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What’s behind the Arab Days of Rage in Israel?

October 13, 2015 witnessed  the worst attacks by enraged Palestinians in Jerusalem, Central  Israel and on the Gaza frontier.Three Israelis were murdered in bus shootings, car ramming  and knifing attacks that occurred in Jerusalem, northern Israel and Ra’anana near Tel Aviv. On Wednesday evening October 14, 2015, a 65 year old woman was attacked by an assailant receiving knife wounds at  the Jerusalem central bus station. The assailant was shot dead by Border police while attempting to board an Egged bus. Ynet news reported the terrorist background of the dead assailant:

The attacker was identified as Ahmad Shaaban, 23, a resident of East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood. He was imprisoned between 2012 and 2015 for terrorist activities.

The prior weekend scores of Palestinians in Gaza attempted to cross into Israel’s southern frontier only to be thwarted by IDF soldiers.  A crowd of 200 penetrated the fence near an Israeli kibbutz with resulting causalities, 11 deaths occurred from IDF gunfire when the mob refused to stop. Earlier, rockets had slammed into Southern Israel from Gaza prompting IAF retaliation.

Reuters reported “seven Israelis and 32 Palestinians, including 13 alleged attackers and eight children, have died in the surge of violence.” Reuters further noted what happened on October 13th, “the Day of Rage:”

Palestinian men armed with knives and a gun killed at least three people and wounded several others in a string of attacks in Jerusalem and near Tel Aviv, police said, in a “Day of Rage” declared by Palestinian groups.

With the worst unrest in years in Israel and the Palestinian territories showing no sign of abating, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his security cabinet to discuss what police said would be new operational plans.

Officials said Israel was considering whether to seal off Palestinian districts in East Jerusalem – home of many of the assailants.

In Jerusalem, two Palestinians shot and stabbed passengers on a bus, killing two and injuring four, police said. One of the assailants was killed and the other captured.

Minutes later, a Palestinian rammed his car into a bus stop in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in the city, police said. A surveillance video showed him then hacking pedestrians with a cleaver until he was shot dead by a passer-by. One of the Israelis he attacked died and six others were hurt, police said.

In clashes near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Israeli army shot dead a Palestinian, medics said. The army said its troops fired on a man who tried to throw a petrol bomb at them.

1929headline_montage

News Montage on Jerusalem  and Hebron Arab Riots,  Palestine 1929. Source: CAMERA

Arab terrorism connects one Israeli family

As Israeli blogger, Yisrael Medad , posted in  My Right Word , “One Family’s Story of Arab Terror.” The current outburst of Arab Muslim violence has intergenerational connections with history from the pre-state Yishuv period:

On Friday, August 17, 1929, Yisrael Lev, a student at the Slobodka Yeshiva in Hebron did not feel well and left for Jerusalem to seek medical assistance. That day, one of his fellow students was hacked to death and the following day, many more including dozens of Hebron’s Jewish community were similarly slaughtered. He remained Haredi but an Israeli flag flew on his balcony every Independence Day. His two daughters served in the IDF. One, Tzippora, married Zev Roich. The new couple had four children. Tzipora’s granddaughter, Naama nee Armoni, was murdered by Arab terrorists during the [2015] Succoth holiday as was her husband, Rabbi Eitam Henkin.

Naama and Rabbi Eitam Henkin(1)

Naama and Rabbi Eitam Henkin z”l

U.S. and International Concerns

The Israeli  Security Cabinet launched  new security arrangements that include IDF troops guarding buses, destruction of attackers’ homes and cordoning off sections of Arab East Jerusalem. The mainstream media like The New York Times attributes the violence in Israel to unemployed desperate “leaderless Palestinian youths  driven by  social media.” Secretary of State Kerry, speaking at a Harvard’s Belfer Center news conference, condemned the Palestinian violence saying, “the situation in Israel is too volatile.” He stressed the importance for all people to avoid what he called provocative statements that can inflame tensions further. “This violence and any incitement to violence have got to stop.” However, he suggested  that the “tit for tat” violence was driven by continuing Israeli ‘settlement building’ and Israeli “excessive force.” The fact is that settlement activity has been contained near zero. Kerry subsequently ‘clarified’ saying there was no connection between Arab violence and settlements. The Mideast Quartet led by EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Mogherini of Italy cancelled a trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah because of security concerns.

Israeli Arab Sheikh Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement    Released from Ramla Jail, 2010.

