Israel Prepares for Jihadis
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As thousands of radical jihadis have moved from abroad into Syria and the Sinai Peninsula, and joined radicalized local fighters to create the largest pro-al-Qaeda presence in the region, Israel is perfecting its ability to neutralize targets as quickly as possible.
As al-Qaeda-affiliated radical forces pour into areas bordering Israel's north and south, the Israeli defense establishment is adjusting itself to prepare for a new, post "Arab spring" reality.
According to Israeli security assessments, thousands of radical jihadis have moved into Syria from abroad, and joined radicalized local fighters to create the largest pro-al-Qaeda presence in the region.
The concern now is that Syria will act a springboard for jihad [holy war in the service of Islam] and that terrorists will move from Syria to nearby states -- Lebanon, Jordan, and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt -- to create zones of extremism and violence.
This trend has already begun to take shape in Syria's neighbor, Iraq, where, since the spring months, thousands of people have been murdered in bombings and shootings in resurgent al-Qaeda attacks, mainly on Shi'ite targets.
The newly empowered Iraqi al-Qaeda elements are tied to Syria's largest al-Qaeda-affiliated group, the Al Nusra Front.
If or when the regime of Bashar Assad crumbles and these rebels seize Damascus, Israel and the US would immediately have to answer the question of how to secure Syria's enormous chemical weapons arsenal. Allowing those and other weapons to fall into radical hands is unthinkable.
IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz observes an exercise in the Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, in November 2011. (Source:IDF)
Meanwhile, to Israel's south, thousands of jihadi fighters have turned the Sinai Peninsula into a terrorist base. The Egyptian military, although occupied with efforts to stabilize Cairo, Alexandria, and other cities, has internalized the scope of the new threat in Sinai, and is busy preparing a large counter-terrorism offensive to rein in the radicals. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Egypt will likely launch the operation in the near future, and that it will proceed for a long period of time.
Despite increased Egyptian counter-terrorism efforts, senior Israel Defense Force [IDF] officials have stated that they expect the terrorists in Sinai sooner or later to attack Israel again.
These attacks could take two forms. First, they could fire rockets at Israeli population centers, such as the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, which relies heavily on tourism, and is located a stone's throw from the Sinai Peninsula.
Eilat has been already been targeted several times in recent years by Sinai terrorists firing rockets; the IDF recently mobilized an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery near the city to protect it from future rocket threats.
The second type of threat involves a ground raid by cells of terrorists armed with bombs, shoulder-held rockets, and automatic weapons, and with a view to penetrating the Israeli frontier and striking either a high-value target or a civilian population center inside the country.
Due to the increase in regional jihadi activity, as time goes by the chance of such incidents increases.
The IDF, not resting on its laurels, has put into action a large-scale plan to prepare Israel's northern and southern borders for the new threats they face.
On both borders, fences with sophisticated electronic sensors have been erected. Infantry brigades are being mobilized for border patrols in growing numbers. And commanders have increased the number of Artillery Corps and Armored Corps units.
As a direct response to the rising threat, the IDF held its largest Paratroopers Brigade exercise this week, in which, to practice mobilizing large forces behind enemy lines at a moment's notice, a thousand soldiers parachuted at night from Hercules transport planes to the ground. After landing, the paratroopers practiced how to form quickly into battalions, link up at staging grounds and launch assaults on enemy targets.
A senior IDF source said the exercise was taking place because "the enemies around us are gathering near our borders." He described the ability to parachute a thousand paratroopers behind enemy lines as a "huge advantage."
Col. Eliezer Toledano, Commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, said, "Many eyes are watching us in this drill: The eyes of the Israeli people, who must know that when Israel decides to, it can send 1,000 combat soldiers deep into enemy territory at a moment's notice; the eyes of IDF senior command, who knows it needs only mark the spot, and we'll already be there; and the eyes of our enemies, who will know that any moment, more than 1,000 paratroopers keen for battle will spit fire behind their lines."
Additionally, the IDF is working hard on gaining improved intelligence pictures of what is occurring beyond the northern and borders – an effort that includes the setting up of new field surveillance unit.
Throughout, the IDF is perfecting its ability to identify and neutralize targets as quickly as possible, by employing accurate firepower from a range of platforms.
In a region which is facing its most uncertain phase in decades, Israel is taking every possible step to ensure it is ready for anything.
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|The enemies are also within Israel's borders, they're just in hudna. [125 words]||Kate Brennan||Jul 27, 2013 17:15|
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz