Israel’s leaders opt to avoid action on three menacing fronts

Former IDF rigs to probe for Gaza tunnels which Hamas published as an Israeli failure
Israel’s leaders are clinging to lame locutions – “good judgment and responsibility” – to avoid military action for dealing with crisis situations fast coming to a head on three extremely dangerous fronts: armed Palestinian terrorists are now tying up traffic on a major Israeli highway to the Israeli capital; southern Syria is sliding into the control of Hizballah after this Iranian proxy was permitted to amass 100,000 missiles in S. Lebanon; and, this week, Israelis living near the Gaza Strip heard Palestinians building terror tunnels under their homes.
South Syria-Golan

This week, Iranian and Hizballah officials loudly lauded Russian military feats in southern Syria opposite the Israeli Golan for fulfilling their overriding ambition to gain yet another front against the Zionist state.

Still no word was heard from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem or Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in Tel Aviv – even though matters on that front are going from bad to worse. Sunday, Jan. 31, Russian bombers raided Nawa, 10 km east of the Golan. The fall of that town to Syrian-Hizballah forces, after Sheikh Maskin last Friday,will open the way for 2,000 Hizballah troops to surge into an area directly across from Israeli military defense positions. Another 3,000 pro-Iranian Shiite militias are standing by to follow.

As Jordan’s northern border with Syria shared the same peril, King Abdullah and his chief of staff Lt. Gen. Mashal Al-Zaben hurried over to Moscow in an effort to stave it off. They are terrified that the fall of Nawa will touch off the flight of 6,000 to 8,000 armed Syrian rebel fighters to batter on the gates of the kingdom in fear of their lives.

Last week, debkafile warned that the same scenario could play out on the Golan border.

Adding to the challenge, Russia officers have begun recruiting and arming a Syrian Druze militia in As-Suwaida to join Syrian army-Hizballah forces. This threat close to the Israeli border was first pre-empted on Dec. 19, 2015 by the assassination of Samir Quntar, who was placed in charge of raising a Druze army by President Bashar Assad, Iran’s overall commander Qassem Soleimani and Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah.

The onrush of these developments will adversely affect Israel’s security for years to come, Yet Israel’s security chiefs are sunk immovably in deep controversy over whether or not its armed forces should step across the border and take a hand in arresting the deterioration. Meanwhile, they are standing by helplessly.

Palestinian terror and Rte 443

This helpless state is symbolized by Rte 443, one of two highways linking Jerusalem to the rest of the country, driving along which has become a game of Russian roulette.

It runs through the Binyamin Sector of Judea which, Sunday. Jan. 31, saw a new escalation of terror: A Palestinian security officer from Nablus drew his official firearm while passing through an Israeli checkpoint between Ramallah and Beth El used by Palestinian VIPs and shot three Israeli soldiers. Two are in serious condition. A Palestinian motorist then raced forward to run down and stab a group of Israeli soldiers on duty on Rte 443 outside Beit Horon. He was shot dead before he hurt anyone.
Last week, there were four attacks in the same vicinity. In one, an Israeli girl, Shulamit Krugman, was stabbed to death.
This clear focus on location and victims is clearly directed by a guiding hand. Nonetheless, Israel’s leaders continue to insist that it is the random work of individual Palestinians.The inability to pin it down gives them the pretext they need for inaction.

In response to the latest spasm of terror, IDF troops were directed to respond to Palestinian pressure and return the bodies of terrorists killed during murderous attacks, block some of the road links of two Palestinian villages overlooking Rte 443, and restrict movement in and out of Ramallah and el-Bireh, the hubs of the Palestinian Authority, as a counter-terror preventive measure..
Judging from past experience, those blocks and restrictions will be lifted in a short time, in keeping with the defense minister’s view that, even in the face of mounting terrorism, the routine day-to-day lives of the Palestinian community should be disrupted as little as possible. 

In the meantime, Israelis lives are being disrupted by creeping terror, in the absence of security which Mr. Ya’alon is committed to providing. Their enemies, whether Palestinians, Hizballah or the Islamic State are watching Israel’s inability to secure a 32km stretch of highway linking its capital to the rest of the country and can’t fail to be encouraged.

The tunnels of Gaza
On the southern front, the Palestinian Hamas doesn’t bother to deny it is building new tunnels to bring “fighters” from the Gaza Strip under ground into the heart of Israeli communities.
Sunday night, the prime minister vowed to bring extremely powerful punishment down on Hamas if it dares to use those tunnels for an attack.

This was taken to mean that Israel is standing by and doing nothing until an attack actually takes place. He and the army chiefs appear to have forgotten their promise to build an underground barrier with defense systems to prevent the reconstitution of the Hamas tunnel network that was partly demolished in the last IDF counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas can therefore safely carry on rebuilding its tunnel network without worrying about being disturbed.

This same attitude keeps the IDF waiting idly for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and its Hizballah pawns to get their Syrian front against Israel fully organized under the Russian umbrella.

And the Israelis living around the Gaza Strip, after living under Palestinian rocket fire for eight years, now listen to Hamas chipping away under their feet, while tensing for a terrorist to jump out of the ground somewhere. When they brought recordings of unmistakable noises of mechanical equipment and voices coming from the ground for airing on television Sunday night, the defense minister’s only comment, in a lame attempt to get off the hook, was that the IDF had investigated the claim and not found a single tunnel under Israeli homes!  .

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