investigative report.

Bergman observed:

The bottom line was that IDF posts and communities in the Gaza vicinity (as well as on the Lebanon border, facing Hezbollah) are exposed to terror attacks or abductions through tunnels. Further,  the defense establishment has no efficient measures against them. This despite the fact that the Defense Ministry had received proposals for tunnel-locating systems since the early 2000s.

Bergman noted this comment from IDF Col. Ilan Sabag, Engineering officer in the Southern Command:

The Southern Command is aware of the existence of Hamas infiltration tunnels reaching into our territory. As far as the Southern Command knows, these tunnels are meant to be used in due course to kidnap soldiers. The Southern Command estimates that Hamas will decide when to use the tunnels in light of considerations related to the Shalit deal, etc.

He added that the Southern Command lacked any efficient means to locate the tunnels (apart from intelligence), and that the measures deployed along the route surrounding the Gaza border were no longer in use, as they were unsuccessful.

Bergman chronicled the missteps and bungling by the IDF bureaucracy in tackling the tunnel threat.  As early as 2001, during the Second Intifada, the IDF knew that Hamas and the PIJ were bringing weapons into Gaza through smuggling tunnels. The development of tunnel detection began in earnest when Tzahal turned to the Geophysical Institute of Israel (GII) for assistance. The GII had designed a “seismic fence” composed of a network of geophones placed several meters underground to detect tunnel digging. The geophones were connected to a central computer to alert IDF intelligence of suspicious tunnel activity. These successful tests were conducted near the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza and reported to Tzahal.  Bergman contends that if Tzahal had pursued the development of the seismic fence proposed by the GII 13 years ago, then perhaps by 2014, they might have detected the network of Hamas tunnels, which could have enabled IDF military planners to prepare operational plans to enter and destroy them.

Bergman points out tha following a terrorist attack from tunnels in the Philadelphi corridor which Israel controlled along the Gaza Egypt frontier, the Ministry of National Infrastructure  (MNI) in 2004 wrote to Tzahal, reminding them:

“Following an initial inquiry, I am under the impression that there is the technological ability to deal with the problem, in the immediate timeframe, through active and passive means,” he said optimistically. “We are talking about available equipment which could be purchased and activated immediately”.

According to Bergman’s investigation, Tzahal basically told the MNI that they believed they were working on something better with two civilian contractors.

The IDF Ground Commander in 2004, Maj. Gen Yiftah Ron-Tal, undertook a WWII expedient.  According to Bergman, Aluf Ron-Tal sent aides to Texas to procurea machine called the Trencher capable of penetrating tunnels dug 25 meters below. Despite repeated efforts in 2005 and 2006, not much of a priority was given to development of alternatives by Tzahal to the original GII seismic fence proposal.

Bergman reports a conversation with a senior officer in Israel’s Ministry of Defense who indicated that a think tank effort on the tunnel threat had been convened. The think tank included the GII, and had been given funding to come up with viable options, following the 2010 YA investigative report.  Bergman cites a Tzahal source currently saying:

This field is relatively new and we do not have that kind of experience in it, nor is it clear in which direction we should be going or which direction will be successful. We turned to sources worldwide, and realized that no country has an effective solution to this issue.

To which Bergman counters:

Nonetheless, if you take into account the years of related activity since 2000, it’s been 14 years already. How much longer will it take?

Bergman and concerned Israelis got their answer with the Jerusalem Post report which suggested that a successful test indicated that a system could be implemented beginning in 2015.  Again, that system development is too little, too late for Operation Protective Edge. Israel’s well-known ability to develop leading edge technology in record time was ignored by the very people who would have benefited from it the most.

Is There a Hezbollah Tunnel Threat in Israel’s north as well?

Also on Monday, August 11th, the Jerusalem Post reported this statement:

The IDF does not know of any infiltration tunnels crossing from Lebanon into Israel, head of Northern Command, Major General Yair Golan, said Sunday.

Speaking to a forum of front line communities in Kfar Vradim in the North, Golan said that tunnels do not pose a strategic threat on the northern border, but that the IDF was prepared to handle the issue, despite being unable to confirm that any tunnels exist.

