Last Sunday’s well-orchestrated Hamas attack, which prompted what many here are calling a regional crisis, was originally slated to coincide with the start of the upcoming G8 Summit of world leaders, sources say. The Summit is widely expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli security officials say they have information Iran ordered Hamas to carry out the attack close to the opening of the July 15 Summit, calculating that a major Hamas assault on an Israeli military base and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers would draw Israel into an escalated state of conflict with the Palestinians, and that this would dominate world headlines and become a primary focus of the G8 meeting – distracting in part from the Summit’s Iran agenda.
But the Hamas operation was moved up to last week following an operation in which elite Israeli security forces operating under cover in the Rafah section of the Gaza Strip arrested two Hamas members last Saturday. The forces worked on intelligence information that the two were involved in orchestrating an imminent large-scale attack against an Israeli border target. Realizing that the Israeli arrests might jeopardize the entire Hamas operation, according to the security officials, Hamas and the other terror groups assembled and attacked the Kerem Shalom military station within 12 hours, killing two Israeli soldiers and kidnapping Gilad Shalit.
The Israeli interrogators working on the two arrested Hamas members were not able to garner enough information about the attack prior to Hamas’s successful operation against Kerem Shalom.
Meanwhile, with the G8 summit starting next Saturday, Israeli security officials say they have information Iran has ordered Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror groups to carry out still more attacks, including suicide bombings inside Israel.
Israel is on high alert along its northern border with Lebanon, where Hizbullah guerillas are stationed with more than 10,000 short and medium range missiles pointed at Israeli towns. There is fear that the primary Hizbullah backers, Syria and Iran, will attempt to escalate the conflict by drawing Israel into border clashes.
One of the major claims then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made to the Israeli public prior to implementing the country’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip 10 months ago was that if the Jewish state needed to re-enter the territory in response to Palestinian attacks, the international community would understand and would support any Israeli action.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made similar claims regarding his proposed withdrawal from Judea and Samaria – mountainous terrain having Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the country’s international airport within rocket-firing range. But with Israeli ground troops entering the Gaza Strip in response to last week’s Hamas attack, countries around the world have been urging restraint and are demanding an immediate Israeli retreat.
Mitchell Barak, managing director of Kidron Strategies, a Jerusalem-based political consulting firm, commented, “Israeli leaders have traditionally deluded voters into thinking that by giving land away it will give Israel more freedo of military action as far as support from the international community if the terrorists use land they gain to stage attacks. The events in Gaza the past few days couldn’t make it any more clear that this is not the case. It is absurd to further believe an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would also result in more backing for Israel from the world.”
A group of prominent rabbis is calling on President Bush to refuse political and financial support for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan to evacuate most of Judea and Samaria, pointing out that the withdrawal is against U.S. interests and that it violates basic tenets of Jewish law.
“U.S. interests are being impacted by Israel’s proposed retreat from terrorist strongholds in Judea and Samaria. In addition, as rabbis our obligation is to teach, guide, and lead our congregations to conduct their daily lives in accordance with Jewish Law. This holds especially true in a matter of life or death threatening the residents of Israel,” states a letter sent to Bush and signed by leaders of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a coalition of over 1200 rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis.
The rabbis contend in their letter that the proposed Israeli withdrawal violates Jewish law because an evacuation will lead to massive violence.
“There is a clear definitive ruling in the Jewish Code of Law ‘Orach Chaim’ Chapter 329 which rules that it is strictly forbidden to give up even one inch of a Jewish border town to foreigners because it will lead to bloodshed. How much more so regarding retreating from holy land that enemies bent on your destruction have already stated will be used to launch attacks against Jews,” the letter continues.
The rabbis wrote to Bush that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza last summer has already affected regional U.S. interests and that Olmert’s proposed Judea and Samaria evacuation will have “disastrous” consequences for the American-led war on terror.
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He is a co-host of ABC Radio’s nationally syndicated John Batchelor Show and can be heard regularly on other top American radio programs. Klein is editor of the upcoming Galil Report, an e-mail intelligence newsletter focused on news about Israel. Subscriptions are available at www.g2bulletin.com.