Fighting Fire with Fire

August 30, 2020

Does it work? Long experience would say, “NO”.

26 August

Israel Defense Forces   @IDF”Explosive balloons were launched from #Gaza into #Israel throughout the day, igniting fires on land across southern Israel. In response, our tanks just struck Hamas military posts in Gaza.”

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense intercepted an incoming Palestinian rocket Friday night. After a second rocket fell short inside Gaza, the IDF responded by attacking Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip.  The response the following day from Gaza was an announcement that there would be joint action by all of the terrorists groups in response to Israeli attacks.  (This after years of denial by Hamas that it was responsible for the constant attacks by other terrorist organizations.)  They also threatened immediate “response” to any Israeli retaliation and warned that the death of any of their leaders would be avenged by attacks on “specific targets’ in Israel.  This is, of course, does not acknowledge 17 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and 30 “balloon” ignited fires in Israel on Friday alone.  However, it must be said that even if Israel wanted to strike the leadership from the top, many have fled to very nice lives in Turkey, leaving the poor in Gaza to suffer whatever response Israel makes to the bombs and rockets incessantly aimed at Israel.

Severely complicating the issue, Turkey is now a prime factor to be considered in any retaliation Israel contemplates.  There is a strong Turkish encouragement for the unification of Hamas, Hizbollah, and other terrorist groups in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon/Syria in the effort to destroy the State of Israel. 

Official photo – Haniyeh and Erdogan

Multiple international news outlets and intelligence sources report  with official photos that Turkish President Recep Erdogan received Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul on Saturday, Aug. 22, this after a week in which 15 Palestinian rockets and hundreds of fire-bomb balloons were launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip. 

Turkey has reportedly allowed Hamas to establish a high-powered staff of 60 in Istanbul for planning and funding terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem using sleeper cells. Israeli intelligence has confirmed that Erdogan has even given citizenship to a dozen Istanbul-based top Hamas brass which includes Turkish passports. Now they will have freedom to travel and threaten Israelis in countries where Hamas itself cannot openly operate.  Worse, they are by in large convicted murderers who have served long sentences in Israeli prisons for terrorist attacks and the ensuing multiple murders of civilians. They were, against the advice of many Israelis, freed in order to gain the return of an Israel soldier, Gilad Shalit, in the 2011 prisoner swap. As a result of this and more, Israel now considers Turkey not far behind Iran in terms of enmity toward Israel.

Israeli and foreign news and intelligence sources report that following direct Israeli cautions about Hamas activities in Turkey, in a clearly in-your-face decision, Mr Erdogan met Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas in an internationally publicized official event.   It is also reported that Turkish intelligence agents maintain close contact with the group’s operatives in Istanbul.  To eliminate any doubt, Turkish President Erdogan asserted, “We will keep on supporting our brothers in Palestine.”

Turkey agreed in a US-brokered 2015 deal with Israel to stop Hamas planning attacks from its soil but has consistently failed to honor the agreement, Israeli officials said.  Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the EU and US. Its armed wing has been designated a terror group by the UK. In February Hamas  assigned a Palestinian to assassinate Jerusalem’s mayor, an Knesset member from PM Netanyahu’s party or Israel’s chief of police. The plot failed. In another case, a Hamas operative offered to pay $20,000 to the family of any would-be suicide bomber. However, a Turkish diplomatic source of course officially denied Hamas was planning these attacks from Turkey, adding that Hamas is “not a terrorist organisation” but a legitimate Palestinian political party.  However, there are transcripts of Israeli police interrogations with the would-be assassin and others that show senior Hamas operatives are using Turkey’s largest city to direct the operations in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

 Turkey has proved such a welcoming environment for Hamas that the group’s deputy leader, Saleh al-Arouri, who has a $5 million (£3.8 million) US government bounty on his head, travels freely to the country without fear of arrest. This week a relaxed Arouri posed for photographs with other Hamas leaders in Istanbul. “We reject all claims that Turkey is being used for anti-Israel activities,” a source said. Amid the increasingly dire humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, large numbers of Palestinians are leaving the Strip and traveling through Egypt to Turkey to start new lives. An estimated 35,000 left in 2018 and did not return.

So then, what is the solution?

Retaliation doesn’t work. Cutting off aid (except all humanitarian aid) doesn’t work.  The leaders aren’t there to suffer! and the money to pay poor Gazans to suffer and carry on with the primitive but effective attacks is provided by Turkey and others.  Limitation of fuel for electricity or other necessities only punishes the poor who are then an easier target for recruitment of suicide bombers and terrorists.  The power and wealth of the leadership must be, if not eliminated, then at least be diminished.  And here we enter the quagmire of political, both national and international, concerns.  Here we enter the world of  humanitarianism and the calculation of the human cost of any effective solution while trying to identify those who are willingly active in terrorist activities for monetary, emotional, political, spiritual or other reasons.

In spite of the casual – even official – use of the word “war” to describe modern armed conflict/warfare,  there have been no real definitive wars since WWII.  Most of the military conflicts that a normal person might term  ‘warfare’ have been designated ‘conflicts’, ‘actions’, etc.  And, worse,  even the few that were officially named “wars” (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan) there are no  clear losers, no clear winners.  No country or terrorist group has paid the ultimate price for carrying out an military/armed attack on another nation from within or without since Hitler’s Germany and the Axis powers.  North Korea?  Vietnam?  Lebanon?  Since there are no winners, no losers and only armistices with some artificial borders, they have become wars of attrition from without and from  from within. Frequently, there are no state armies involved, but organizations of resistance, terrorists, against a government’s security forces trying to stop the intermittent attacks.   

The few who pay the price are never the official network of powerful instigators and supporters. The perhaps well-intentioned humanitarian groups even thwart minimal efforts to stop the chaos.  Whole populations are fleeing, many with nowhere to go because the wealth and power of the UN and the EU, as well as non-governmental organizations do not permit  dethroning the murderous conquerors (or leaders) of their respective countries. And when some of these murderers cloak their militancy in a spiritual guise, their fanaticism often gains untold thousands of followers and destroys the lives of millions.

Perhaps there is a solution, but if so, no one is currently willing to even consider it by any known means unless or until it clearly becomes defense against national annihilation. The terrorists and extremists are willing to torture, maim, kill the innocents little by little, a ‘few’ at a time and even into the thousands by any means in order to win. Most in power today are unwilling to pay that price.   

And if a solution is found, who indeed has the ABILITY and the WILL to implement it?

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