ANALYSIS: Coordinated Attempt to Drag Israel Into War Fails
Experts warn that Israel should take more decisive action against every attempt to take over the Temple Mount
The scenario of widespread riots in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem planned by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Palestinian Authority and Jordan over alleged Israeli “aggression” against the Al-Aqsa Mosque did not materialize on Sunday.
Thousands of Muslims came to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to pray on the first day of the Eid al-Adha feast and to prevent Jews from visiting the holiest site in Judaism.
At the entrance of the holiest site in Judaism hundreds of Jews waited for the end of the Muslim prayers.
However, the WAKF on purpose delayed the prayers where after Palestinian Muslims refused to leave the square and violently blocked the entrances to the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount.
Hamas and PIJ, meanwhile, called upon Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria to take to the streets and to fight the” Zionist occupation “, but the call was ignored almost everywhere.
The Jews wanted to visit the square where the two Jewish Temples once stood on Tisha B’Av – the annual fast commemorating the destruction of the Temples built by Salomon and Herod.
Initially, on orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the police decided to deny Jews access to Temple Mount out of fear that this would unleash a new wave of widespread violence.
However, after the Israeli police succeeded to quell the violence and took control over the upper part of the Temple Mount the waiting crowd of Jews was allowed to ascend the mount.
Hamas and PIJ then called upon Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria to take to the streets and fight the “Zionist occupation”, but the call was ignored almost everywhere.
Jordan, meanwhile, threw oil on the fire through Ayman Safadi, the country’s Foreign Minister who accused Israel of “violating the status quo” on the Temple Mount and of unspecified “violations.”
Safadi, furthermore, called upon the international community not to be silent in light of the “Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem.”
At the same time, the PA launched a new incitement offensive in the Arab media.
Arab media reported that thousands of (Jewish) “settlers” had “stormed” the al-Aqsa mosque and had ‘polluted’ the sanctuary.
The same media questioned Jewish history on the Temple Mount and accused Israeli “extremist organizations” of organizing massive attacks on the mosque.
In the meantime, Hamas also tried to detonate the powder keg in a way reminiscent of what happened in 2014 when a sequence of violent events triggered the third Gaza-war which took the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinian Arabs and 72 Israeli’s.
The horrific murder of the Jewish student and IDF soldier Dvir Sorek was not officially claimed by Hamas as it did earlier in 2014 during the manhunt for the perpetrators of the murder of three Jewish boys.
The Israeli security forces, however, revealed that at least one of Sorek’s murderers, who were arrested last Friday, was a Hamas member.
The two Palestinian terrorists were arrested late Friday night by the Israeli border police on the roof of a house in the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil near Hebron where they were sleeping.
In 2014, the war was triggered by the kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and later by an Israeli air force action against Hamas terrorists in a tunnel under the Israeli border which killed 7 Hamas members and triggered a missile onslaught.
Now, Hamas tried to do the same thing when it attempted twice to infiltrate Israel from Gaza after the murder of Sorek over the weekend.
On Saturday, a Hamas cell of four heavily armed terrorists was timely discovered while sabotaging the security fence. The four men had prepared for a terrorist attack or kidnapping but were spotted by a unit of female IDF soldiers.
They were subsequently killed by snipers of the IDF’s Golani Brigade.
The IDF later published photos showing that the four terrorists were armed to the teeth and carried knives, automatic guns, grenades, and even an RPG launcher.
The botched infiltration was followed on Sunday by a new incident when a Hamas terrorist from Beit Hanoun in Gaza tried to infiltrate Israel.
The 26-year-old terrorist, Marwan Nasser, was also discovered in time and suffered the same fate as the four Hamas terrorists who tried to infiltrate Israel on Saturday.
The difference with 2014 is that Hamas now claims to have nothing to do with the uptick in terror attacks from Gaza and the so-called ‘West-Bank’ (Judea and Samaria).
In this way, the terror organization tries to prevent another war with Israel and claims that the killed terrorists were disgruntled ‘lone wolfs’.
Hamas and PIJ’s strategy is now, however, determined by the Quds Force of the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) which gives Hamas $ 30 million a month for armament and terrorist attacks against Israel.
The Quds Force wants Hamas and PIJ to increase pressure on Israel through Gaza but also through areas under PA control.
The difference with 2014 is that Hamas in Samaria and Judea no longer has a clear military infrastructure after the IDF carried out a major operation against PIJ and Hamas in 2014 and arrested more than 170 members of the terror groups.
Since then, the IDF has continued to arrest Hamas and PIJ members who were preparing terrorist attacks on a daily basis.
Experts now warn that Israel should take more decisive action against every attempt to take over the Temple Mount since the Palestinian Arabs see this as the beginning of gaining control over the whole of Israel.
Netanyahu has until now shown no interest in another ground war against the terror factions in Gaza because of fear it will trigger Iran’s desired multi-front missile war. For this reason, the IDF limited its response to the infiltration attempts to a single strike on a Hamas facility in Gaza.