Over the past couple of weeks all forms of terror attacks against Israelis have been on the rise. In Judea and Samaria (West Bank) there has been a steady increase over around half a year in the numbers and severity of rock throwing at Israeli motorists. These attacks in the last couple of months have easily escalated to the point where virtually every attack has the potential to become fatal as was the attack against twenty-five-year-old Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan driving in their family van. The number of attempts at carjacking has also increased over the same period and the intended victims have escalated from almost exclusively women to people of either gender or age. Some of these attempted carjacking have now become a dual-phase attack where not only is the car a target, but also the person has become targeted for kidnapping. There was even recent rioting after a funeral where Jews were attacked and Jewish property damaged in Hevron. This brought back memories of the pogroms in Hevron in 1929 which were accompanied by similar mass attacks in Jerusalem.
There has opened a new front for attacks against Israel where the terrorists stage their assaults from out of the Sinai, Egypt. These attacks are mostly instigated by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda and other terror groups who have extended their operations from the Gaza Strip into the Sinai, in some cases with the assistance or under protection of Bedouins living in the Sinai. These attacks have covered the entire spread of attacks from rocket launches and mortar firings all the way to carefully coordinated and planned military style ambush attacks against motorists as well as the IDF stationed on the border. Egypt has claimed innocence and claims that such attacks are not possible as they have complete security and control in the Sinai. The numerous destructions of pumping stations and valve junctions in the natural gas lines prove not to be the case. The latest attack ambushed the teams building the border fence requiring Israel now provide IDF protection at each building site.
Along with these other escalations, one must include the recent increase in the number of indirect weapon fire out of the Gaza Strip at southern Israel. There was a recent rocket attack directed from the northern Gaza Strip at the beachfront area along the Mediterranean Sea near Ashkelon. The massive barrage in the past two days where over forty rockets have been fired into southern Israel forcing millions of Israeli to take refuge in bombproof shelters surrendering any semblance of normalcy forces one to seek a reason behind this escalation. This has all the appearances of a coordinated assault which implies that it is being conducted with some ulterior motivation. The fact that these attacks are being perpetrated by a number of various groups on multiple fronts leads one to look beyond the Palestinian Israeli conflict for the reason. The first places to seek an answer might be the countries which might benefit the most should the world’s attention be distracted by violence between Israel and the Palestinians, a diversion we have witnessed on a number of previous occasions. So, who might it be interested in instigating such violence?
Syria would likely be the immediate culprit which would come to mind, but we should probably not simply jump to the most obvious answer quite so fast. Sure, Bashir Assad would benefit greatly if the world’s attention were to be diverted to Syria’s neighboring country, Israel but it is highly unlikely that Syria has the ability to cause either those in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip to act on their behalf. Another suspect might be Egypt where currently there is the growing possibility for conflict between the two groups currently competing for power and control, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Military. This is a possibility but is not really likely as it would require both sides to cooperate in order to have both the West Bank and Gaza erupt at the same time. Were it just the West Bank, then one might suspect the Egyptian Military while were it just Gaza then one would suspect Hamas under the direction of their patriarch, the Muslim Brotherhood. This leaves only one last suspect, Iran.
Iran has been playing their old game of saying yes while their actions are contrary. Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently announced Iranian intent to possibly forgive enrichment of uranium to 20% if the Europeans would guarantee them a supply of 20% enriched uranium for their medical reactors and purposes. Then the Iranian negotiators with the P5+1 at their meeting just held in Moscow refused to budge on any of the terms demanded by the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany. The Iranians even refused to allow further negotiations until the P5+1 had changed their demands and offered to meet Iran with respect and reasonable offers. Add to this obvious motivation for Iran to create a diversion the fact that Iran is also deeply invested in keeping President Bashir Assad in power. That is made more difficult while the whole world is focused upon the civil war and the slaughtering of innocent people ongoing in Syria. So, Iran, which has had an alignment with Hamas previously and also has agents operating under Islamic Jihad as well as likely agents from the al-Quds Brigades from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) also leading terror cells in both Gaza and the West Bank as well as other close by in both Syria and Lebanon, it would be well within the Iranian’s abilities to instigate a new terror war against Israel, or at least an increase in terror to the point of forcing an Israeli response of greater strength than simply one or two air strikes. Should the increased levels of terror continue on all fronts against Israel one might need to look to Tehran for the instigating influence behind the violence. This could very easily lead to an even more hostile and dangerous situation between Iran and Israel when added to the nervousness in Israel over the Iranian nuclear program, especially now that talks appear to have once again hit another wall of Iranian refusals. Should we be correct in our suspicions for the increased terrorist events plaguing Israel and Iran remain adamant in opposing any compromises on their nuclear uranium enrichment program, could this be the final ramping that ends in actual open conflict? Perhaps such a conflict will prove inevitable and this may be the initial steps to the unavoidable war which so many have been spending so much effort vainly trying to avoid. Let us hope this is not the case but be prepared just in case.
Beyond the Cusp