Gaza threat will be significantly
greater a year from now
The head of the Operations Directorate of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) General Staff, Brigadier-General Sami Turjeman, and the head of the IDFs Military Intelligence Research Department, Brigadier-General Yossi Beidetz, have warned that the Palestinian Arab terrorist group Hamas is using the current ceasefire to strengthen its forces and that Israel will soon face increased dangers in Gaza, including anti-tank missiles.
Addressing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday, General Turjeman said, In another few months, in the Gaza Strip we will have to deal with military capabilities of the terror organizations that we havent been familiar with until now, especially in the realm of anti-tank missiles. Turjeman added that there has already been a significant improvement in the terror groups capabilities regarding sniping and launching anti-tank missiles. General Beidetz said that the threat from Gaza will be significantly greater a year from now because Hamas is using the ceasefire to strengthen its forces and is seeking to use this strategic lull to arm forces in Judea and Samaria as well (Haaretz, December 26).
This testimony adds gravity to a recent report that Israel has uncovered a squad consisting of Hamas operatives in the Judea region. Instructed by senior operatives from the Gaza Strip, the squad members were planning to abduct a Jewish civilian or a soldier in the Jerusalem area and use him as a bargaining chip in the negotiations for the release of Hamas detainees held in Israeli prisons (Terrorism Information Center, Center for Special Studies, December 20).
ZOA National Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, The stark testimony given by Generals Turjeman and Beidetz about the deterioration of Israels security as a result of developments in Gaza since Israel withdrew unilaterally from there last year is extremely alarming. As the ZOA has already warned, Prime Minister Olmerts agreeing to an immediate ceasefire earlier this month is only enabling the Palestinian terrorist groups to continue to rebuild and rearm themselves with a continuing flow of weapons smuggled into Gaza. As a result, Israelis are still being killed and harmed and the threat to Israel is growing. Only today, three Israelis were wounded, two of them critically, by one of the innumerable Qassem rockets that strike Israel virtually every day.
It is urgent that the Olmert government reverse its present policy of restraint in response to attacks and retake at least those areas of Gaza, like the Philadelphi Corridor along the Egypt-Gaza border, which Israel must control to prevent the further flow of weaponry to Palestinian Arab terrorists. Only more Israeli lives, both military and civilian, will be lost if the Olmert government fails to initiate a comprehensive military campaign aimed at destroying the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.