Will Netanyahu use boys’ rescue operation to finally thrash Hamas in Gaza too?

DEBKA

Signs of an approaching IDF military operation against Hamas abounded this week as a possible outcome of the massive military-cum-intelligence effort to rescue the three Israeli boys Hamas is accused of abducting near Hebron on June 10. Military strength constantly poured in to reinforce the siege around the Hebron, a West Bank city of 170,000 and is environs. Sunday night, June 15, Israeli forces surrounded and then stormed two houses for suspects, after detaining up to 100 Hamas operatives.

During the day, a limited call-up of reserves was announced.

All in all, it looked as though the fundamentalist Islamic organization was in for a major smack – and not only in Hebron. Opposite Hamas’ Gaza base, Israel deployed Iron Dome missile interceptors at important towns within range of Palestinian rockets – Ashdod, Beersheba and Rehovot as well as Ashkelon, where Sunday night, the battery caught two missiles incoming from the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Egypt had meanwhile shut down their border crossings to and from the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian army also beefed up its deployment along the Israeli border and posted an armored battalion at the Sinai terminal at Taba.

Hamas has avoided admitting to the abduction or making any demands. Pent-up Israeli fury against its constant menace and routine extortions is fueled by the anguish of the teenagers’ families. The government would find it hard in the current environment to bow to yet another demand to hand over Palestinian prisoners. Dealing with Hamas in military terms is backed across the political spectrum under popular pressure.

This confrontation may blow quickly from the West Bank to the Gaza sector. There, Hamas holds its vast missile arsenal and terrorist infrastructure, which it has refused to relinquish even for the sake of Palestinian reconciliation and a unity government, and will use it to the full to terrorize southern and central Israeli cities and villages.

There, too, Hamas could count on backup from the pro-Iranian Palestinian Jihad Islami, which has accumulated firepower that rivals that of Hamas as well as a strong foothold in West Bank refugee camps.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, in his brief comment Saturday night, June 14, made an important point when he said: “While bending all our efforts to rescuing the three boys, we are keeping a watchful eye on the north and the south.”
He has clearly taken into account that in a conflagration with the Palestinians, Hizballah units in Lebanon and Syria, including the Golan border, may well open a second and third front against Israel to ease the pressure off its allies.

All these calculations weigh heavily on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Lt. Gen. Gantz and his deputy Maj. Gen. Gady Eisenkott in deciding on the scale and targets of military action against Hamas, which may have started rolling. It has been given a name: “Our Brothers Come Home.”

The Egyptian military concentrations on the Israeli and Gaza borders attest to a degree of coordination between Jerusalem and Cairo, under former army chief President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi.

On the one hand, El Sisi Israel’s leaders are of the same mind as Israel on the pressing need to keep Hamas and some of its Al Qaeda allies in Sinai from using the peninsula as their launching- pad for cross-border attacks on Israel.

On the other, the Egyptian president will not readily commit himself to supporting an Israeli military operation to destroy the military resources of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ally and offspring in Gaza, without first obtaining the nod of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, which bankroll his regime and armed forces.

Netanyahu appears to be holding his fire in the hope of a positive reply from Cairo before approaching Washington for its blessing.

In the meantime, other punitive measures are to be broached, such as a proposal to declare null and void the much-criticized 2011 deal which traded a thousand convicted Palestinian terrorists, including mass murderers, for Gilead Shalit, the soldier held hostage by Hamas for five years..Another is to deport Hamas leaders from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.

The Netanyahu government and Obama administration have attained a limited area of assent in recent months over Israel’s role in the Syrian civil war. It is based on the understanding that Jerusalem will give Washington advance notice of its military steps without the obligation to comply with the administration’s position.
Would this informal US-Israeli arrangement work for an operation against Hamas? Would the Obama administration abstain from supporting this Israeli initiative in the war on terror?

Israel is mulling its strategic options not too far away from the sights and sounds of ISIS (Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant) feats in conquering one city after another in Iraq’s Sunni heartland – and its backlash: Although the Iraqi national army claims to be pushing back, it is in reality thousands of Iranian Al Qods Brigades troops who have take ISIS on.

If Tehran succeeds in stabilizing the Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government and saving his army from collapse, just as it did for Syria’s Bashar Assad, that success would consolidate Hizballah’s strength in Lebanon and Syria and that of Hamas and Jihad Islami in Gaza City and Ramallah.

The two terrorist organizations would rule the roost in the Palestinian governing administration.

Although this process may take some months to unfold, Netanyahu would be advised to act soon to nip it in the bud before radical rule in Hebron and Gaza is transposed to Ramallah.

In 2012, Netanyahu stepped back from finishing the IDF operation against Hamas’ rocket blitz without putting paid to the threat. Two years later, he vowed there would be “grave consequences” for the abduction of three teenage Israeli civilians. Will he make good this time on his strong words against Hamas?

June 17, 2014 | 9 Comments »

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9 Comments / 9 Comments

  1. CuriousAmerican Said:

    Texans are usually excellent spellers, so we have to assume you did not have your morning coffee

    That’s how its spelled in Texian, I don’t reckon how yawl Nawthun Yankees spell it none.

