Israel hints at taking Philadelphi Corridor in next Palestinian conflict
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
In today's news we find several interesting articles that point to a possible escalation of tension in the Middle East region particularly as it relates to Israel and her Islamic neighbors. For the past several days Israel has seen rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. The rockets so far have not caused any casualties and the strikes have so far inflicted minimal damage. But regardless this breaching of Israel's security and safety is not to be taken likely as suggested by government officials. There have been many reports out lately from analysts who have speculated that a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organizations could break out at any moment. The recent rocket firings into Israel is just the match that could light the fuse to setting off the Middle East region. Let's take a look at the headlines and news stories to try to get a feel for the situation on the ground.
The Haaretz news agency is reporting that a rocket fired today into Israel was the fifth consecutive day that Israel has seen a rocket fired into their territory. The Haaretz news article reported:
A Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip struck the Western Negev on Monday, for the fifth consecutive day. There were no casualties or damages reported in the incident.
Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak had a few words for the Palestinian terrorists and also issued a warning to them:
Addressing an increase of rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday advised Gaza's Hamas rulers to "watch their step, and not to cry crocodile tears if they force [Israel] to take action."
As we can see from the news article Israeli Defense Minister Barak is hinting at a possible Israeli retaliation for the continued and increased firing of rockets into Israel. These rocket attacks come on the heels of reports that 2009 was one of the calmest years in recent memory after the Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009. Israelis enjoyed a pretty peaceful year given the situation in the region with less fatalities and injuries from her Islamic enemies. The re-newed rocket attacks could be a warning sign of difficulties to come in 2010.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that IDF officials have said that in the next conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza, that the IDF might decide to take over the Philadelphi corridor between Gaza and Egypt in an effort to stop weapons and arms smuggling. This would help to "cut off the oxygen" to Hamas and hopefully result in calm. The Philadelphi corridor is a continual trouble spot for Israel as security at times between the Gazans and Egyptians is lax which in turns allows for arms to be smuggled into Gaza from Egypt and used against Israel. The Jerusalem Post article reported:
The IDF is prepared for the possibility that in a future conflict with Hamas it will be ordered by the government to take over the Philadelphi Corridor in the southern Gaza Strip, which is lined with hundreds of weapons smuggling tunnels, defense officials said on Sunday.
Plans for such an operation have been drawn up and would likely include the deployment of several units in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and along the 14-kilometer strip of land called the Philadelphi Corridor under which Hamas has dug several hundred tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons and explosives into the Strip.
In describing a potential take over situation of the Philadelphi corridor the article went on to say:
Such an operation would be designed to prevent Hamas from rearming following the larger conflict. It would require troops to go house-to-house in Rafah to search for tunnels and to destroy them. There is also the possibility that following such an operation, the IDF would retain a presence in southern Rafah to prevent the re-digging of the tunnels.
The IDF believes that since Cast Lead ended in mid-January 2009, Hamas has significantly boosted its military capabilities and has obtained long-range rockets, mostly from Iran. One of these rockets was recently tested by Hamas and has a range of more than 60 km., which means it could hit Tel Aviv.
In addition, Hamas is believed to have obtained advanced, mostly Russian-made anti-tank missiles and shoulder-to-air missiles and is reportedly trying to get its hands on an anti-ship missile that would enable it to prevent the navy from attacking Gaza from the Mediterranean.
As we can see from this article it is possible that the Israelis are going to take a much more active approach to dealing with the Palestinians should the next conflict take place soon. As mentioned in the article, the previous government of Ehud Olmert declined to take such a stand to stop smuggling along the Gaza and Egypt border. As a result, it is estimated that in just a year Hamas has rebuilt their military strength past pre-Operation Cast Lead levels. This is not a good situation for Israel to be in. In fact, as we've reported here in the Rapture Report before, the next conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians will probably result in far greater casualties for Israel as well as the Palestinians.
Ongoing appeasement of the international community and Islamic enemies has left Israel in a very difficult place to be. Unlike the Operation Cast Lead war, the next conflict will likely see the Palestinians' new and improved missiles hitting the heart of Israel and places like Tel Aviv that have remained unscathed in previous flare-ups. The Israelis realize that there is a new reality on the ground and the tension in the region is very high. The Israelis will be forced to act soon, especially if the Palestinians continue to fire rockets into Israel. With Iran racing towards the nuclear finish line, it would not be surprising to find out later that they might be behind the rockets. I would suspect as they get closer and closer to their nuclear finish line, that Iran will use their proxy terrorist groups to try to distract Israel so they can cross the line. However, I do not believe that Israel taken an eye off Iran, no matter what happens on her borders. I believe that Israel has one eye fixed constantly on Iran at this time. and I do not believe that will change.
According to former head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, who continues to function as the current SC head's deputy in the reserves, Israel will be expected to deal Hamas a serious blow in order to make them realize the error and consequences of their ways. Describing the future conflict Samia went on to say:
"We are facing another round in Gaza," said Samia, who during Cast Lead functioned as the deputy to OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant. "I am very skeptical about the chance that Hamas will suddenly surrender or change its way without first suffering a far more serious blow than it did during Cast Lead." The blow, he said, would be "more focused with long-range results including the conquering of territory that Hamas will understand it lost as a result of its provocations. We need to create a situation which reduces its oxygen supply."
This future conflict and resulting aftermath could potentially lead to a new reality on the ground. With the dovish Ehud Olmert government out of the picture and the more hawkish Netanyahu government at the helms, it is likely that a major operation could quickly spiral into a fulfillment of the Psalm 83 scenario where Israel actually gains land as a result of defeating her terrorist enemies. I certainly would think this is possible given the serious threats Israel faces on both her southern and northern borders from Hamas and Hezbollah. And if things were to get really out of hand, it is not too far fetched to see that Isaiah 17 could also be fulfilled should Syrian President Assad join in the conflict and make a fatal move on Israel. One thing is certain and that is that conflict is inevitable in the region, it is simply a matter of time before something happens.
With all the tension in the region right now, there is a good chance that 2010 could be a very important year for Israel and that her current situation with the "Palestinians" could prove to be a year for the record books.
Keep looking up, your redemption is drawing nigh!!