In less than a month, Palestinians have committed six acts of terror against Israeli soldiers and civilians on the West Bank and developed a new terror conspiracy against the Israeli population living next door to the Gaza Strip. Two soldiers and a reserve colonel were murdered. In the latest incident, Thursday, Oct. 17, a Palestinian crashed a tractor into the IDF Rama base north of Jerusalem. He was shot dead in mid-rampage through the facility.
This occurred just hours after all military bases in Judea and Samaria were placed on terrorist alert. Yet the Rama base had only one sentry at the gate. And instead of shutting himself inside his booth and summoning reinforcements to deal with the violent interloper, he ran out and was knocked over, dropping his sidearm and walkie-talkie.
Less than two weeks earlier, and not far away, a Palestinian shot the nine-year old Israeli girl, Noam Glick in Psagot north of Ramallah. Like the sentry, she survived with injuries.
However, on Oct. 11, Col. (ret) Seraya Ofer was brutally clubbed to death outside his home in Brosh Habika’a in the Jordan Valley by two Palestinians using axes, iron bars and a pitchfork.
As in the Pisgat Zeev attack, official army and police spokesmen hedged before attributing the attack to terrorists. Various motives were under investigation, they said.
Terrorism was only admitted explicitly after Israeli Channel TV 2 investigative reporter Moshe Nussbaum discovered that the pair had shown up at their victim’s home at an earlier date on a lame pretext. They made off when they found him armed and attended by guard dogs. The colonel was suspicious enough, after giving them water, to take down the number of their vehicle and report the incident to the police and Shin Bet.
But there was no follow-up probe on the vehicle. Only after the murder, were the two killers identified and detained. They were Ouda Farid Talb Harub, 18, and Bashir Ahmad Ouda Haroub, 21 – both from Deir Samet, a village on the outskirts of Hebron.
And still, Israeli security and military spokesmen insisted there was no evidence that the attacks were connected by a single thread or “a common factor.” It was impossible to keep track of a lone terrorist, they said, who woke up one morning at this home in Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, and decided on the spur of the moment to turn his tractor as a tool of death.
If those officers meant to say that no regular Palestinian organization had been identified as explicitly instigating a terrorist campaign, like the PLO’s Second Intifada of suicide bombers in the years 2000 to 2004, that too is wide of the facts.
The hand of Hamas was clearly visible.
On Sept. 22, Sgt. Gal Koby, 20, from Tirat Hacarmel, was standing guard at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron when he was shot dead by a sniper, who was never caught.
Hebron, which is also the home of Col. Ofer’s killers, is Hamas turf.
On Oct. 15, one of the largest and most well-equipped terrorist tunnels was discovered running from a point near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis under the border up to a point near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha.
The 2-kilometer long tunnel was lined with concrete slabs, equipped with power, phone lines and food and provided with niches for explosives and outlets under the fields of the kibbutz.
It was the third terrorist tunnel to be found branching out of the Gaza Strip and more are believed awaiting discovery.
Ein Hashloshe and its 300 denizens, most of them children, has like the neighboring towns and villages, survived decades of Palestinian attacks from the Gaza Strip – rockets, mortars and snipers picking off members working in the fields. They now nervously watch a potato field which is closest to Gaza in case a terrorist jumps out of an unseen tunnel.
So the IDF not only had a name for the Palestinian organization behind the latest upsurge of terrorist incidents but also an address. It was impossible to ignore any longer after Saturday, Oct. 19, when Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya made a speech in Gaza City calling on all Palestinians and Arab peoples to launch the Third Intifada. There can be no security or stability, he shouted, so long as Al Aqsa is in danger!
This charge was especially ludicrous: The mosques of Temple Mount have never been in danger. The only threat on that holy shrine is to Jews who venture to enter the compound order and pray there.
However, in recent weeks, the army has scaled down its guard on the long-suffering part of the country which abuts the Gaza Strip, trusting to the Egyptian army, which has destroyed hundreds of smuggling tunnels between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, to cut down Hamas for aiding and abetting the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.
It has always been the view of debkafile’s analysts that Israel dare not rely on foreign powers to uphold its national security. There is always a price to pay, often in the lives of civilians and servicemen.
Furthermore, Hamas is already proven be turning its attention to building a solid infrastructure for a fresh campaign of terror against southern Israel and organizing outbreaks in Judea and Samaria. It is up to the IDF – not Egypt – to prevent this plot from bursting into broad lethal action.
This will not happen so long as army commanders and security officials disclaim evidence of a concerted campaign of terror. There is no guarantee that a third Palestinian campaign of violence against Israel would be identical in method to the second intifada. The conspiracy must be nipped in the bud at source.
Hamas is one common factor in the latest outbreaks. There is another: Two of the most recent attacks were perpetrated by Palestinians whose brothers died in the commission of former terrorist strikes.
Did those brothers rise up spontaneously on a whim with no guiding hand?