Terrorism alert

Eid al-Adha and Tisha Be’av, falling this year on the same day, should be a time of unity and sharing of religious tradition. There is much Islam and Judaism have in common.

By
August 12, 2019 18:13
3 minute read.
Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)

Israel has thwarted two attacks from Gaza in the last 24 hours and, over the weekend, arrested the murderers of Cpl. Dvir Sorek, who was killed in a terrorist attack last week. All of this represents an uptick in serious incidents that could have been far worse if not for the vigilance of Israel’s security forces. They also represent the need to always remain on high alert against attacks from the Palestinian terrorist factions in Gaza and the West Bank.

The two terrorists who murdered Sorek, one a Hamas activists, were nabbed over the weekend. This represented quick work by the security forces – including the IDF, Israel Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) – to track down those responsible, an achievement that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin praised on Saturday night. In recent years, Israel has become more and more proficient at not only thwarting attacks but locating perpetrators.

Hamas is working hard to establish terrorist cells in the West Bank, and security forces have foiled Hamas plans and arrested 130 operatives. Many of these Hamas operatives were arrested operating under direction from Gaza to carry out shooting and stabbing attacks or engage in kidnappings.

Such attacks in 2014 triggered that year’s major conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and it could happen again amid reports indicating that Iran is also trying to heat up the Gaza Strip border.

Another serious incident over the weekend took place along that border when four heavily armed Palestinians tried to infiltrate Israel carrying AK-47s, grenades and RPGs; they were killed by IDF forces. The details of which group they belonged to are still unclear, but Israel holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. In another incident, a Gazan opened fire into southern Israel and was also shot dead. The IDF says it spotted the armed terrorist approaching the security fence.

Israel’s responses show that in both the West Bank and on the Gaza border, vigilance has paid off, and that Israel is often able to stop attacks before they happen or neutralize threats quickly. However we still face threats and we will continue to lose the most precious of our citizens, like Cpl. Sorek, to the terrorists who every day seek out ways to harm Israelis.

As Jews and Muslims marked respective holidays on Sunday – Tisha Be’av and Eid al-Adha, tensions remained high and there were clashes on the Temple Mount between Muslim protesters and police.

Eid al-Adha and Tisha Be’av, falling this year on the same day, should be a time of unity and sharing of religious tradition. There is much Islam and Judaism have in common. Even in a time of tension and terrorism, it is essential to remember that the vast majority of people are peace lovers and want to quietly raise their families.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to hijack these holy days for the worst inclinations. Some of the local Palestinian religious authorities in Jerusalem sought to fan the flames of incitement during Eid, seeking to stop Jews from entering and praying on the Temple Mount, and spreading rumors about Jewish conspiracies. This is the type of incitement that typically occurs every time Jewish and Muslim holidays coincide. Fanatics use the excuse of every Jewish religious holiday to incite that “al-Aqsa is in danger.”

Due to the professional work of the Israel Police, the clashes that broke out Sunday after Palestinian worshipers began to riot did not spiral out of control. Nevertheless, there is always the danger that a spark could set off another round of violence. Similarly, there are those who will condemn us for defending our sovereign rights.

Our challenge and that of the government is to walk the thin line between the need for security and the need to not exacerbate tensions through too much of a crackdown. However, our enemies should be well aware that neither the upcoming elections nor international or regional pressure will deter Israel – from its leadership to it security forces – from keeping its citizens safe and protecting its borders.


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