Israel: Another Mythical Arab Victory

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August 28, 2007: Palestinian terrorists are firing about a hundred rockets into southern Israel each week. Meanwhile, Hamas is still struggling to gain complete control of Gaza. There are still lots of Palestinians who oppose Hamas, either for social (they don't want an Islamic lifestyle imposed on them) or religious (Hamas is too cozy with Shia religious fanatics from Iran) reasons. Arabs, in general, are wary of Iran, and any Arabs that ally themselves with Iran. To make matters worse, Hamas tolerates Shia missionaries who seek to convert Sunni Arabs to the Shia sect of Islam. Many Sunnis, particularly al Qaeda types, see Shia as heretics.

Hamas has amassed a large arsenal of rockets in Gaza, and is allowing terrorists to continue attempting attacks on Israel. These are failing, and getting about a dozen Palestinians a week killed. Hamas has smuggled about 40 tons of weapons into Gaza, from Egypt, in the last two months. That's about five times the rate of two years ago, when Israel controlled the border with Egypt. Israel is angry at Egypt, which has apparently made a deal with Hamas (to ignore the smuggling as long as Hamas does not support Islamic terror operations in Egypt.)

Hamas has not attempted any terrorists operations inside Israel for three years, mainly because Israeli counter-terror operations have made that extremely difficult. So now the plan is to launch a large scale rocket attack on southern Israel, similar to the one Hizbollah launched from Lebanon last year. This would have no chance of military success in the traditional sense. But Hamas sees such an action as making them big heroes in the Arab world, and forcing Arab governments to support them. That's unlikely to happen, but reality was never a large component of Hamas planning.

Iran is very active in supporting both Hamas and Hizbollah. Training camps in Iran provide technical and terrorist training for men from both organizations. The Hizbollah rocket arsenal is believed to be larger than it was before Hizbollah launched its attack last year. That operation saw about 4,000 rockets fall on Israel, and about twice as many destroyed by Israeli air and ground forces.

Meanwhile, the UN has extended its peacekeeping operation in southern Lebanon for another year. The UN troops keep Hizbollah rockets out the area about 20 kilometers north of the Israeli border. But just outside that zone, Hizbollah has stored thousands of rockets. This sets up the opportunity for Hizbollah to fire longer range rockets over UN troops, into Israel. In response, Israel could use air attacks on Hizbollah. But these, it knows from last years experience, don't do the job. Israeli ground forces would have to push aside UN peacekeepers to get to Hizbollah. The current Iranian plan is apparently to encourage Hamas and Hizbollah to launch their rocket attacks simultaneously. Israel would kill lots of Arabs, and Iran would declare itself the winner. Nothing would really be accomplished, except for the creation of another mythical Arab victory over Israel.

 

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