Saturday, August 20, 2011

More from Israel

As stated, this whole thing is evolving so rapidly there will be frequent updates. Just a few hours have elapsed since the previous update and we already have more. Additionally, we already have a commentary from Caroline Glick and Debka has weighed in, so lets see what they have to say about this rapidly evolving situation:

IDF strikes in northern Gaza Strip

Mr Netanyahu said more was to come, and we're seeing it:

The IAF struck a number of targets in Gaza Saturday morning and overnight Friday in response to attacks Thursday that claimed the lives of eight people, as well as continued rocket fire from the Strip.

The death toll in Gaza stood at 15, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported, including at least one minor.

Two tunnels and one warehouse used for manufacturing weapons in southern Gaza were bombed Friday overnight by IAF aircraft, as well as one site used for terrorist activities in the northern Strip, an IDF Spokesman's Office statement said.

Also on Friday, the IAF launched an air strike against a terrorist cell in the central Gaza Strip after the cell fired a rocket into Israeli territory, the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement. A direct hit was identified in the strike, the statement added.

Minutes earlier, the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Ashkelon.

Arab Riots in Jerusalem

Dozens of Arab men from Jerusalem managed to break down a police barrier early on Friday afternoon. The incident took place outside the Shechem gate in the Old City.

Police responded immediately, using water blasters and stun bombs to restore order.

The night before, a young Arab man was caught with a knife at the Shechem gate. He admitted to planning to stab a police officer, and was arrested.

Israel-Egyptian peace shaken

Egypt is to withdraw its ambassador to Israel to protest what it calls "breach of the peace treaty" over the deaths of five Egyptian security personnel.

The Cairo rejoinder: "Egypt will also take protective measures and strengthen security at the border with the necessary forces capable of deterring alleged infiltrators as well as responding to any activity by the Israeli military."

This statement contained a direct threat to set aside the decades-long peace treaty with Israel which mandates the demilitarization of Sinai as a buffer zone between the two countries.

Angry demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and other towns were sparked Friday night by Barak's comment and the testimony of witnesses at the scene of the deadly multiple Palestinian attack

And below, we see just how rapidly this situation is escalating:

DEBKAfile's Egyptian sources report that Cairo is planning to inject substantial military strength into the Sinai Peninsula in the coming hours, forcing Israel's army to confront the Egyptian army on its southwestern border for the first time in three decades.

And the predictable protests in Egypt calling for Israeli blood has already started:

In Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, the three Egyptian cities in the forefront of the revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood organized anti-Israel rallies Friday and Saturday.

The demonstrators shouted that Egyptian blood would not be spilled in vain and called for a strong reprisal.

The incident is fast becoming an issue in Egypt's presidential campaign among the Brothers and other contenders.

Now it is too late. Egypt's ruling generals are beyond heeding testimony, however credible, demonstrating that al Qaeda – not Israeli troops or helicopters – was responsible for the Egyptian deaths. Egged on by the Muslim Brotherhood, they have taken the first step on the road to revoking the historic Camp David peace accords.
They can only be turned back if the United States intercedes and urges them to think again and abandon this radical and hazardous course.

Now we see Caroline Glick's commentary:

Blood in the Streets

It starts with this heading:

Although the revolution in Egypt was not about Israel, Israel will be its first foreign victim as the new Egypt rejects the former regime’s peace with the Jewish state.

This article is long but here are just a few of the interesting quotes:

There can be little doubt of the sophisticated planning and training required to carry out this attack. The competence of the assailants indicates that their organizations are highly professional, well-trained and in possession of accurate intelligence about Israeli civilian traffic and military operations along the border with Egypt.

But the possibility that the assault was just the opening round of a new irregular war emanating from Sinai cannot be ruled out.

LIKE THE watershed events in Judea and Samaria, in Lebanon and in Gaza, Thursday’s attack from Sinai did not come out of nowhere. It was a natural progression of the deterioration of the security situation in Sinai in recent months and years.

Passengers in one of the civilian cars attacked by gunmen in the first stage of the operation told the media that their attackers were wearing Egyptian army uniforms.

What is clear enough is that Israel cannot expect to receive serious cooperation from the Egyptian military in combating the enemy forces emanating from Sinai. Indeed, at this point it is impossible to rule out the possibility that Egyptian military personnel participated in the murderous attacks.

We'll continue to follow this story closely. Egypt is getting more and more involved as the rhetoric heats up and it now seems quite possible that they were actually involved in these attacks.

The protests are also increasing in Egypt, possibly forcing the Egyptian military's hand. And in an election year, there will be a lot of pressure to appease these protestors.

Stay tuned.

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