Notwithstanding Gen. Golan’s comments, we drew attention to intelligence as far back as 2010 that a significant tunnel threat to Israel existed under its northern frontier with Lebanon.  We noted:

he massive network of tunnels under Gaza mirrors the system of tunnels that criss-crosses southern Lebanon, which were built to avoid Israeli drone surveillance of Hezbollah’s movement of missiles across Lebanon from Syria. The IDF was warned about these Hezbollah tunnels as early as April 2010, and was also given information about cross-border tunnels that were being built at the time with assistance from the IRGC, using North Korean tunnel-building technology. Eye witness accounts reported the construction of a large tunnel that was being built to run from southern Lebanon to central Haifa, and a number of small bore tunnels that were being built, to emerge within northern Israeli towns and kibbutzim. These were designed for Hezbollah’s child warriors who would be sent heavily armed and would be instructed to fire on anyone they see once they emerge in these towns.

Corroboration of that came in an Israel National News (INN) article, “Expert Says Terror Tunnels a Threat in the Galilee.  The editors at INN suggest that “Hezbollah could be building Gaza-esque tunnels into Israel”.  Hezbollah, as we reported, was already deeply engaged in building their complex tunnel network. At the time the INN article appeared, their network was far along in its construction. When their tunnel to Haifa, originally designed to accommodate trucks, became unusable because its air-handling system could not cope with the exhaust fumes in the 25 mile run, the tunnel was retrofitted for trains rather than trucks. The massive underground network extended northeast to the Syrian border, and honeycombed throughout southern Lebanon. It  providing storage for large missiles, ammunition, and military vehicles, as well as covert routes for the transport of materiel and men.

At the time this report was received by Israeli military intelligence in 2010, the Hezbollah network was already well-developed and was an ongoing, complex project with the deep involvement of the IRGC. The threat at the time was already credible and, from all accounts, was being taken seriously. However, the development of the technology that could have detected the construction of a tunnel 100 feet underground was apparently not available.  Its development had not been put on a fast track, as it should have been.

Here are some of the observations of the Israeli expert:

Geologist Col. Yossi Langotsky (res.) for five years was a Commander of Operational Intelligence and won the Israel Security Prize twice. Despite his expertise, however, his warnings about terror tunnels were apparently ignored.

“For nine years I raised hell, and said [terrorists are] digging tunnels into Israeli territory, and the state security system is not organized with enough seriousness required to deal with the intensity of the threat,” he recounted. This operation, he noted, is the result.

[…]

“It’s amazing to me that, less than a year ago, the Army removed the guards posted near several Gaza belt communities,” referring to a controversial IDF decision earlier this year. “It indicates that they have not internalized the real danger.”

Langotsky then turned to the threat from Hezbollah on the Lebanon frontier based on the North Korean tunnels that crossed the DMZ into South Korea.

He noted the ability of Hezbollah to build tunnels threatening the Galilee:

Geologically, the ground in the Galilee is softer and easier to dig compared to the earth in the Koreas, and added that the close relationship between Hezbollah and North Korea is already well-known. North Korea has reportedly played an important role in helping Hamas dig its own tunnels from Gaza, as well as providing them with rockets.

Langotsky concluded:

But action must be taken now, he said, before the situation in Lebanon mirrors that in Gaza.

“The facts were known,” he said, regarding terror tunnels in the Gaza belt. “The system went to sleep for a few years and did not do what needed to be done.”

One wonders whether the warnings about the vulnerability on Israel’s northern frontier might have prodded Tzahal to correct its threat reduction priorities on several fronts; tunnel detection, mapping and strategies for destroying those in existence  and those yet to come, under both frontiers. Four years later, we wonder why it didn’t.

Israel’s military faces sobering facts about weaknesses in its defense plans that must be overcome so it can faithfully protect its citizens. Langotsky told us that he had warned current IDF Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz about the threats. But sadly, something fell into the bureaucratic cracks, ignored or overlooked by the decision-makers of Tzahal in Tel Aviv.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of an IDF soldier in Gaza tunnel during Protective Edge.  Source:  AP Photo.