Beyond the Cusp

August 3, 2014

Captured Hamas Plans for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah comes on the eve of September 24, for which Hamas had planned a heinous terror assault to welcome in the Jewish New Year. The start of the current conflagration has hopefully brought any possibility of this grand terrorist strike collapsing down as are the tunnels which it planned to utilize. Along with the plans for the Rosh Hashanah assault the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers also found scores of exact replicas of IDF fatigue uniforms, handcuffs, tranquilizers, syringes, maps and other provisions which filled in any gaps of the discovered plans. This assault was planned to begin in the Jewish towns and cities closest to Gaza and to spread from there to as far as possible across Israel with attacks similar in nature to the assault on Mumbai, India. There seemed to be two separate goals set out for this invasion; first to take as many live hostages as possible, and second to murder even more numbers with some units continuing killing until killed moving towards the major population centers around Tel Aviv. The forces heading furthest into Israel were likely to be wearing the IDF uniforms making them more difficult to differentiate from actual IDF soldiers thus facilitating their ability to spread carnage at one location and then move on to another location unmolested as they were perceived to be actual IDF forces seeking the terrorists.

Where there have been no actual releases of the exact plans other than the basic discoveries, it is not difficult to discern their likely battle plans. The first items which stand out are obviously the handcuffs, syringes and tranquilizers. These would be used to take hostages after removing their abilities to resist through cuffing and tranquilizing. They would be seeking women and children as they would be least able to resist being subdued and these abductions would come after the initial slaughtering of people at their intended target place. My guess is that the maps indicated the locations of the Synagogues in all of the targeted communities as this is where many Jews would be congregated on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. They would initially assault the main chapel where services would be conducted. The initial entry would be by assault groups of terrorists who would indiscriminately shoot anybody they saw and only after slaughtering the majority and removing any potential resistance or threat would they then select from the survivors those they would take as hostages. Any potential hostage which offered effective resistance would be shot dead on the spot. These assault teams would likely have been briefed and shown pictures of their intended targets, as these teams would be given a series of locations to assault in some pre-thought-out order such that detection of the attack could be minimized for as long a period as possible. Detection would be their greatest threat as that would initiate a response which would also sound alarms placing people on guard and expecting attacks.

These initial assaults were to be spread over a wide region so as to maximize the initial shock and cause as much confusion as possible. This was the intended use for the extensive tunnel complex which covered and provided access to many of the neighborhoods on the Gaza border. Select tunnels were dug into the middle of some of the smaller communities and farms while others were dug to provide access deep into southern Israel to place terrorist forces well on their way to Ashdod, Ashkelon, and even Beer Sheva. Special units who would be wearing IDF uniforms would be tasked to procure transportation, both civilian vehicles and IDF vehicles such as Humvees and other transports. These would be utilized to extend the reach and range in which the terrorists could attack and spread destruction. This was to be the ultimate assault in which they expected to slaughter Israelis by the thousands and capture hostages in the hundreds and throw all of Israeli society and government into a state of unrecoverable shock spreading panic as far and wide as possible. How far into Israel Hamas terrorists might be capable of reaching is anybody’s guess. There has been limited commentary or at least limited release of information on the estimates for how far these attacks might have been capable of reaching. It is guaranteed that having hundreds of terrorists in IDF uniforms and possibly utilizing IDF vehicles that they would be difficult to differentiate from authentic IDF troops responding to call-ups which would certainly have gone out once the initial assaults were perceived. Much of the confusion and difficulties would be very similar to the onset of the Yom Kippur War as it being the start of Rosh Hashanah, many IDF soldiers and almost all reservists would not be on duty with the majority in Synagogue. The hope is that the plans put in place after that debacle would be sufficient to allow a general call-up of sufficient IDF units which could readily respond to the threat.

This would have been a disastrous situation had Hamas been able to execute such a plan. These assault plans were an important and crucial addition which made the sophistication and extensive and wide reach of the Hamas tunnel system that much more of a threat. The fact that the IDF and Israeli intelligence gathering departments were caught completely flatfooted and without any true perception to the extent of the Hamas tunnel systems is greatly disturbing and is something which must be remedied if the IDF and government is to be capable of protecting the civilian population. The really disturbing truth is that had Hamas not started lobbing rockets throughout the Israeli countryside aimed at the most populous areas in the nation and forced the current conflict, this unprecedented assault scenario might have come to fruition and realized its worst of all possible ends against Israel. Hamas planned to send literally thousands, or possibly over ten thousand, terrorist units through the tunnel complex having them disembark from their underground lairs over as wide an area as permitted with each group emerging from different positions along the length of each tunnel passage. This would have permitted the terrorists to have immediate blanket coverage and control over the entire areas within three to five miles, depending on which tunnel complex, of the region bordering Gaza. These infiltrators would have emerged beyond the watchtowers making their detection more difficult. Add the attack being planned for dusk or early nightfall and the cover of darkness would simply add to their avoiding detection, increasing their stealth and extending their range for having the advantage of surprise on assaulting their selected targets. The main advantage Israel has gained by Hamas misplaying their hand has been the uncovering of this threat and removing their ability to even attempt such an attack and likely saved countless Israeli lives and possibly the existence of the nation itself.

