• Woensdag, 24 April 2019
  • 19 Nisan, 5779

Likoed Nederland

The threat to Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip

Dinsdag, November 21, 2006

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, November 21, 2006.

Since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005,
Palestinian terrorist organizations based there have increased their rocket
attacks on Israeli communities in the Western Negev, firing more than 1,000
Kassam rockets at Israeli civilians. In addition, the terrorists have stepped up
their arms smuggling operations via tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip, bringing
in more than 30 tons of high explosives.

Kassam Rockets

Between Israel’s disengagement from Gaza last August and November 15,
2006, 1,201 Kassam artillery rockets have hit Israeli population centers
adjacent to the Gaza Strip. These rockets include improved, long-range
weapons which can reach the Israeli port city of Ashkelon, more than 13 km. (8
miles) from the Gaza border. So far seven Israelis, one foreign worker, and two
Palestinian civilians have been killed in Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza,
and more than 100 persons have been wounded.

Arms Buildup

Israel Security Agency Director Yuval Diskin, in a briefing to the Knesset
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on 14 November, noted the following
quantities of arms smuggled by terrorist groups into the Gaza Strip since the

* 33 tons of military-grade high explosives

* 20,000 assault rifles

* 3,000 Pistols

* 6,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition

* 38 long-range Kassam missiles

* 12 shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft guided missiles

* 95 anti-tank rocket launchers

* 410 anti-tank rockets

* 20 precision-guided Anti-Tank Missiles

In addition, between $50 million-$70m. in cash has been smuggled into Gaza in
order to finance the Hamas terrorist operations.

Terrorist Attacks and Suicide Bombings

The Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza have lately intensified their attempts to
carry out large-scale attacks against Israeli population centers. One tactic
recently used is to exploit Israel’s humanitarianism by infiltrating terrorists
pretending to be Palestinians entering Israel to receive medical treatment. In one
such case, on March 7, 2006, Samih Haddad , 21, a resident of Zeitun in the
Gaza Strip, was arrested at the Erez crossing while trying to enter Israel using
counterfeit medical documents for medical treatment at an Israeli clinic. During
questioning he admitted that he had been recruited by the Islamic Jihad, which
provided him with the false medical documents and instructed him to infiltrate
into Israel, where he would receive an automatic weapon in order to carry out
an attack.

Another tactic being used is the exploitation of the peaceful border between
Israel and Egypt in the Sinai in order to infiltrate terrorists from Gaza into Israel
for suicide attacks. For example, on February 8, 2006, two Islamic Jihad
terrorists from the Gaza Strip were arrested in the Negev. One was a
17-year-old would-bel suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest; and other was
his escort. They had infiltrated Israel via the Sinai in order to carry out a suicide
bombing against Israeli civilians in Jerusalem.

In another thwarted infiltration, on June 11, 2006, two Palestinian terrorists
from Gaza were caught as they were attempting to cross the Israeli-Egyptian
border south of Gaza. One terrorist, Ibrahim Majdoub, had been dispatched by
the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) to murder Israeli soldiers near Tel Aviv,
hide their bodies in an orchard, and then fax their documents to the PRC in
Gaza so it could claim they were abducted and negotiate concessions. The
other terrorist, Muhammed Assan, was to carry out a suicide gun-and-grenade
attack in an Israeli city.

Exploitation of Civilians

In addition to their cynical tactic of using Palestinian civilians as human shields
by firing rockets from densely populated areas, Palestinian terrorists are now
increasingly mobilizing civilians in order to protect themselves from Israeli
counterterrorist operations. In one recent example, on November 3, 2006, a
group of terrorists was discovered hiding in the revered al-Nasr Mosque in Beit
Hanoun. When Israeli troops surrounded the mosque and called upon the
terrorists to surrender, they were met with gunfire. Soon, a procession of about
200 Muslim women, veiled and wearing traditional dress, arrived at the
mosque, having been summoned by the terrorists inside. The terrorists then
escaped by mingling with the women, some of them even donning women’s

Another such event occurred on November 18, minutes after the IDF warned
residents of Beit Lahiya that a counterterrorist strike was about to be carried
out against the home of Muhammad Baroud, commander of the PRC’s Kassam
rocket operations. The IDF issued the warning to prevent civilian casualties
during the impending operation. Baroud quickly summoned hundreds of
Palestinians, including women and children, and had them surround the
building. The IDF counterterrorist operation had to be cancelled due to the
proximity of the civilians – demonstrating vividly that the Palestinians know that
Israel values their lives more than the Palestinian terrorists do.

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