The Palestinian and Israel Arabs inciting the violence

The reality is that PA President Abbas, other members of the PA government and the Israeli Arab radical Islamist leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement ,Sheik Saed Salah, have incited and recruited Arabs  They  have fomented what Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, has called the Jerusalem or al Quds, Intifada, a reference to the 100 year old blood libel that “the Al Aksa Mosque is in danger” from Jews.. Add to that the evident disloyalty of Arab Joint list Knesset Members who held massive rallies of Israeli Arab Muslims urging them to rise up along with their Palestinian brothers. Note this Jerusalem Post report on the disruption of an Israeli Channel 2 interview by Arab Joint List leader Ayman Odeh by Nazareth Mayor, Ali Salam:

Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam shouted at Joint List head Ayman Odeh [of Hadash] to leave his city as the MK was about to be interviewed live on Channel 2 there on October 11th.

“Ayman, you need to go elsewhere, you’ve destroyed our city!” yelled Salam at Odeh from his car, which pulled up next to [ to him while he was} standing on the sidewalk in front of the television camera.

“Get out of here. Enough with the interviews!” shouted Salam. “You all have destroyed everything! Go back to Haifa!…What are you being interviewed about? What are you doing to us? You are doing nothing!” shouted Salam.

Odeh, for his part, remained quiet, but appeared to be greatly irritated.

The sharp confrontation followed accusations by Salam earlier in the day in an interview on Army Radio in which he said Joint List MKs were “ruining coexistence.”

Joint List MKs have been organizing and leading protests  riling up the Arab public to violence, which Salam said has led to a sharp drop in Jewish customers and complaints from local business owners.

Stabbing victim Liat Naor  Source Channel 2

Stabbing victim Liat Naor, Source: Israeli Channel 2

Evidence of Israeli  Concerns over Arab attacks across the country

My colleague Lisa Benson of the eponymous National Security Radio Show reminded me of an interview she did with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat  just after an another incident involving the death of a baby at a light rail station in Jerusalem. That  was prior to the onset of last summer’s Operation Defensive Edge, the 51 day Gaza rocket war. At the time, Mayor Barkat suggested that the matter of the violent East Jerusalem Arab incident not be mentioned during the interview. Barkat subsequently foiled an Arab knifing attack on an Orthodox Jew during an episode in February 2015. Now, during the current upsurge in jihadist attacks against Israeli Jews in Jerusalem, he is urging the Netanyahu government to combat it. This is reflected in a Jerusalem Post report:

In the wake of the {October 12th attacks in Jerusalem, Mayor Nir Barkat called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to heighten the state’s response against terror and to act more firmly against those who incite and encourage it.  “To our regret there is no limit to the cruelty of these  murderers who choose to the attack children and innocent citizens who return from their studies to encounter the satanic evil that is shocking us all.”

The plague of auto ramming and knifing incidents was exemplified by what occurred in northern Israel reflected in this Israel Hayom report:

“I didn’t do anything, what do they want from me?” Alaa Raed Ahmad Ziwad, 20, says in court after ramming his car into a soldier and then stabbing bystanders.  Ramming victim, 19-year-old Orel Azuri, remains in critical condition.

Liat Naor, 15, was still wearing a wreath of flowers in her hair and holding her own birthday cake when she was attacked by a terrorist with a knife outside a shopping center in Gan Shmuel in northern Israel on Sunday.

She was saved when a bystander, Adi Eshet, helped subdue the terrorist, who had begun the attack by ramming his car into a female soldier, 19-year-old Orel Azuri, before jumping out and stabbing people nearby.

“I was sure I was going to die,” Naor said, speaking in the hospital room where she is recovering from her stab wounds. She thanked Eshet “for the amazing birthday present.”

The shock of the new normal in Central Israel was reflected in the aftermath of two knifing incidents October 13th in Ra’anana, a community of 80,000 near Tel Aviv that has a large of community of Anglo American residents who made aliyah to Israel. During  Operation Defense Edge in the summer of 2014, Ra’anana was spared the rocket on-slaught. The Algemeiner reported:

“Due to the security situation, the shop will be closed today,” was among the signs that could be seen this afternoon in Ra’anana, the Israeli news site Walla reported.

Ra’anana, a city of 80,000 in Israel’s central Sharon region known for its clean streets, quality education system and large English-speaking community, experienced two Palestinian terrorist attacks on the  morning of October 13th. And its citizens are responding with trepidation.

The closing of some stores on the city’s main street, Ahuza, was one reaction to the stabbing attacks, one of which occurred at around 8:50 a.m., and the other at 10:30. Parents of pre-schoolers, too, became concerned and ran to kindergartens to take their children home.

