Date: 16/03/2023 Time: 18:49
By Yoni Ben Menachem
- The Palestinian terrorist organizations, in coordination with Hizbullah and Iran, are preparing for a major military confrontation with Israel toward the Ramadan season, March 22–April 20, 2023.
- In a strategic decision by the axis of resistance, preparations for a confrontation have been proceeding for a long time and included large-scale smuggling of weapons into Israel and Judea and Samaria.
Sometime on March 11 or 12, a terrorist infiltrated from Lebanon into Israel’s Galilee and launched a bomb attack in the Megiddo area using a sophisticated explosive device. The actions were major intelligence and operational failures of the IDF. The political echelon should have ordered a military response; the lack of response further erodes Israel’s deterrence.
It is believed that the terrorist who infiltrated Israeli territory was a Palestinian who belonged to the Hamas forces in southern Lebanon and trained by Hizbullah experts on how to activate the sophisticated shaped explosive device. Hamas is recruiting in the Tyre and Sidon refugee camps.
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah knew about the infiltration operation and approved it. It was a joint operation by Hizbullah and Hamas without leaving fingerprints, and the two organizations took no responsibility for the attack.
According to intelligence data from various sources, Israeli security officials assess that approaching the month of Ramadan there will be an unprecedented conflict with the Palestinian terrorist factions on several fronts that may deteriorate into a military conflict more acute than the conflict in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.
Visible signs also testify to this: the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations have increased the incitement against Israel in recent weeks and launched a campaign of psychological warfare to weaken Israel morale.
Hamas Terrorist Chief’s Warning
Saleh al-Arouri, the vice chairman of the Hamas movement and head of its military wing in the West Bank, the man who coordinates in Beirut the activity with Hizbullah, said in an interview to the official website of Hamas on March 14, 2023, that the events to come will be very difficult for the “occupation and its settlers.” The “resistance” in the West Bank is in a state of escalation and it is diversifying its weapons.
Marwan Issa, the shadowy deputy commander of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, hinted at the possibility of massive rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. He told the Al-Aqsa channel on March 15, 2023, that the “political project in the West Bank has ended; the enemy brought the Oslo Accords to an end; and the coming days will be eventful.”
Issa continued: A political solution in the West Bank “is a thing of the past…. Any escalation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque area will result in a reaction in the Gaza Strip; Hamas in Gaza will not [just] be an observer to events in Jerusalem.”
“The desire to commit suicide among the (Muslim) residents of the West Bank is unprecedented, and the state of resistance in the West Bank is excellent. So is the state of national unity in the face of the Occupation,” the Hamas official claimed.
The Iranian Connection
A spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened Israel with a new intifada and a conflict it had never experienced before.
The accumulation of these statements by the heads of the terrorist organizations in the media and intelligence information indicate an impending escalation. The security meeting initiated by the United States in Aqaba on February 26, 2023, has failed, and the fate of the next meeting, scheduled in Sinai, is uncertain. It is very doubtful whether Israel will be able to stop the approaching tsunami of terrorism since this is a strategic decision by the terrorist organizations in coordination with Iran.
The terrorist cells are showing the increasing use of explosive devices in the territories of Judea and Samaria and an attempt to activate them also within the territory of Israel itself. The Shin Bet has recently foiled several attacks using explosive devices by Palestinians from the West Bank who were recruited by Hamas from the Gaza Strip through social networks.
According to officials in the military wing of Hamas, the attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023, marks the organization’s decision to resume attacks within the Green Line.
Hizbullah Tightened Coordination with Hamas and Islamic Jihad
According to security sources, Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah increased his coordination meetings in the al-Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut with Ziyad al-Nakhala, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad, and with Saleh Al-Arouri, the head of the military wing of Hamas, toward the beginning of the month of Ramadan. An agreement was reached between Hizbullah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iran for increasing terrorist activities in the coming days.
Hassan Nasrallah said last week that Israel would collapse even before it marks the 80th year of its founding. The internal dispute in Israel and the wave of protest over the legal reform issue increased the feeling among the terrorist organizations that Israel is on the verge of disintegration and that this is the time to increase the pressure through terrorist acts.
Despite the hoopla at the time, the agreement designed by the United States on the division of Lebanon’s economic territorial waters, signed on October 27, 2022, did not reduce Hizbullah’s motivation for terrorism against Israel. Moreover, it allows the Hamas organization to strengthen its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon and in the refugee camps in Tyre and Sidon.
Hamas officials say that the attacks on Israel in the coming days will be from all directions according to the doctrine of unification of the fronts, including rocket fire from southern Lebanon and infiltration operations from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory.
According to security officials in Israel, behind all this malevolent activity is Iran, which in the past year has smuggled arms and funds through Jordan to the northern West Bank into the hands of the terrorist organizations.
The axis of resistance led by Iran is preparing for a major escalation in the month of Ramadan. Israel is also seriously preparing for a scenario that may be bigger than the military conflict that took place in May 2021.
Yoni Ben Menachem
Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel Radio and Television, is a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center. He served as Director General and Chief Editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
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