This is either the start of the next Arab-Israeli War, or an expansion of the GWOT if Assad should decide he sees an opportunity to get involved.
Here is Debka’s analysis:
The Palestinian-Israel war has blown up in force five weeks after Israel evacuated all its civilians from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank – 12 days after pulling its troops out of Gaza and one day after they exited the northern West Bank – as though nothing had changed.
The scenario was not unexpected; it was plotted by Palestinian terror chiefs.
The three Palestinian ticking bombs killed by Israeli troops near Tulkarm Friday Sept. 23 were no more than a pretext for scores of Qassam missiles to start flying from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns and villages that same night. But that was not the source of the deterioration. It began when Israel failed to fight off Palestinian attacks in the course of the evacuations. That operation was plagued by shooting attacks, roadside bombs, Qassam missiles and grenade attacks on troops pulling out of the Philadelphi border route. Israel’s defense minister and generals promised “zero tolerance” for Palestinian attacks – but sat on their hands.
On the West Bank, the situation went from bad to worse. As Israelis were rooted out of the northern region, Palestinian terrorists regrouped further south undisturbed. They systematically upgraded their gunmen as mortar and missile crews. They laid the foundation for a proactive operational link between Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel’s passivity was most remarked when Palestinian weapons and terrorists flooded into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian Sinai, day after day, from the moment Israeli troops departed on Sept 12. The ordinary Israel has never been told how an enormous pile of war materiel came to be stockpiled in northern Sinai, who paid for it and who stood ready to organize its efficient transfer to waiting hands in Gaza. There is no explanation of why Israel omitted to make Egypt’s liquidation of the lethal stocks a condition for handing over the Philadelphi route to Egyptian border police?
Up to this minute, the border remains wide open for the free passage of terrorists and smugglers.
According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, this open door enabled the Hamas and Jihad Islami to beef up their manpower and weapons resources by one third. Incredibly, the Palestinian Authority purchased some of the smuggled goods.
The slow-burning terror embers of the last few weeks burst into flame Friday, Sept 23, when two missile-trucks blew up during one of Hamas’ almost daily triumphal “military” parades. The missiles were meant for Israelis, but at least 19 Palestinians were killed including some top Hamas terror chiefs. One was identified as Ahmed Randur, northern Gaza commander. Another 80 people were injured, including children. The presence of Israeli helicopters overhead to stop the hail of Qassam missiles fired earlier against Israeli border locations gave the Hamas a convenient party to blame for its own criminal negligence.
The Palestinian Authority hastened to blame Hamas’ own Qassam missiles for the disaster, fearful that the escalating violence would eliminate its vestigial hold in the Gaza Strip.
The flare-up erupted within hours – with much greater speed and force than even the most pessimistic intelligence experts predicted. It begs the question: why did Israel permit the situation to rocket out of control? Clues may be found in two speeches.
September 15, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon addressed the UN General Assembly without a single mention of the proliferating security problems, lest he mar the presentation of the Israeli evacuations as “an historic feat,” performed by a peace-loving farmer forced to assume the roles of military leader and statesman.
Then, on September 23, defense minister Shaul Mofaz, in a lecture in Tel Aviv, laid bare the Sharon government’s policy guidelines.
He made three points:
1. The most important project after the pull-backs is to build up the Palestinian economy as the means of reducing incentives to engage in terrorism.
2. The Palestinian Authority is geared for a genuine, tough struggle to assert its authority over the Hamas.
3. If the Hamas seizes power through the ballot box, Israel will withdraw its cooperation from Palestinian Authority institutions.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror and intelligence sources maintain that all three guidelines are totally unreal, based on nothing more than pious hopes.
Those of us who were aware of the situation in Gaza and who were not living in fantasy, like our own Secretary of State, knew that shortly after the Israeli pullout hostilities would begin in earnest.
Expect to see an all-out war between the Palestinians and the Israelis within days.
Related prior posts:
Gaza and Victory?
It has begun: Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza
More Deadly Appeasement by Israel
The Facts on the Ground are Different, Mr. President
Hamas threatens more attacks after Gaza pullout
The Secret of Gaza
Sharon’s Gaza Capitulation
U.N. Poverty Funds Used to Fund Palestinian Political Aims
News Items from Israel – August 14th
Netanyahu resigns over Disengagement
Al Queda Confirms Base in Gaza
Al Queda Already in Gaza
Undermining U.S. Interests
Disengagement not in US Interest
Eyeless in Gaza
Why The “Roadmap” Will Hit A Dead-End
Arab Terrorist Bombs Israeli Mall
Female Terrorist Targets Israeli Hospital That Helped Her