  2. Hopefully the IDF will destroy Hamas in Gaza also but unless they start firing rockets or try bombings elsewhere I doubt this will happen.

  3. CuriousAmerican Said:

    I do not believe Hamas did it; I think a renegrade group like ISIS is responsible.

    this is possible, in the same way that sunni jihadis may have used chem attacks in syria to try to provoke US and west entering war. I beleive we will see a further stage of disagreement within hamas with the top, meshaal acceeding to GCC demands as he has already stated.

  4. CuriousAmerican Said:

    THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

    the current operation cements abbas rule in the west bank
    The “talks” were a sham to allow GCC to focus jihadi and their recruitment on the Iran proxyies and Israel benefits from the proxy weakening. Abbas was paid to sit in talks already agreed to go nowhere. for this he got prisoners, money and the deposing of hamas in the west bank. Perhaps next is gaza. I expect that meshaal will follow qatar’s(GCC) instructions to enter gov under abbas and accept the quartet terms. Hamas elements in disagreement will be liquidated like the iranian gaza links. Just a speculation.

  5. @ honeybee:
    Ah you of to much faith [or neiftivity] .

    I think you meant naiveté.

    Texans are usually excellent spellers, so we have to assume you did not have your morning coffee.

    What I think is:

    Netanyahu had legal reason to go after Hamas weeks ago, but was afraid to do it.

    SO he allowed a crisis to occur.

    Now he is going after Hamas, which he should have done weeks ago.

    These boys are his excuse.

    I think ISIS or Islamic Jihad took the boys, NOT Hamas. I do not think Hamas would have jeopardized the UNITY government.

    The odd thing is: The UNITY government was sufficient reason for Israel to act, since Fatah was allying with Hamas which is at war with Israel.

    So Netanyahu allows Israelis to get hurt, because he is afraid to act until he gets world opinion behind him.

  6. CuriousAmerican Said:

    I believe a renegade group did the kidnapping.
    I do not believe Hamas did it; I think a renegrade group like ISIS is responsible.
    Bibi is using the kidnapping as an excuse to crush Hamas

    Ah you of to much faith [or neiftivity] .

  7. I believe a renegade group did the kidnapping.

    I do not believe Hamas did it; I think a renegrade group like ISIS is responsible.

    Bibi is using the kidnapping as an excuse to crush Hamas.

    HOWEVER … Hamas is officially at war with Israel. So why did he need an excuse to crush it? Why didn’t he crush it a long time ago? Why didn’t he crush it as soon as the UNITY deal was made?

    This tells me that Netanyahu values world opinion more than common sense. He will not act until he can look good.

    This makes the kidnapping look very strange.

    I seriously doubt Hamas would have jeopardized their new role in Judea and Samaria.

    Does Netanyahu let Israel’s guard to allow an incident to occur before he can act?

    Like FDR ignored the signals for Pearl Harbor.

    The lunatic fringe says this is a false flag hoax. I do not buy that idiocy. However, it may be that Netanyahu drops protection of the Jews, in order to provoke the Arabs with tempting victims.

    There is something odd about this?

    How did three kids get taken in an area crawling with IDF troops?

    It seems he is less concerned about retreiving the kids than rounding up Hamas. I do NOT fault him for rounding up Hamas, but why didn’t he round them up weeks ago.

    THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

    Pro-Palestinians say Netanyahu is picking on innocent Hamas politicians.

    Well, they are not innocent; but it is clear that Netanyahu is manipulating a crisis.

    Why didn’t he go after Hamas earlier?

    The question is: Does he set up the crisis so it is inevitable?

    Like FDR, Netanyahu could not lead his people into war, so he lied them into War.

  8. I believe a renegade group did the kidnapping.

    I do not believe Hamas did it.

    Bibi is using the kidnapping as an excuse to crush Hamas.

    HOWEVER … Hamas is officially at war with Israel. So why did he need an excuse to crush it? Why didn’t he crush it a long time ago? Why didn’t he crush it as soon as the UNITY deal was made?

    This tells me that Netanyahu values world opinion more than common sense. He will not act until he can look good.

    This makes the kidnapping look very strange.

    I seriously doubt Hamas would have jeopardized their new role in Judea and Samaria.

    Does Netanyahu let Israel’s guard to allow an incident to occur before he can act?

    Like FDR ignored the signals for Pearl Harbor.

    The lunatic fringe says this is a false flag hoax. I do not buy that idiocy. However, it may be that Netanyahu drops protection of the Jews, in order to provoke the Arabs with tempting victims.

    There is something odd about this?

    How did three kids get taken in an area crawling with IDF troops?

    It seems he is less concerned about retreiving the kids than rounding up Hamas. I do NOT fault him for rounding up Hamas, but why didn’t he round them up weeks ago.

    Why does he need kidnapped teens to act.

    THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

    Pro-Palestinians say Netanyahu is picking on innocent Hamas politicians.

    Well, they are not innocent; but it is clear that Netanyahu is manipulating a crisis.

    The question is: Does he set up the crisis so it is inevitable?

    Like FDR set up Pearl Harbor.

    Netanyahu (FDR) could not lead his people into war, so he lied them into war.