Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
A moment before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approaches the UN with a statehood bid, we would expect the PA chairman to make a statement addressing the grave terror attack against Israeli citizens en route to Eilat. Something along the lines of “we shall hunt down the perpetrators and masterminds of the murderous attack and bring them to justice.” After all, in our region one pays no excise tax on words. Yet the silence of the chairman and of his Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, must worry the whole world – and that includes the UN General Assembly.
How did the Abbas-Fayyad duo sell the notion of reconciliation with Hamas to the world? This pseudo-reconciliation is exploding in our faces. We are witnessing the de facto reality of a third terror state between us and Egypt, with the Palestinian Authority’s disregard constituting no less than evasion of responsibility. As Abbas views himself as the leader of a state, the world must demand explanations from him over Thursday’s terror offensive.
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Egypt, which was the matchmaker and maid of honor in the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, is conspicuous in its failure to avert a despicable terror act launched from its territory against Israelis in Israeli territory. The arms smuggling to Gaza via the Sinai has turned since the Egypt revolution into orderly transfers of weapons and ammunition, including the anti-tank missile fired during Thursday’s offensive.
The Sinai Peninsula has turned into a crossing point for terror groups. Jihad leaders refer to the area as “Sinai tours,” yet these trips are used to transfer rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, exactly like the one fired at Ashkelon last night, forcing me and other 120,000 local residents to head into secure rooms.
Hezbollah spirit in south
The kind of terrorism we experienced in the south Thursday points mostly to the “Hezbollahization” of Gaza terror groups – with us being the main victims. A murderous terror attack perpetrated by more than 10 terrorists at several locations indicates that Hezbollah’s spirit headed south. Israel must receive operative answers from Egypt before the latter turns into a Lebanon-style state that cannot thwart anti-Israel terror organizations.
The Sinai has turned into a no man’s land while Egypt turns a blind eye. Hence, it must be called to order by Israel and the states of the world. We must not go easy on Egypt in respect to the responsibility it holds on this front. Cairo signed an agreement calling for a peaceful border with us and is obligated to fully adhere to its part of the bargain.
Last but not least is Hamas, which took over Gaza in a military coup four years ago, thereby turning itself into the address for Israel’s message following every attack. The “mailman” must work overtime after the murderous offensive in Eilat, resorting to surgical strikes and making the rules of play clear to Hamas.
It is vital that Hamas understand that the ruling power it violently stole from the PA includes obligations towards Israel. At some point, we’ll have to destroy the group’s military infrastructure in Gaza anyway, mostly because it appears that nobody else intends to do it. Once our Iron Dome arsenal grows, the planning and possible execution of a Gaza campaign would be much more practical. Until then, we must curb terror and eliminate the terrorists. The thought that it’s easier to harm us from the Sinai must be uprooted and neutralized, whether through the planned fence or via military operations.
Knesset Member Avi Dichter is the former Shin Bet chief and currently heads the Knesset Subcommittee for Security Perception and the Building of Forces
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