Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Calm Before The Storm On Gaza Border, Israel's Inaction In Syria May Open Golan To Iran




Calm before the storm along the Gaza border?


A day after a large-scale Israeli retaliation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip gives a sort of misleading image of calm in southern Israel.

That same feeling of calm was also apparent shortly after Israel’s first retaliatory strike late Monday morning. A number of buses had just let out a dozen tourists who had come to the Black Arrow Monument, a memorial dedicated to fallen soldiers of the Paratroop Brigade in the years leading up to the Sinai Campaign of 1956, and which lies just 900 meters from the border with Gaza.

Later on Monday evening, the IDF released a statement that the strikes were not only in response to the day’s attacks from Gaza, but also “for acts of aggression which have occurred over the course of the last month.”

Hamas released a statement saying that the terrorist group “holds the Israeli occupation fully accountable for the repercussions of the latest escalation that was launched against the Gaza Strip.”

Israel recently decided to change its policy regarding rocket fire from the Strip, deciding to no longer resort to a limited, measured response. The new policy, which was crafted by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.

Gadi Eisenkot and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, allows the IDF to strike all Hamas targets, assets and infrastructure in response to any rocket fire from the Strip.


That policy became apparent following the launching of a rocket at the southern town of Sderot in August by an Islamic State-linked Salafist group, when the air force struck Hamas targets 50 times – the most intense Israeli reprisal attack on Gaza since the Operation Protective Edge in 2014.



Since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has invested a significant amount of money and effort into its military capability. In the next war, Hamas aims to inflict painful strategic blows on Israel with short- and long-range missiles, by kidnapping and killing Israeli civilians and soldiers via their attack tunnels, to using weaponized drones, infiltrating Israeli territory by the group’s naval commando forces and even cyber warfare against the IDF.

The terrorist group has also been investing in its drone capability. While Hamas has yet to carry out an attack against Israel with drones, in recent years Hamas drones have sometimes breached Israeli airspace, causing the IDF to scramble jets.

Both the Islamic State group and Hezbollah have used weaponized drones to carry out attacks, and in October 2016 The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was struggling to deal with the aerial threat posed by ISIS. The terrorist group recently posted several pictures with advice on how to weaponize a small quadcopter with Russian-made antitank hand grenades, RPO antitank rockets and an anti-tank rocket launcher. The terrorists also claim to have used drones to drop explosive devices onto Iraqi and Syrian troops.

It is not hard to imagine that Israel could face a similar threat, as Hamas is reportedly producing drones that can carry explosive devices. And while Israel has advanced anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow, those systems don’t have 100% accuracy when shooting down small, but potentially dangerous, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can infiltrate Israeli airspace.

Like their attack tunnels, using weaponized drones is “a calculated risk,” Schweitzer said, adding that Hamas “must be very cautious about using this type of weapon.”

According to Schweitzer, “Israel must prepare for this threat, as its enemies will use this advanced technique to attack it.” Nevertheless, if the group does decide to use weaponized drones, “Hamas knows that if they use this, the retaliation will be very deadly, it will be an act of war.”








Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given “diplomatic priority” to stressing the perils posed by Iranian-sponsored terrorism and its nuclear-capable ballistic weapons, and placed them at the top of his talks with British premier Theresa May in London Monday, Feb. 6, and with President Donald Trump in Washington on Feb. 15.

But it stands to reason that their national security and intelligence experts have advised the US president and the British premier that Netanyahu has been firmly advised up to the present day to stay clear of military involvement in the Syrian conflict by the IDF high command and his past and present defense ministers, Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe Ya’alon.

Israel therefore stands to be excluded from the practical deliberations ongoing for Syria’s future. Jordan in contrast has stepped forward as the key Middle East player in the pacts and military understandings shaping up between the US, Russia and Turkey for throwing Iran out of Syria.

The onset of Jordan’s military action in Syria has pumped up to seven the number of foreign armies involved in that country’s conflict: Russia, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, pro-Iranian Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Lebanese Hizballah, US forces, the Turkish Army and now Jordan.

Synchronously with the Jordanian air strike in southern Syria, President Bashar Assad announced that its launch makes it possible for Syrian civilians who fled from the Islamists to start returning to their homes, starting with the Quneitra region of the Syrian Golan. He was talking about 30,000 refugees.

It is obvious to anyone familiar with the Syrian scene that this population shift is an open invitation for thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members and Hizballah terrorists to take the opportunity of stealing into the Golan, in the guise of returning refugees.

Israel, aside from providing an intelligence service on Syria to coalition forces, finds itself left out of any say in the currently evolving peace process. While ISIS may be rooted out of this border area at some point, the Netanyahu government’s military inaction risks exposing the Golan to another attempted incursion by Iranian and Hizballah forces by covert means. 

The diplomatic prioritization of the Iranian threat, coupled with talks with US president Trump and deals with Russian President Putin, amount to a policy that has gone bankrupt for Netanyahu and his security chiefs. The powers who will determine what happens next in Syria are bound by military cooperation and action. Because Netanyahu’s rhetoric about the perils posed by Iran is not backed by military action, Israel has no influence on coming events, and faces the very real risk of being faced with an Iranian presence on its northern doorstep. 








At a time when the leaders of Arab-controlled Ramallah continue their rejection of the Jewish State and their civil society enemy in Gaza has launched more missiles at Israel and been deprived of yet another terror cell in Hebron, they continue to refuse to sit and negotiate a permanent peace agreement. They think they can weaken and destroy Israel is stages by applying the alternative strategy of force and diplomatic pressure.
It’s time to reclaim our land. It’s been out there dangling as a reward for Arab pragmatism, recognition of our rights, and peace, but the olive branch has been knocked out of our hand by their lethal ideology of a world without the Jewish State.
It has left us no other option but to make a loud statement of intent that in the face of rejection, threats, violence and non-compliance with signed agreements, Judea & Samaria not only exist,  but are about to get stronger.

Since 1967 instead of accepting our generous concessions they thought they could play an end game that would leave us weaker and more vulnerable to a double sucker punch of terror and international pressure which would take them along the path to what they call the final solution of the Jewish problem in the Middle East.

All the evidence is there for the compliant diplomats who have been dragging the dead carcass of a two-state solution for decades even as they rip out the three thousand year beating heart of Judaism from our grasp by calling it “illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”


To the failing two-state diplomats allow me to inform you that there are several valid alternatives to your failed vision.  But let me put it bluntly. It is way past time for diplomatic dancing. Let’s call the Palestinian spade the bloody shovel that it is. Our generosity has been rejected and perceived as weakness. It is time for Israel to reverse out of the blind alley we have been forced into by an international community unable to see they have become willing hostages to a Holocaust denier in Ramallah and a radical Islamic terror regime in Gaza.
In this dangerous neck of the woods strength rules and you get devoured when you display weakness.  Liberal niceties have little place in this murderous region.  The time has come for Israel to assert its legitimate and God-given rights and the world be damned for not acknowledging them.
The door is closing on Palestine. They had their chance and they blew it.





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