That having been said, the latest of events with the abduction of Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, the conflict had taken on a completely different direction. There is but one goal for the IDF until Lieutenant Hadar Goldin has been rescued or released, and that is finding or affecting his release. The return of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who has become to be every Israelis’ son, is uppermost in the hearts and minds of an entire nation. Our hearts are as one with the family of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and our prayers are with the family of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin as well. Even the suggestion of any ceasefire, humanitarian or otherwise, is beyond possibility if Lieutenant Hadar Goldin is still being held by Hamas. There will be those who will in their ignorance compare Lieutenant Hadar Goldin with a prisoner of war. He is no such thing as Hamas does not intend to release him at any time in the future as they believe in their Charter and the calls it makes for them to murder every Jew in every nation. Hamas sees Lieutenant Hadar Goldin as a commodity they can trade for thousands of their terrorists in Israeli prisons for their murderous acts of terror. He is not even considered to be a human being as could be proven by the condition of Gilad Shalit after five years of being malnourished and denied the light of day. Gilad Shalit was returned gaunt and pale to the point of illness and weakness that displayed his mistreatment during his detention where he was treated as a captive animal, not as a human being. Lieutenant Hadar Goldin now faces a similar fate and as such that cannot be accepted and there can be no truce or cessation to IDF efforts to force his release or rescue him from Hamas or Islamic Jihad captivity. Should Secretary Kerry return waving a piece of paper declaring peace in our time and not have Lieutenant Hadar Goldin at his side, that must be refused and his return made priority one. There should be no mistake that Israel realizes fully the perfidy of Hamas and their intentions including their intentions for Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and those intentions are unacceptable. Hamas must be made aware that there will be no exit by the IDF and no end to their turning Gaza upside down and inside out until they locate and gain the freedom of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. Should Hamas desire a cessation to the current conflict, such would be readily within their powers to facilitate and that starts with the release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. I do not know how many more ways the point can be made and if Prime Minister Netanyahu cannot grasp this simple concept, then he does not wish to continue as our leader. Mr. Prime Minister, a leader sometimes must satisfy the singular desire of the people as the price of leadership and anything less is an abdication of your responsibilities as our leader. Understand that the Israeli people hold you as responsible for gaining the release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and will hold you equally responsible as we hold Hamas, should you permit an end to our forces efforts in Gaza prior to his release. And should Hamas et al claim they believe him deceased, then demand they produce his remains in order his family be permitted his proper and respectful burial and the people to attend and witness his burial and attain closure. The release of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin or his remains is a truth that the people of Israel hold amongst the highest priorities and one the government is not just obliged to perform but required as proof they represent the Israeli people as to fail will be sufficient to prove the need for elections to find a governance which responds to the wills of the people and not folding before the worldly forces from without. It is as simple as the question of who do you serve, the people of Israel or the demands of foreign masters. You actions will be our answer.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 29, 2014

Of What Restraint Doth the UN Human Rights Office Call?

 

This past Friday Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Office stated, “Clearly these boys need to be found, that’s totally understandable, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing. We reiterate our call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and join others in their call for restraint.” Referencing the mother of one of the abducted teens and her witness before the United Nations in Geneva Mr. Colville commented to reporters, “As a mother herself, she expressed her understanding of their deep anxiety about the fate of their sons. We are concerned that the three teenagers have still not been located, after being missing for 15 days. We hope for their immediate safe return. Our heartfelt sympathy also goes out to the mothers and loved ones of the six Palestinians, including two teenagers, who have been killed by Israeli forces, in addition to the many others who have been injured, during these past two weeks.” Returning again to his criticisms of the search tactics and expressing his alarm at the loss of life and reputed violence he continued commenting, “We call for prompt and thorough investigations, and prosecution of the perpetrators in cases where there has been excessive use of force. We are also concerned about reports of damage to property and theft during these operations, especially house-to-house searches, and their traumatic effect on children and families.” Mr. Colville’s contemptuous commentary was the third denunciation out of the United Nations calling out Israel for their actions operation in Judea and Samaria which begs a few questions.

