Hamas has become Hezbollah. The Islamist terrorist group has learned well from its Iranian proxy benefactor, a fact Israel’s military leadership must adapt to quickly if they are to win this war.
For war it is.
At 9:30 am Friday, less than two hours after the start of a 72 hour humanitarian truce agreed to by both sides – arranged by the United Nations and the United States – Hamas violated the cease fire.
That is not news, because Hamas has violated every cease fire since the war began.
But this time, Hamas terrorists opened fire on IDF troops in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah and then succeeded in kidnapping one of the soldiers during the attack.
It was a classic Hezbollah move, similar to that carried out by the Lebanese terrorist group in the cross-border raid that launched the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Two IDF reservists, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were abducted and murdered in that attack, but it took two more years to learn about their deaths.
Two years, a German negotiator, a prisoner swap, thousands of hours of agony and talks and a nation torn apart. During that entire time, no one knew the status or condition of either one until the day their bodies crossed the border back into Israel, in two metal coffins.
The price was the release of one of the most savage terrorist child-killers Israel had ever imprisoned, Samir Kuntar, in addition to four other live terrorists and the remains of 199 dead Lebanese and Palestinian Arab terrorists.
A third IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, had also been abducted — by Hamas — and spirited away to Gaza just a few days earlier. But that terror group eventually made it known that he was alive, at least. For Shalit, the price was even higher; more than 1,000 Palestinian Arab terrorists, including hundreds with ‘blood on their hands,’ were freed in exchange for his return to his family.
Hamas has learned a lot from Hezbollah since 2006. The Lebanese terror group has served as the conduit for generous patronage from Iran in the form of funding, equipment, weapons and special training.
From Hezbollah, Hamas learned how to create its underground bunkers and terror tunnel network, which now honeycombs the entire Gaza region. It’s a little bit like the New York subway system, except that it benefits only terrorists.
Mostly, it facilitates various forms of attacks on Israel, especially abductions of soldiers.
U.N. special envoy Robert Serry told reporters early Friday afternoon in a statement that two IDF soldiers and a number of Palestinian Arabs were killed during the attack by Hamas, which he referred to as a “serious incident.”
Serry added in his briefing, “The United Nations is not in a position to independently confirm these reports,” but added that if true, “this would constitute a serious violation of the humanitarian cease fire in place … by Gazan militant factions, which should be condemned in the strongest terms.”