“We are aware of the reality [in the country],” a shop-owner who witnessed the first attack, at a nearby bus stop told Walla. “But when it comes close to you, it’s unpleasant and scary. We always thought that this would only happen in Jerusalem; we didn’t believe Ra’anana would become a terror-struck city.”

[…]

A restaurant owner in the area of the second attack in Ra’anana, which took place across from the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital, said it’s the first time his establishment has been so empty. He also claimed his fellow restaurateurs are experiencing the same phenomenon, because “people are afraid to leave their houses.”

“Even during Operation Protective Edge [last summer’s war in Gaza, when Hamas rockets were launched into the center of Israel on a daily basis] it wasn’t this deserted,” he said.

Evidence of Palestinian and Israeli Arab Incitement

The violence by Palestinians in East Jerusalem  and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria  was stoked by PA President Abbas, whose UN  General Assembly  address abandoned the Oslo Accords. It is pure Jew hatred with episodes of knife attacks, shootings, car rammings and attempted suicide bombings against Israeli Jews. Standwith U.S. developed an interactive map spotlighting where  instances of attacks have occurred: Interactive Map Shows the Where, When, and What of Terror Attacks.

This uprising is different because Israeli Arabs has also been encouraged to engage in these attacks by Joint Arab list Knesset members and the radical Islamist Sheik Saed Salah from his bastion of the um al-Fahm, an Arab town in the triangle area of Israel in the Galilee. Salah is head of the northern branch of the Islamic movement affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the equivalent of Hamas inside Israel. The Netanyahu government has often sought to ban the group. In a November 2014 NER/Iconoclast blog  post on “Israel Plagued by Spreading Islamikaze Violence,“ we noted:

Then there is  the fiery Salafist preacher, Sheik Raed Salah  from the Arab town of Umm al Fahm. Just released from prison for serving another term for incitement, Salah boasts that Jerusalem will become a “global Caliphate.”

As Israeli commentator Barry Shaw observed on the Lisa Benson Show of October 11, 2015, Sheik Raed Salah may have supplied the foot soldiers who barricaded the al Aksa Mosque and kick started the Jerusalem violence at the start of the Jewish New Years. He contends that Salah, whose objective is the establishment of a Caliphate to rule Israel from the Temple Mount, had planned this wave of violence. Shaw suspects that the Jordanian–appointed religious leaders of the Waqf may have been complicit in fomenting the Temple Mount violence. They allowed truck loads to enter the Mosque complex through the underground excavations supplying the rocks, cinder blocks, and materials for making Molotov cocktails. Avi Ischaroff in a Times of Israel report on often jailed Sheik Salah observed:

Salah has tried to utilize the Temple Mount to inflame the Arab Palestinian street. Now he’s finally managed to do so. “The defender of Al-Aqsa,” as Salah is known, continues to warn against the ostensible plans of the Jews to harm the mosque, vowing that he is prepared to do anything to “protect it.” His activists are everywhere in Arab towns and villages, successfully fomenting friction against Israel.

The incitement to Jew hatred and murder are reflected in the provocative statements of PA President Abbas. Jews have observed restraint while on the Temple mount. They are even been barred from saying prayers there. Abbas cited in Bret Stephens’ Wall Street Journal Global View column, “Palestinians: the Psychotic Stage,” wrote:

“Al Aqsa Mosque is ours. They [Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.” And: “We bless every drop of blood spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah.”

Then there was the Imam in Gaza invoking the Qur’anic imperative to kill Jews:

“Brothers, this is why we recall today what Allah did to the Jews,” one Gaza imam said [October 9]  in a recorded address, translated by the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri. “Today, we realize why the Jews build walls. They do not do this to stop missiles but to prevent the slitting of their throats.”

Josh Hasten Israeli American Journalists 10-7-15

Joshua Hasten, Israel American Journalist, October 7, 2015. Screen Shot, You Tube video.

The shahids perpetrating the days of rage in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel are being ‘honored’ for their murderous jihad sacrifices of their Jewish victims according to translations by Palestinian Media Watch:

Fatah brought soil from Al-Aqsa to grave of murderer who stabbed 2 to death in Jerusalem “so that the dead body…can hug the soil for which he died a Martyr”. PA Ministry of Education plants trees in honor of terrorists- the “Martyrs” of “the ongoing popular uprising”. Ministry: “Event meant to illustrate the devotion of the ministry… to honoring the Martyrs…[It] instills national and humanitarian values in the minds of the young”.