 

Exactly how much effort and to what extents should one be limited to in searching for three abducted teen age boys taken as they were returning home from a long day of studies at their schools, their Yeshivas? What is the hope to find these youths alive from amongst a population whose government had deplored for them to obstruct the Israeli efforts in any possible manner? Should the finding of hidden storage areas filled with bombs and improvised explosive devices as well as arms and ammunitions in large quantities have any relevance in the search parameters? Does the United Nations have any words for the Palestinians who rioted in order to prevent searches from proceeding and who threw and slung stones and flung firebombs at the IDF troops with intent to cause as much harm and impede the searching for the kidnapped teens? Why is it that I doubt the United Nations has any real concern for the well-being and safety of these Jewish youths violently torn from their lives and families with malice aforethought? The only gladness I can feel is that the United Nations did not express the same warnings and attempt to pose any limitations on the efforts to rescue the young girls stolen from their families by Boko Haram in Nigeria. On the other side I have heard no denunciations of the subsequent and seemingly continuous abductions of youths in Nigeria. Obviously, the United Nations is slowly proving that it no longer has the moral authority of the nations as their mission but instead they have relented to echoing the seething hatreds reflecting their increase throughout our unfortunate planet. The United Nations has unfortunately chosen to showcase the ugly hatreds which are growing ever more prevalent throughout the seven continents (the current count appears to have grown from the old and traditional five to seven and probably with more to come as our world further fragments) with an ever growing swiftness shrugging off the lethargy the horrors of World War II had inflicted on the hatreds of old.

 

There is a little piece of news I would like to share with the United Nations and those who believe that Israel is the source of all evil and takes joy from their imposing inconvenience as they search with hope beyond hope that the three teens, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha’ar, remain alive and well without having suffered the deprivations and any possible tortures which have befallen previous youths so abducted; there is no joy and those in the IDF will show all the respect and more to any acceptance and cooperation they receive and try and minimize any discomforts despite that which they are most certainly having thrown upon them as they are professional and their leadership accepts nothing less. Do not take my words for this assessment, search and read the opinion of former British commander Colonel Richard Kemp who spoke commending the Israeli Defense Force as most professional in handling suicide attacks stating before the Goldstone committee, “During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” This is the military the United Nations simply believes on face value any degradation and derogatory claim levied against them. The United Nations false recriminations are something which had become perfunctory for their many agencies with a special mention for the Human Rights Council which begins every session with a discussion of what denunciation they will pass against Israel as the bylaws make this a requirement. Then there is the series of anti-Israel hate-fests which are disguised as honorable debate on racism and xenophobia under the title of the Durban Conference. There is one thing which can be said for the United Nations, they are consistent if nothing else. One might wonder what would happen if the honorable representatives from the United Nations were to actually pursue peace and positive relations between nations without bias or preconceived and judged situations by how they could possibly assist to enforce justice and calm the chop and tidal waves of injustices and enforce the rule of law with blindness and a degree of equality without prejudice. Perhaps I ask too much of the single world body established as a place where nations could discuss and settle differences in an atmosphere of mutual respect and free of the animosities and prejudices which plague the society outside of its halls. Instead the United Nations has become an amplifier of the hatreds and animosities it was presumably formed to relegate to the ashbin of history. Perhaps expecting such from anything made by mankind and the nations they populate is beyond reasonable expectations. Still, ask yourself how much effort and how far would you go to gain the return of your own child unharmed should they, G0d forbid, be abducted. What would you leave unturned and what doors would remain locked? None, right?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 15, 2014

