Will it be a 'mistake' when 'angry youth' from Gaza kill troops? - analysis

What happened? Did we miss something in Gaza? Or did Hamas catch Israel blinking?

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August 19, 2019 00:55
3 minute read.
Will it be a 'mistake' when 'angry youth' from Gaza kill troops? - analysis

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip June 21, 2019. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

The summer heat is beginning to fade but temperatures are rising along the border fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. A flare-up of violence over the weekend with rocket fire and several violent infiltrations along the fence has broken months of relative calm along the normally restive border.

Over a span of two weeks, nine armed Palestinians infiltrated into southern Israel before being engaged by IDF troops and killed. Four rockets have also been fired toward communities along the border, one of which smashed into the patio of a home in Sderot.

What happened? Did we miss something afoot in Gaza? Or did Hamas catch Israel snoozing?

The flare-up began on August 1 when an IDF officer and two soldiers were wounded by Hani Abu Salah, a member of Hamas’s border patrol, when he tried to infiltrate into Israel. He had been wearing a uniform and was armed with grenades and a Kalashnikov rifle when he infiltrated into Israeli territory from the southern edge of the Hamas-run enclave. Abu Salah was killed in an exchange of fire at the border near Kissufim.

On August 10, IDF troops shot dead four heavily armed Palestinians who attempted to infiltrate with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades. The four terrorists were identified as Abdullah Ismail al-Hamaida, 21, Abdullah Ashraf al-Ghomri, 19, Ahmad Ayman al-Adeini, 20, and Abdallah al-Masri, 21, all of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

The next day, Marwan Nasser, 26, was shot and killed by IDF troops after he opened fire while trying to infiltrate into southern Israel. During his funeral, his head was wrapped with a green bandanna associated with Hamas’s Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades.

On Saturday, following a second night of rocket fire, three armed Palestinians – identified as Mohammed al-Taramsi, 21, Mohammad Abu Namous, 23, and Mahmoud al-Walaydeh, 22 – were killed after engaging IDF soldiers while attempting to infiltrate Israel. The three were wrapped in flags belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades during their burial.

Notwithstanding the flags of allegiance, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the infiltration attempts. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have, however, mourned the deaths of all the “rebellious angry youth” killed by IDF fire.

It is odd that no armed group wants to claim responsibility for the operations, reminiscent of the excuse that Hamas gave when three rockets were fired toward central Israel by “mistake.”

But those “angry youth” who were “rebelling” against the “Zionist occupation” likely had one goal: to infiltrate into Israel to attack and kill any soldiers and civilians they encountered.

Had they succeeded in their mission and killed IDF troops or civilians, would that have been a “mistake” as well?

Recognizing the pattern of violent nighttime infiltrations in recent weeks, the defense establishment is now planning a second wall along the border close to where Saturday’s infiltration occurred.

According to a report on Channel 12 last week, the Defense Ministry is planning to build a six-meter-high defensive wall inside Israeli territory along a nine kilometer stretch of Route 34 between the Yad Mordechai and Sderot.

This additional wall, which is meant to provide nearby communities with further protection from infiltrators, will be added to the current barrier, sand berms and trees planted to protect citizens from threats from Gaza, including anti-tank fire. In May, an Israeli civilian was killed by a Kornet anti-tank missile fired at his car.

In addition to these measures, Israel’s upgraded barrier with the Strip is expected to be completed – both above and underground – by next summer,  removing the threat of cross-border attack tunnels and stopping terrorists from Gaza intent on carrying out attacks from infiltrating into southern Israel.

Until then, Israel is still vulnerable to ground infiltrations by “angry youths.” One day, those “angry youths” are going to succeed. And then what?

Will Mr. Security, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who doesn’t seem keen on yet another military conflict with Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Strip) give the green light for troops to put a stop to the violence and unleash in the Gaza Strip a fourth war over the past decade? Or will the government continue to tiptoe around Gaza? Will it continue to place a Band-Aid over the festering wound that is the heavily destroyed Strip, building barrier on top of barrier on top of another barrier?

Because dead troops don’t win elections.


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