Then, brandishing a six-inch knife, he added: “My brothers in the West Bank: Stab!”

The story of one Israeli’s encounter with Palestinian terror

How do Jews in Israel feel confronting this murderous wave of Palestinian and Israeli Arab terrorism? Josh Hasten, a Jerusalem Post contributor was interviewed on the October 11, 2015  Lisa Benson Show.  He spoke of taking a shortcut only to be confronted on the Tekoa Road by a mob of 40 to 50 masked men from the Arab village of Beit Sahour .They were armed with rocks and cinder blocks blocking his way. He alighted from his car, showed them his licensed hand gun and when that didn’t stop them fired off a round that scattered them. Clearly, as you will see in this YouTube video, Hasten thought that spared him. However, that didn’t spare a Jewish woman he encountered who had been brutally set upon and beaten presumably by the same group. Frightening, but rarely reported in the mainstream media that tends to concentrate on Palestinians being killed, perpetrating murder and mayhem against Israeli Jews.

Watch this You Tube video of Josh Hasten’s encounter with Palestinians out to kill “their Jew.” The media may call this “violence.” Sorry, it is jihad.

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

United Arab Emirates Secretly Offers Funding for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to Defeat Hamas

Ilana Freedman of The Freedman Report posted this from The Peninsula alleging the United Arab Emirates  (UAE) had met secretly with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offering to fund Operation Protective Edge to defeat Hamas.  The Peninsula report notes this about who might have facilitated this development:
clear

Former Fatah Security chief, Mohammad Dahlan circa 2006

Sheikh Abdullah’s Security Adviser, Mohamed Dahlan, was also present. Dahlan, a Palestinian, is a former Fatah member expelled from the party and Gaza and now lives in the UAE.

Former Palestinian Authority Security chief Dahlan had been cited by the Jerusalem Post at the start of Operation Protective Edge denouncing Hamas for “fostering  new terror groups,  threatening Egypt’s security, and laying siege to the Gaza Strip.”  Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense for Democracies chronicled the acrimonious split between Dahlan and PA President Abbas in his book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State.  Read our November 2013 NER review on The Failed State of Palestine  for more details about Dahlan’s split with Abbas.

The secret meeting between the UAE and Israel is in sharp contrast to Qatar that has gone on record yesterday in a The Gulf in the Media  report supporting the Palestinian people and Hamas in Gaza. Both developments in the Gulf come amidst the current Israeli ground incursion directed at destroying Hamas’ rocket inventory, launching facilities and extensive network of tunnels.  That appears to fit the Arab dictum “the enemy of my enemies is my friend”.  Despite supporting Hamas,  Qatar has a friend in the Obama Administration.  This is further evidence of a deep division among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council  (GCC) regarding the threats from affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.  PA President Abbas was in Ankara yesterday visiting Premier Erdogan, a Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas supporter.  Today, he was in Doha, Qatar seeking support for a cease fire in the current conflict, but without support from Egypt.  Today, 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed in a machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade attack at a Libyan border checkpoint 300 miles West of Cairo, perhaps by Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist terrorists.  That may be a why Egyptian President el-Sisi’s government is blocking the Gaza- Egypt frontier  while blaming Hamas for the current conflict.

Here is the Freedman Report post:

UAE, Israel have secret meeting, UAE ‘offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive’

Posted on July 19, 2014 by the Peninsula – 19 July, 2014

The UAE knew in advance of Israel’s plans for an offensive in Gaza and even offered to fund the operation provided the militant Palestinian outfit Hamas was eliminated in the process. Israel’s Channel 2 claimed in a recent report, according to local Arabic daily Al Sharq. The daily says in a report published today that Israel’s leading national TV station (Channel 2 in Hebrew) disclosed details of secret parleys between the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Paris at the end of last month.

Both leaders met on the sly in Paris on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the GCC states and Jordan with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israel’s foreign minister was also in the city.

The meeting was to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue.

Al Sharq said the UAE was aware of Israeli’s planned military action in Gaza beforehand and Al Nahyan, at his meeting with Lieberman, expressed his country’s keenness to fund Israeli’s Gaza offensive provided the Hamas movement was annihilated since it had close links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Al Sharq, Channel 2 reported that just a few days ago there was a meeting between Sheikh Abdullah and an Israeli minister in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah’s Security Adviser, Mohamed Dahlan, was also present. Dahlan, a Palestinian, is a former Fatah member expelled from the party and Gaza and now lives in the UAE.