Kidnapped Israeli Teens Still Missing

As of the writing of this article the three young teens are still missing and presumed abducted. We finally know the names allowing us to humanize these latest young and innocent victims of terrorism. They are Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach; one of which has citizenship in the United States. Two of the students are enrolled with the Makor Chaim Yeshiva while the third is enrolled at the Shavey Hevron Yeshiva. This was a case where the IDF and Shin Bet were unable to decipher and gather together the million bits of data, surveillance and other intelligence information in order to prevent this tragic crime which has an entire nation in shock but still mobilized with millions gathering together in prayer in every corner and across the small width and entire length hoping that their actions can reach the heavens and move the earth and bring back these sons. According to an IDF Spokesperson said that since 2013, over sixty-four kidnapping attempts have been prevented by Israeli forces, but, as has been said repeatedly in our age, we only have to fail once and the terrorists win once and all out past successes become meaningless and all that matters is how did we miss the big one. The truth is that any successful terrorist strike, be it a kidnapping as we are living through in the immediate, be it a suicide bombing, be it a truck bomb, a bombed bus, a plane hijacking, or something beyond our ability to imagine just yesterday, the government and law enforcement are expected to prevent every last attack attempt. There will be weeks of second guessing in this instance as well, no matter the turnout. Already the first inklings of finger pointing have begun with reports that an initial phone call had been received around 10:25 PM where a youth’s voice whispered, “We’ve been abducted! We are being kidnapped,” and lasted approximately two minutes with noises in the background. The initial response to the call was that it was probably another of the numerous false alarms received regularly by police crisis or hotlines from Arabs who often attempt to overload these lines and the police with such calls hoping to overwhelm their systems. It took the brother of one of the abducted teens arriving at the station reporting his brother and friends missing to make the police aware that the call had been real.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that it is suspected with relative certainty that the abduction was the work of Hamas. He added that the Israeli government holds Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for the wellbeing and safety of the three young men and their return to their families without unnecessary delays. Since Abbas just incorporated Hamas into the Palestinian governance and extended free movement within Judea and Samaria (West Bank) that this makes Abbas equally culpable as are the Hamas leadership and the actual abductors. There has been one piece of propaganda from the Palestinians which would be absolutely laughable if not for the fact that a large percentage of the world will believe it buying the fallacy swallowing it hook, line and sinker. Their contemptible deceit was that there was absolutely no possibility that any Palestinian could have played any part of the kidnapping as the teens were taken from within an area under Israeli governance and security and any Palestinian abduction could only occur if the Jewish teens were within Palestinian governed and security areas. The implication which they are attempting to sell is that because the world believes that Israel is an Apartheid state that the Palestinians are not permitted to enter the Israeli areas but the Jews have complete freedom of movement within all areas including those under Palestinian rule. Well, their claims could not be any further from the truth as I will fully exhibit shortly. The reality is that there are Palestinians who currently live within the Israeli governed and under Israeli security areas and work within Israel next to Israeli Jews, Israeli Christians, Israeli Arabs, Israeli Muslims, and Israelis of numerous other religions who reside within the Israeli controlled areas. On the other hand, no Jew is permitted to enter the Palestinian controlled areas and should any Jew wander into those areas their lives are very likely endangered and quite likely forfeit unless security personnel are able to return them to the Israeli controlled areas before the mob is able to corner them. The truth of the situation was made undeniably evident when two reservists made a wrong turn and ended driving into Ramallah before being stopped. They were arrested by Palestinian security personnel and placed in the station’s holding cell in the hopes that they would be able to return them before their fellow Palestinians citizens discovered their presence. That was not the result as the citizens of Ramallah found out and word spread rapidly and a crown gathered and grew demanding for the two Israelis to be turned over to them for their own satisfaction and revenge. These young reservists had done nothing to anybody but were being sentenced to death by a mob, a lynch mob. With the crowd having grown in size, the Palestinian police deserted their posts escaping out the back door of the station leaving the keys to the cell holding the two reservists on the desk in the office. The mob gained entrance to the station and tore the two Israeli apart with their bare hands while placing calls to the people, including their wives, allowing them to hear the dying screams of the victims of the mob’s rage. There was a picture taken of a Palestinian youth leaning out a window near where the holding cells were located with his hands stained with the Israeli’s blood while the crowd below hollered and yelled their exuberance and approval of the carnage. A graphic photograph exists of this scene and is graphic in nature and should not be viewed by youth or those who believe their sensitivities may be upset by such realistic and graphic horrific depictions. With all due warning; the photograph of the Palestinian youth displaying his blood-soaked hands as his personal trophy can be viewed here.

 

In the meanwhile, the prayers of a nation and a people continue to be offered and three families wait holding on to their hopes and attempting to subdue their growing fears. Time only makes these fears grow and spread from the small core of the immediate families to the whole of Israel, the larger family as we are all related by experiences extending back to ancient Egypt on to Mount Sinai and soon afterward back into these lands we call Israel and the West Bank, the ancient areas of Judea and Samaria, home to two of our ancestral tribes. Security forces and military assets have been dedicated to searching an increasing region refusing to accept defeat in this vital work. These Israelis are determined to find the abducted young men despite the potential for many obstructions or interferences which may result as residents sympathetic with Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad or simply anti-Jews who decide to heed the call from different Palestinian spokespersons who have called for all possible resistance and impedance that they are able of placing in the way to disrupt the search for the kidnapped youths. Such calls have been issued even on Palestinian media while a vile anti-Semitic cartoon which was posted on Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Facebook page which can be seen here. There have been numerous reports of celebratory street festivities with women distributing sweet cakes and candies to people on the streets and much merrymaking and sounding of horns. The atmosphere resembles similar activities approving other successful terrorist acts such as suicide bombings, bus bombings, shootings, other abductions and also the terrorist strikes on September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania.

