August 30, 2006 - The Palestinians have learned a lesson from Lebanon - the wrong one.
Patterning themselves on the model of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Palestinians are now building underground bunkers and fortifying Gaza with anti-tank and surface-to-surface missiles.
The Palestinians have already been fighting a war of rockets against southern Israel, so this new development cannot be considered defensive. On the contrary, it raises the stakes in Gaza and ensures that if the Palestinians continue their aggression on Israel's southern border, the consequences will be far more costly to both sides. Natan Sharansky, a member of the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said this is the most frightening security report he has heard in 10 years.
Terrorist activity in Gaza has been increasing. Israeli soldiers discovered a large tunnel extending from its entrance inside a house in a residential area of Gaza to the Karni cargo crossing. Palestinian terrorists use tunnels like this one to launch attacks, and there have already been many attacks on Karni and other crossing points, forcing closures. These crossings are vital to the Palestinian economy, allowing goods and medical supplies to reach the people of Gaza and enabling Palestinian workers to cross into Israel. The intent of attacking the crossings is not only to kill Israelis but to disrupt Israeli efforts to help Palestinians who are not involved in terrorism. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Palestinian terrorists do not care if innocent people on their own side get hurt.
Israeli security also discovered that Palestinians have been digging some 20 new tunnels underneath the border between Gaza and Egypt. These tunnels are used to smuggle weapons.
Of course Haniyeh's Hamas government is doing nothing about any of this. Hamas still refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, and seems to want to become the Sunni version of Hezbollah. It is using Israel's withdrawal from Gaza not to move the peace process forward but to attack Israel more effectively. People familiar with what is really happening can no longer believe the big lie that the Palestinians are only "resisting an occupation." Israel has not been giving the Palestinians "land for peace." It has been giving them land for building a war machine that would eventually destroy the entire country.
How much more do the Palestinians need to do to convince the world they are not interested in peaceful coexistence with Israel?
The danger signs can no longer be ignored. Preparations for aggression are intensifying, in Lebanon, in Gaza, and in Iran. Missile technology is steadily improving. A strong momentum is building towards another major explosion in the region. When that explosion occurs - and right now nothing is being done to stop it - the consequences will be far more catastrophic than those of this last brief war.
While all this is going on, Kofi Annan is already undermining his own Security Council's Resolution 1701, relaxing its safeguards against resupply of arms to Hezbollah. Then when Israel tries to stop this resupply, Annan criticizes Israel for violating the cease-fire. And then Annan says we should all work together for peace so that we "not risk another explosion in six years or 20 years." Annan may not have to worry about what will happen in six or 20 years. He seems to be doing everything in his power to make sure the explosion will come much sooner.
Meanwhile the Hezbollah scenario threatens to repeat in Gaza, as the Palestinians prepare to modernize their missile war. What will the U.N. do to stop it? Pass more anti-Israel resolutions?
Associated Press. "Annan Calls on Hezbollah to Release Israeli Soldiers." FoxNews.com, August 29, 2006.
Dan, Uri. "Hamas Has Hezbolized Gaza Strip." New York Post, August 30, 2006.
Katz, Yaakov. "IDF forces kill 8 Palestinians in Gaza." Jerusalem Post, August 29, 2006.
Peace with Realism