Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Elul 5765 - September 28, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Israel Responds to Gaza Terrorism

by M Plaut and Yated Ne'eman Staff

On Friday evening, September 23, 2005, some 20 Palestinians died in an explosion of a truckload of munitions during a military parade by Hamas in the Jabalya refugee camp. Many more were wounded. Hamas blamed Israel for the blast and began firing volleys of Kassam rockets at Israel.

Israel strenuously denied any involvement and was supported by the Palestinian Authority who said that it was the fault of Hamas mishandling the explosives that it was parading.

Some 40 Kassam rockets hit Sderot and elsewhere in the northern Negev over the weekend, wounding five persons, two moderately, and causing much damage. Inhabitants of the region went into bomb shelters.

Following the Kassam salvos, the IDF deployed around the Gaza Strip to prevent further attacks and to strike at the terrorist infrastructure of Gaza. The operation, which has been named "First Rain," is expected to continue for at least a few days.

The rocketing of Israel from Gaza is a most serious terrorist aggression. Israel is exercising its right to self-defense when it responds to attacks on its territory, as any state is required to do.

Ever since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, terrorists, including members of Hamas and other groups, have been running wild in the streets there. The Palestinian leadership has taken no action to stop it. The central responsibility of any civil authority is to put an end to the lawlessness within its territory, particularly terrorism directed against the citizens of a neighboring state.

The IDF said that the rampaging in Gaza of terrorist organizations led by Hamas, and the absence of any reaction on the part of the Palestinian leadership, harms the Palestinian public most of all, for it is forced to pay the price. The anarchy in the Gaza Strip is first of all a threat to the Palestinian Authority itself, and to the basic interests of the Palestinian people.

On Sunday the IAF attacked several structures belonging to Hamas, which were part of the weaponry manufacturing operation in the Gaza Strip. The three structures used by Hamas for manufacturing and storing weaponry were in the Jabalya refugee camp, in the Zeitun neighborhood, and in Gaza City.

The IAF also targeted a vehicle containing weaponry belonging to Hamas, and a second vehicle in which Hamas terrorists were traveling.

The IDF also attacked a major structure belonging to Hamas located in the Sajaiya neighborhood in Gaza City. The building served as an educational institution and is part of the Hamas Dawa establishment. The institution was founded by Ahmed Yassin in 1998, as a central project of Hamas. The funding for the institution is from Hamas abroad, and from projects in the Persian Gulf that are associated with Hamas.

The institution is aimed at family members of Hamas terrorists, and particularly at family members of imprisoned Hamas terrorists and of terrorists killed while carrying out Hamas activities.

The institution was also used by Yassin to hold gatherings of Hamas terrorists, including armed terrorists. Yassin headed the board of directors of the institution.

Following Yassin's death, the institution continued its activity in close relation to Hamas, including management of the organization's "Dawa" establishment. The funds raised by the Dawa establishment have often been used to fund terrorist attacks by Hamas.

By early Sunday the IDF had arrested 207 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in Yehuda and Shomron, including senior West Bank Hamas officials Sheikh Hassan Youssef, Sheikh Fathi al Karawi, and Mohammed Ghazal. By Monday IDF forces arrested another 50 terrorists. The arrest sweep was Israel's biggest crackdown since last February, and were carried out in Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin, Qalqilyah, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Nablus.

The security cabinet approved the use of artillery fire against the Kassam launchers in the Gaza Strip, as well as targeted assassinations against Hamas members and the continuation of aerial assaults.

The cabinet also ratified Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's proposal that the IDF be instructed to create buffer zones within the Gaza Strip in areas near the border, in order to move the rocket launchers away from Israeli communities.

"This operation is not limited in time," Major General Israel Ziv told Israel Radio.

The earliest incident tied to the latest round of violence was an IDF raid last Friday, when police officers from an anti-terror unit entered a village near Tulkarm in search of Jihad activists suspected of being involved in the suicide bombings at Tel Aviv's Stage club and Hasharon shopping center. The wanted men fled into an open area outside the village, where the police shot two of them dead. The third was found and killed nearby.

Later Friday there was a Kassam attack, which Islamic Jihad said it had initiated. That evening at a mass Hamas rally in Gaza, two pickup trucks carrying armed men as well as explosive materials blew up.

Military sources said that the zones will include neighborhoods as well as open areas. "If necessary, we will create ghost neighborhoods, we will use artillery to prevent the rocket launchers from entering even at the price of removing civilians from their homes," the source said.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar called for a halt to rocket attacks on Israel, but Israeli leaders did not take it seriously. "We don't relate to Hamas mutterings and are judging everything according to reality on the ground," said deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim.


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