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Mordechai Kedar: Terror on the Border – Who is the True Victim?

Aftermath of the Sinai terror attack

Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90

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Thanks to the One Who dwells on High, Israeli Intelligence, Shabak (Israel’s General Security Service) and the IDF, Israel was able to foil a massive attack last Sunday, when it attacked and destroyed a terrorist cell that had infiltrated from Sinai by way of the Kerem Shalom Crossing in an Egyptian personnel carrier, intending to enter an Israeli settlement and sow within it indescribable death and destruction. In the process of the attack, the terrorists killed 18 Egyptian security people who were manning the crossing. Since then all of the analysts of the event speak of Sinai as an area without law and order, where the Bedouin do whatever they please, where jihadists have found shelter and a base for their terrorist activity; and the terrorists of Gaza are involved in everything that goes on. Much has also been said of the intention of the terrorists to drive a wedge between Egypt and Israel by causing Israel to blame its neighbor for the responsibility for the attack, since it originated from within its sovereign territory. And if a few Egyptian soldiers were killed, this is not a bad thing at all in the eyes of the jihadists, because these soldiers cooperate with an infidel regime that does not implement the Islamic Shari’a as the law of the land.

However, the circumstances that were created after the murder of the Egyptian soldiers and the failure of the terror act against Israel proves the truth of the saying: “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” We can only imagine how great would be the cries of joy in Gaza if 18 Israeli soldiers had been killed, heaven forbid, instead of Egyptians. Unfortunately for the people of Gaza, all of the fatalities resulting from the attack were Egyptians.

Here we will turn for a moment to one of the main components of the culture of Middle Eastern discourse: the conspiracy theory. Five days before the attack, the staff of the Bureau of the Counter-terrorism branch of the Prime minister’s office issued a severe and immediate travel warning, which called on all Israelis in Sinai to return immediately to Israel because of concrete intelligence regarding an imminent attack. This announcement – according to more than a few Arab spokesmen – proves that Israel had prior information about the action; information that focused on the Kerem Shalom Crossing, before its execution. From this, many Arabs concluded that it was Israel who organized the act, saying the fact that it knew about the act proves that it was partly responsible for it. The fact that no Israeli was injured is considered additional proof of Israeli involvement and the intention of the “Zionist Entity” to place responsibility on Hamas operatives in order to justify attacking them in the future and harm the improving relations between Hamas and the new Egyptian regime.

Despite the fact that many Arabs wish to believe this conspiracy theory, many of them know that it is not so, and this is the source of the great tragedy that has befallen Gaza, because there are many who accuse Hamas of creating the background for the attack, even if the organization was not directly involved in it. The Hamas movement has already used Egyptian territory to harm Israel, and spokesmen of the Palestinian Authority, principally Dr. Jamal Nasal and Muhammad Dahlan have this week clearly cast Hamas as the party responsible for the attack and have called on Hamas to cut the ties of money, training and guidance that bind it to the jihadists in Sinai. They claim that Hamas has been developing the terror infrastructure in Sinai for years, and now the Egyptians are reaping the stinking fruit of the activities of Hamas.

And herein lies the tragedy, because the people of Gaza know well that the Egyptian army knows well what the spokesmen of the Palestinian Authority say, and is already preparing a dual response: one part is vigorous action against the terror nests in the North of Sinai and perhaps in other areas of the peninsula as well, and the other part is to take revenge against Hamas and Gaza. There are reports that some of the members of the terror squad that carried out the attack on Sunday were members of the organization called “Jaish al-Islam”, the armed militia of the Dua’mish tribe, which lives in the fortified compound in the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza. Another organization that was apparently involved in the attack is “al-Tawhid wa’al-jihad” which is present in Gaza as well as in Sinai. The people of Gaza are consumed by the sense that Gaza will be the victim of the failed terrorist action and they express this concern.

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About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.


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