Despite the sabre rattling of Fatah who, in their unmitigated hubris, has declared that all of Jerusalem must be returned before they will sit down for negotiations, things have been relatively quiet from a military standpoint in Israel. But there are movements and signs that this may not be the status quo for very long.
Hamas launched a kassam rocket into southern Israel, the first in three weeks, and two shells were fired at the Erez Crossing by Hamas as an ambulance was delivering an Arab heart patient to the Israel where they will receive treatment. In spite of Leftist propaganda that Israel has turned Hamas into a ghetto, Arab patients are regularly brought to Israel for treatment in Israeli hospitals, or for treatment overseas.
An Arab teenager was stopped at a checkpoint near Shechem today and was found to be carrying an "improved explosive device." The bomb was safely detonated, and the teen was detained for questioning. This on the heals of Abu in a Suit Abbas saying the Arabs would be sacrificing themselves to take Jerusalem away from the Jews.
Hamas leaders led by Mahmoud a-Zahar, passed into Egypt through the Rafah crossing, escorted by Egyptian intelligence officers to Cairo for "urgent meetings on an undisclosed subject." It is suspected that they will go to Damascus next to meet with head Hamas murderer Khaled Mashaal. There was a time when such a journey would have meant some horrible accident would have taken place, like an exploding gas tank, a meteor falling on them, or was that a guided missile? I wonder if these guys will make it safely to their destinations or accidentally fall off a cliff?
On Friday, Bibi met with the six ministers of his security cabinet, which hosted a "unusual variety of security officials." According to DEBKAfile these included, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi, military intelligence chief Brig. Amos Yadlin, Mossad director Meir Dagan, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, OC Southern Command Brig. Yoav Galant and several more senior officers.
It was later reported today via Arab sources that a prisoner exchange deal is in the process of being finalized, and that Gilad Shalit will be released by the end of September. The Prime Minister's Office is not responding to this report, and the word out of Cairo is that the meeting was about Hamas/Fatah unity talks, and would not confirm or deny the reports about the Shalit deal. I suspect that a Shalit deal was discussed. Let us hope Israel receives him alive.
If the Hamas leaders to end up in Damascus, unity talks would be the likely subject, not a Shalit deal. And I would imagine that the goings on at the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon might also come up.
SO, LET'S TALK LEBANON....
According to Egyptian security, a Hezbollah plot to assassinate the Israeli ambassador Shalom Cohen was uncovered. Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, bluntly stated that if any harm came to any Israeli Hezbollah would "suffer the consequences," and alluded to the fact that the response would not be an unfinished job, like the Ehud Olmert Lebanon Show of 2006, or Operation Unfinished Job in Gaza this past winter.
Hezbollah released statements that if Israel attacked Lebanon their response would make 2006 look like a walk in the park. Intelligence reports state that under the watchful eye of the UNIFIL, Hezbollah has stockpiled 40,000 rockets, some with a range long enough to hit Tel-Aviv.
The border with Lebanon has been an increasingly stressful place over the past few weeks. DEBKAfile reports that the IDF, the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah, and UNIFIL are marking the "blue line" between Lebanon and Israel. This will mean dealing with the Ghajar village and Shabba Farms, which means Israel could lose control of the headwaters of Lake Kineret; the Baniyas, Wazani, and Hatzbani. Considering the river system that flows through southern Lebanon, these water courses are not necessary to the survival of the Lebanese people. It is life or death for Israel however. Expect tensions to mount as the project nears Shabba Farms.
Ghajar Village is another interesting case. The current blue line runs through the middle of the village dividing the northern and southern halves. Israel has conferred passports, citizenship rights and benefits to all the inhabitants of Ghajar, who are now petitioning the Israeli High Court to stop the border demarcation and prevent the possible handing over of the village to Lebanon.
All of this was being done on the down low so as to not arouse the death masters of Damascus and Tehran, but the Iranians have found out, and at the end of July called on Arab volunteers to defend the Lebanese border. Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki stated:
"I propose that the Arab states that did not take the necessary steps during the past aggression on Lebanon to make their volunteers fully available for Lebanon."This message was addressed to Hizballah and most of all Syria.
It remains to be seen what will be the result of all this. Though it appears that Hezbollah is cooperating with the blue line project (it should be noted that all parties asked Hezbollah for permission to do all this, a recognition of their control of southern Lebanon), Iran ultimately pulls their strings. The approach of Shabba Farms will undoubtedly involve Syria and their desire to have the Golan Heights returned. Tensions will be riding high, and hostilities are a distinct possibility. In the end, beyond Arab hatred for the Jewish state, the root of the trouble up there is all about water.
Syria, and by extension Iraq, are facing dwindling water supplies due to damming of the Euphrates River by Turkey (Syria has dams on the river as well). Severe drought is also plaguing Syria. Rivers and wells are also drying up due to an amazing amount of illegal well drilling, and dreadful water use practices. Ironically, Syria's sworn enemy developed drip irrigation methods more than 20 years ago which has allowed Israel to make better use of its water resources, though Israel too is troubled by the water crisis, with Kineret's level gradually dropping.
When I think of the water shortage and farms drying up in Syria I can't help but think of what it says in the Tannach, including the Torah reading for this past Shabbat. Karma is a bitch. It also tells me that there is no way Israel is going to allow control over those headwaters to be put back into Syrian hands, or Lebanese/Hezbollah hands.
Is Hamas going to Damascus to discuss a coordinated action with Hezbollah with Shabba Farms being used as the pretext? It's quite possible. I would consider it likely. And with Fatah already demonstrating that it means to begin renewing terror attacks in Jerusalem, along with increasing tensions in eastern Jerusalem over the legal eviction of Arab squatters from Jewish owned properties, fueled by the Marack administration, a bubbling mess is just under the surface. It will be up to the regional players to keep cool heads as only a fool thinks the United States is going to step in to smooth things out. The United States has been creating this tension since January. The White House wants violence. It needs a pretext to attempt to forcibly impose its death plan on Israel (as was advocated by NSC member Samantha Power), because they still think they can do that.
If violence breaks out over this, the Israeli response in southern Lebanon must be devastating, meaning Hezbollah is destroyed completely with no hope of being revived. The same must be true for Hamas if they engage a two front campaign with Israel.
The only solution at this point is for Israel, if hostilities are engaged, to defeat her enemies. No ceasefires, no negotiated settlements; the destruction of Hezbollah and Hamas must be absolute (which ultimately means crippling Iran). And Fatah can be given no quarter in Judea and Samaria, which means a strong defensive presence in Yesha, increased construction in Jewish communities, and ultimately the dismantling and deportation of Fatah members to Jordan, and the eradication of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
If Netanyahu is serious about Israel's survival, and these enemies of Israel mobilize, the response must be unequivocal.
The battle lines are already being drawn with Fatah after their Jerusalem demand. A senior Fatah delegate has declared that every Israeli is a legitimate military target. And Arutz 7 reports:
New polls indicate that Israelis overwhelmingly support construction in eastern Jerusalem 66% to 27%. The vast majority of Israelis also still consider to be pro-Palestinian, and against Israel. For his part, Israel National News reports the following from the weekly cabinet meeting:
The stage is set for something. In the end it's out of everyone's hands. The results will come down to faith and resolve. Some get theirs from poll numbers, some from above.
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of the people Israel; Bless the State of Israel,
with its promise of redemption. Shield it with Your love; spread over it the shelter of Your
peace. Guide its leaders and advisors with Your light and Your truth. Help them with Your
good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our Holy Land. Deliver them; crown
their efforts with triumph. Bless the land with peace, and its inhabitants with lasting joy. And
let us say: Amen.