By Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom—
The Israeli public isn’t aware of even a fraction of the ongoing counterterror activity in Judea and Samaria. Unless it entails something particularly dramatic, the media isn’t interested in it, and there is no drama unless people are wounded or killed in terrorist attacks. This is the essence of the Israeli security paradox: the people take successes for granted, and act as if failures are the end of the world.
But both are part of the Sisyphean work that goes on every day – every night, mostly – on every front, especially in the West Bank. After Operation Guardian of the Walls, it was termed “cutting the grass”: continuous actions whose purpose is to “mow down” terrorist operatives to ensure that they won’t carry out attacks. This method, whose two main elements are superior intelligence and full freedom to operate, have proved themselves since May. It is also the reason why the level of terrorist attacks has remained very low in recent years and Israelis live in much greater security than they did in the past.
But these counterterror successes aren’t a guarantee of safety. The other side, mainly Hamas, is constantly working to execute terrorist attacks. Our past experience has taught us that this activity is propelled by three main areas of command and funding: the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip; the Hamas international command, which is based alternately in Turkey and in Lebanon; and the terrorist inmates of Israel’s prisons. These three points are in close contact, and also very similar. Hamas in Gaza is led by Yahya Sinwar, who was released by Israel in the trade for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, as was Salah al-Arouri, who heads the organization’s international command. Sinwar and Arouri have an identical goal – to free their friends who are still in prison.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that the plans exposed in Judea and Samaria included the abduction of Israelis to use as bargaining chips. The plot was a fairly extensive one that also entailed a series of increasingly damaging terrorist attacks that would shock Israel. The size of the organizational effort allowed it to make big plans, but also turned out to be its Achilles heel – the more people are in on a secret, the greater the chance of it being discovered. Continue Reading….