Read the original article here.

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

The Tunnel Attack that Triggered Israel’s Ground Incursion in Gaza

In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, July 17th, prior to a five hour UN –negotiated Humanitarian Pause, the IAF intercepted 13 black clothed terrorists emerging from a tunnel near the Shalom Keren frontier with Gaza. Spotted by an armed IAF drone, they quickly scampered back into their tunnel and were promptly dispatched by missiles.  Calm returned with the onset of the Humanitarian Pause holding to 3PM Israel time when with a roar a barrage of more than 130 rockets rained down from Gaza on Southern and Central Israel signaling the end of the Pause.  At 4:52 PM local time, the IDF announced its limited ground incursion with the express purpose of destroying those Gaza tunnels and underground armories containing upwards of 12,000 rockets and missiles. Israel had flooded Gaza with hundreds of thousands of leaflets announcing that civilians should flee targeted areas.  The ground incursion opened with  strikes by IAF F-16s and both naval and IDF bombardment of targets in Gaza. 80 Percent of Gaza was plunged into darkness with the loss of power.

idf soldier with captured weapons in gaza

IDF Soldier with captured Tunnel attack weapons. Source: Times of Israel.

The New York Times reported:

“We will strike Hamas and we are determined to restore peace to the state of Israel,” the military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, told reporters in a conference call. “It will progress according to the situation assessment and according to our crafted and designed plan of action to enable us to carry out this mission.”

Israel began to draft 18,000 reservists, adding to 50,000 already mobilized in recent days; Colonel Lerner said the ground forces would include infantry and artillery units, armored and engineer corps, supported by Israel’s “vast intelligence capabilities,” air force and navy.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, called the invasion “a dangerous step.”

Israel’s ground incursion in Operation Protective Edge is eerily familiar.  It looks like the continuation of Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009 aborted on President Obama’s inauguration,  January 20, 2009. 22 days passed in that first operation endeavoring to root out Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets hidden in tunnels and underground launching sites by terrorist rocketeers.

Virtually on the heels of Hamas’ takeover following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from northern Gaza in August 2005, those terror rockets fell on the Eshkol region of the Western Negev using homemade Qassem rockets.  Then over the ensuing nine years the deadly barrages swelled to cover the heavily populated central and northern areas including  Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. Rockets fell near hotels in the resort area of Eilat on the Red Sea.  Rockets were launched from Lebanon and from Syria on Israel’s North  and the Golan.  But the main threat was the Hamas arsenal in Gaza equipped with locally manufactured M-75, Iranian-supplied longer range Grad, Fajr-5 and Syrian made M-302 rockets with ranges from 10 kilometers to 160 kilometers.  Besides drone, F-16 and helicopter attacks, the only defense against the rain of death from Gaza was the Israeli-developed Iron Dome System.  That was deployed during the eight day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 with batteries of Tamir anti-rocket missiles. Those Iron Dome batteries have achieved an impressive 90% interception success rate against rockets intended for populated areas in Israel.  The cease fires with Hamas  that Israel brokered  via Egypt in those previous episodes never achieved the complete destruction of the underground tunnels.   We note that IDF says the removal of Hamas leadership is nor an objective in the current ground incursion.

At the start of Operation Protective Edge it was estimated that Gaza held more than 10 to 12,000 rockets and missiles. As of the start of the ground incursion today, the IDF estimated that it hit more than 2,000 targets , while Hamas  had  launched more than 1,300 rockets at Israel.   Those retaliatory actions by the IDF have resulted in an estimated 250 deaths and 2,500 injuries of both terrorist cadres and civilians in Gaza.  Actions  about which the IDF  warned intended targets with cell phone text messages, leaflets and non-explosive missiles knocking on roofs sending occupants scampering.  However, Hamas security was accused of useing human shields, a war crime. As PM Netanyahu said on a Sunday FoxNews Report on July 13th, “Israel defends its people with missiles, while Hamas defends its missiles with its people.” The Israeli toll prior to the ground incursion was one man killed by a mortar attack at the Northern Erez crossing caught while delivering food to IDF troops. There were reported  elderly heart attack deaths  shrapnel and explosive injuries to both Jewish and Bedouin citizens.

Warnings  of incoming rockets was communicated to Israelis by a new means, a Red Alert app downloaded to iPhones and Android equipped cell phones that pinged every time an incoming rocket was detected heading to their intended targets. Several hundred thousand downloads of the Red Alert app signaled  the threat of incoming rocket and missile barrages that occurred over the 10 days preceding today’s ground incursion in Gaza.

This morning I was co-host with Lisa Benson in a recorded interview with both Jon Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center. That interview concerning the status and actors involved in Operation Protective Edge will air on Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 4PM EDT.  Schanzer drew attention to the IAF interception of terrorists caught emerging from a tunnel close by the Shalom Keren crossing.  When queried about whether Israel might unleash its long awaited ground incursion, Schanzer said “all bets were off” meaning that it was increasingly likely.  Bryen  noted that the  US Senate doubled an appropriation funding the Iron Dome System. She  cautioned that even with a high interception  rate there was no guarantee that the few rockets that got through would not result in casualties and damage; witness the fiery hits on factories and gas stations in Sderot and Ashkelon.   Hamas launched an Iran supplied Ababil drone promptly intercepted by a Patriot missile.

See the thwarted tunnel attack that occurred prior to the IDF ground incursion in Gaza:

The Jewish Week noted these comments from  a former IDF spokesperson about the significance of the tunnel attack:

Despite Israel’s aerial and sea assault against Hamas rocket launchers, command and control centers and other visible targets, Israel was unable to get at the network of tunnels that form a virtual underground city in the 25-mile long Gaza Strip.

That became most pronounced just hours before the cease-fire began when 13 Hamas terrorists from the Gaza Strip were spotted emerging from a tunnel inside Israel, according to Miri Eisen, the former Israeli government spokesperson during the Second Lebanon War.

“A woman observer saw them come out of the tunnel and when they heard the sound of a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle], they ran back into the tunnel and the tunnel was attacked,” she said.

“In the last 10 days we have seen Hamas as a paramilitary organization, now we have seen the transition to a full-scale military, firing rockets and trying to attack Israel from the land, sea and air — and underground,” Eisen said in a conference call organized by The Israel Project. “They are trying to attack Israeli communities that are located around the Gaza Strip.”

[…]

Eisen added: “At the end of the day we’re not sure we actually killed the terrorists, but they dropped all their weapons — 15 antitank missiles and personal Kalashnikovs and ammunition.”

She said they were planning to attack a kibbutz and kidnap an Israeli soldier.

Shades of  Galid Schalit , the former IDF soldier  kidnapped during the Second Lebanon War in 2006  and held in captivity by Hamas for five years until released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in October 2011.  One of the demands by Hamas for a cease fire in Operation Protective Edge was the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel who participated in Schalit’s kidnapping.

Ms. Eisen’s comment about who was paying for construction of the tunnels and underground armories of Hamas was the subject of an op ed by Steve Emerson of  The Investigative Project just prior to the Israeli ground incursion,  “Hamas-Israel Cease Fire, its déjà vu all over Again”.

Emerson noted:

What happened to President Obama’s promises to Israel, as part of the November 2012 cease-fire agreement, to stop the flow of missiles to Gaza? In two words: Absolutely nothing. … The Obama administration focused its efforts on getting Israel to lift its blockade on steel and concrete, the two major building components of underground tunnels and storage facilities for munitions, on “humanitarian grounds.” Despite the administration’s much ballyhooed November 2012 “cease-fire” agreement that the Obama White House prided itself in bringing an end to the Israeli-Hamas war, somehow Hamas never got the message: From December 2012 to July 1, 2014, Hamas fired nearly 600 missiles into Israel.

Who funded the building of underground armories by Hamas that triggered the IDF current ground incursion? It is the gas rich wealthy emirate of Qatar who provided  over $400 million to ‘restore’ Gaza following the November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.  A Qatar noteworthy by its hold on the Administration given its role in filtering arms to Libya to overthrow Qadaffi and into Syria.   Qatar provides a luxurious sanctuary for Hamas leaders and senior Taliban commanders including those released from Guantanamo in exchange for captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

There was scrambling in Cairo with separate meetings PA President Abbas, Israeli and Hamas delegations. The difference this time is Egyptian President el-Sisi overthrew former President Morsi who brokered the November 2012 cease fire to save his Muslim Brothers of Hamas in Gaza. This time Egypt blamed Hamas for perpetrating the current IDF operation which might have the potential of destroying those tunnels and sending Hamas leaders to exile in Qatar.

Pray for the save return of IDF service personnel and success of this phase of Operation Protective Edge destroying the terror rockets  and Tunnels of Hamas in Gaza.

Watch this You Tube video MiSheberach Zahal:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/LJEpLklULs0[/youtube]

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