 

This situation is somber and many Israelis are trying as best they can to remain hopeful and continue to offer prayers and encouragement to each other all hoping as one people that their brothers are located and rescued alive, unhurt and in good health. Few have spoken of what actions might be best considered should these teenage boys not be returned alive and well or with alacrity as such thoughts are subdued as much as possible as such thoughts are foreign to most Jews during such challenging situations. We prefer to live in hope and pray for the best and push negative thoughts from our minds as long as hope remains. Should the results not be the best of possible alternatives, then we can entertain the options and choose the most advantageous and proper course going forward. No matter the results from the current events, there is one course which is guaranteed; the close introspection and scrutiny of all areas, actions, reactions and critiques of the ways that information was shared and followed through on once received and a complete review all with the aim of improving reactions times and refinement of procedures and the exchange of information and what conditions necessitate notification of higher or other units and security departments. There will probably be hearings to determine if proper and timely reactions were taken leading to determinations of where and how to improve security and protection in the future. Another discussion which must be deliberated is whether there is a need for additional mass transit such as busses or shared taxis introduced to the areas of Judea and Samaria where Israel has security responsibility thus negating the overwhelming need for youths to use hitchhiking as their primary means of transportation. It has been a known vulnerability that our youth must rely on hitchhiking in order to have access to shopping, recreation, attending services, and making the trip between home and schools be they Yeshivas or secular schools. There are numerous reasons behind the dearth of alternatives to hitchhiking such as trains and busses. There are no trains as building such infrastructure is expensive and with the state of politics in the world and the seemingly endless drive to force Israel from every millimeter of lands gained during the Six Day War makes investing in such expensive infrastructure as train lines impossible. It is obviously unreasonable to expect Israel to invest in rail lines in areas which there is a better than even chance that world pressures will force their surrender and the Israeli Jews now residing there being evicted to make the Palestinian state Jew free as Abbas has expressed as one of his red lines. Jordan also forced every Jews out from Judea and Samaria after they gained a hold on the areas of Judea and Samaria resulting from the war to destroy Israel after her birth in 1948 and held illegally and unrecognized by all nations, including every Arab nation, except Britain and Pakistan. On the other hand, bus routes could be reinstated allowing for regular service and greater accessibility. There are many problems with such plans and not all are political. The political comes from the necessity in some areas to have Palestinian permissions in order to allow busses to pass through the areas, a permission which would be impossible to attain as it has been requested before and even offered to provide bus service for the Palestinians along those routes but the offers were to no avail. The other difficulty which makes bus routes so rare is a security impediment. The problem became insurmountable during the Second Intifada when bus bombings became epidemic making continuing bus routes through the more dangerous areas monetarily prohibitive. Even the limited bus routes still being provided in Judea and Samaria are continued despite the threats of terrorist strikes as they are necessary to provide a means for employees to make their way to and from their employment and thus such bus routes are mostly restricted to such routes. How new and additional bus routes could be made secure and protected from any form of terrorist attack including from military such attacks using RPGs or anti-tank weaponry is the requirement that must be met in order to accomplish the task. The discussion will be serious and heated with some unfortunately taking these opportunities to make political points and try to place blame on those in parties with which they have differences as well as probable grandstanding by the likes as Ministers of the Knesset Zoabi and Tibi. But before everything becomes political, Israelis are as one people in prayer and hope for the safe return of our boys, or as it is stated so eloquently on Twitter, #BringBackOurBoys. The similarity between this Twitter campaign is close to the similar campaign for the abducted Nigerian young ladies which garnered even First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and there are many here in Israel who would be impressed and appreciative if First Lady Michelle Obama were to choose to join the #BringBackOurBoys giving it the publicity just as she did for #BringBackOurGirls. I will even thank First Lady Michelle Obama in faith that she will be so driven to add her prestige and honor the Israeli families who are feeling the same horror from the same source, terrorist abducting their child, as the families in Nigeria. May all of these children be returned and find peace and a full life without any lasting damages and traumas from their horrific experiences. Amen.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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