Date: 16/03/2023 Time: 19:00
By Pinhas Inbari
I am not familiar with the details of the new “security affair” in the North, but from what has been published, I have some insights into the dangers of war with Hezbollah, and the serious possibility that Hezbollah dug tunnels into the Galilee and, that Israel did not discover. First, although I do not know the circumstances of the death of the terrorist who infiltrated from Lebanon, it is a pity that he was not caught alive, and could have served as an important source for learning about Hezbollah and what is happening across the border.
I hope we didn’t get carried away by “the spirit of the commander” who first shoots and then thinks. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there are tunnels because if there were, Hezbollah would not have sent a lone terrorist, but a squad. If it infiltrated a squad which I don’t think is the matter – they will appear in the context of Ramadan, but if Ramadan is the main thing, why expose an infiltration by sending a lone terrorist? So, it seems to me according to the circumstances that this event has ended, and I hope I am not mistaken. In my opinion, the chances that the terrorist was not Hezbollah, but acted on behalf of Saleh Arouri, the commander of the West Bank on behalf of Hamas are higher and if we focus our attention on Arouri, we can better understand the event.
His job is to take advantage of the dying twilight of the Palestinian Authority to succeed Mahmoud Abbas, and he is trying to do so by escalating terrorism against Israel. The focus of his activity, the only place where he actually succeeded, is in Jenin. There, an alliance was formed between Hamas, Fatah of the Jenin camp, the PFLP, and Islamic Jihad with the massive support of Iran. Although Arouri acts out of his own considerations as the leader of Hamas in the West Bank, he is part of an Iranian network that includes the other organizations. When Khader Adnan, one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad in Jenin, came to Nablus to move the Jenin model to Nablus, he was expelled by the Lions’ Den and fled fearing for his life.
Arouri’s stronghold in Jenin is surrounded by the IDF, and it seems to me, as an analysis without information, that the terrorist came to Megiddo with the sophisticated explosive device to bring it to Jenin, as a means of breaking the equation, but either he thought he was in Jenin, or he discovered that he could not reach Jenin, and put the device where he could, and hurried away. As far as is known, Arouri is in Tyre or Sidon, near the large refugee camps, which are also undergoing profound processes of change that are of interest to Hezbollah, and it can be assumed that Arouri in this context is also moving hand in hand with Hezbollah, in order to get help from them to transfer the refugee camps to Hamas in the service of Hezbollah. Hamas’s intention to take over the refugee camps in the service of Hezbollah was revealed when its large weapons depot caught fire, killing 10 refugees in the Burj Shamali in 2021.
The goal is not only to remove Fatah from the camps, but also to remove al Qaeda, which is active in the camps under different names, such as Osbat al-Islam, etc. On the issue of organizing against al-Qaeda, Fatah has cooperated with Lebanese security, and even with Hezbollah, which has already caused difficulties in the PLO’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, but now it is about removing the PLO itself from the camps. Arouri’s activities in the West Bank have nothing to do with Gaza, where Yahya Sinwar finds his interest in Egypt, but Sinwar has a serious problem with Iran’s many supporters in Gaza, chief among them, Mohammed Deif.
We believe that the device was intended for Ramadan in order to set the West Bank on fire in response to the Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount, and if our speculation is true, the terrorist was unable to reach Jenin and got rid of the device in Megiddo by detonating it and trying to return home safely maybe through a tunnel that Israel didn’t uncover, maybe through the fence.
Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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