How many times?
How many times do we count down as the final hours of a 72 hour – or 120 hour – ceasefire come to an end, aware that resolution of the issues between Israel and Hamas is exceedingly unlikely and wondering what will happen next??
The guessing is that it will either be active war or a tacit “quiet for quiet” situation. But I’m not going to discuss various pros and cons, various implications, now: That discussion will wait for my next posting.
Here, briefly, I want to share a couple of selected pieces of news that are significant now – even before we know what follows this ceasefire. They will remain significant no matter how things play out because they are indicative of the underlying situation, and of certain attitudes and intentions.
Most telling here is the news that in recent weeks the Shin Bet has arrested 93 Hamas activists who had set up terrors cells across Judaea and Samaria, and in eastern Jerusalem: in 46 Palestinian towns and villages, as well as in Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, and Hebron.
Focusing on the Temple Mount, they intended to start a third intifada. Under cover of that intifada, Hamas intended to take down the Palestinian Authority and take over in Ramallah just as it took down the PA and seized rule in Gaza seven years ago.
The head of this complex operation was Saleh al-Arouri ; the Shin Bet says he operated from Turkey and remains there now. Al-Arouri is referred to as “the Mohammed Deif of the West Bank.”
In recent months there has been an influx of Hamas operatives known to be loyal to al-Arouri. Sophisticated Palestinian Arabs – were recruited from abroad. Notable among these was one with a doctorate in computer science who was trained in encryption and cyber-attacks. Head of the military infrastructure in Judaea and Samaria was Riyad Nasser, who has been in prison for some months now.
Funds for the operation were brought by Jordanian couriers from Jordan and Turkey, in order to purchase safe houses and vehicles.
Folks, this Hamas plan is no surprise (even if the scope of it was greater than most of us had assumed). But it is mind-boggling because of its various implications:
- Let me begin with the kidnapping-murder of the three students – martyrs, truly: In the course of searching for the boys, the IDF and associated security agencies pulled off a major operation in the Hevron area. This was well after the Shin Bet had uncovered the plot (which was in May) and so clearly the search provided the opportunity to do considerable destruction of Hamas infrastructure in the area, to do arrests of Hamas operatives, and to confiscate Hamas funds.
- I – along with many others – have been writing about the foolishness of thinking that Mahmoud Abbas’s PA might be installed in Gaza to monitor reconstruction, or the crossings, or whatever. The PA is not strong enough, I’ve been saying. In fact, I have been writing, Hamas even wants to overthrow Abbas in Judaea and Samaria and is prevented from doing so only by the presence of Israel.
Well, hello??? Here we are.
Any one who proposes that Abbas move into Gaza after the exposure of this plot has got to be willfully blind (as most leftists are) or have distinctly devious motives. The fact of this plot should be waved in the face of those who dare (and they will dare) to continue to suggest this.
What is more, anyone who suggests that we provide Abbas and the PA with an autonomous/sovereign state in parts of Judaea and Samaria should be likewise challenged. As things stand now (and barring a full take-out of Hamas – no simple task): to give the PA a state is to guarantee a Hamas state at our east.
- I must speculate, as well, as to what Abbas is using in place of brains. I would assume that he imagines he will be the winner if the international community gives him a role in Gaza. He probably thinks it’s pay-back time for what Hamas did to him.
But the article I cite, above, says that PA security was updated on the investigation regarding Hamas plans. Abbas knew that Hamas was planning to overthrow him, and that it was only the Shin Bet that protected him.
This leads to the question, as well – a significant question – as to why Abbas did not disavow the “unity government” with Hamas in light of this information. Or why he sits as one of the factions negotiating on the side of Hamas against Israel. Is he motivated simply by fear? This man who some imagine would monitor Hamas.
This is all too convoluted and surreal.
- The article makes a significant point about the international nature of Hamas. Mashaal is in Qatar. The Turkish government knew what was taking place on its territory – with al-Arouri planning the operation from there and recruiting operatives loyal to him from diverse places, including Malaysia (which is where the guy trained in cyber-attacks came from). This makes Hamas more dangerous than would be the case if it were – as it once was – primarily a “local” terror group.
I cannot speak for my prime minister or the Security Cabinet. But I would suspect that this awareness of the nature of Hamas may have played into decisions regarding how to deal with it. “Taking out Hamas” would be more complicated and vastly more difficult than those who charge that Netanyahu is remiss for not doing so likely imagine. This is not to say that Hamas in Gaza should not be taken down – a good case can still be made for this. But it’s important to consider broader ramifications and not draw conclusions too quickly.
- It is a good bet that this information about the Hamas plot was made public now for a purpose.
- Lastly, the Temple Mount – Har Habayit – where Hamas wanted to focus its intifada scheme. We’ve known for some time that there has been Hamas incitement on the Mount. But, again, most of us did not understand the full ramifications.
While I do write about the Temple Mount from time to time, I feel that perhaps I have been remiss in not focusing on it more. Any one who thinks this most sacred space for Jews – our right to which is being challenged – is not at the heart of matters does not see the full picture.
Only one other piece of news here. I think this is sufficient for now:
The US has offered to guarantee Israel’s commitment to any signed agreement. As Aaron Lerner of IMRA put it:
“US offers to guarantee that Israel doesn’t interfere with Hamas missile construction?”
Please read Steve Emerson, Executive Director of The Investigative Project, on this:
Every time you think Obama has stooped as low as he might, in seeking to block Israeli actions against Hamas and protect Hamas, something else emerges. None of this should be forgotten.
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