Thursday, April 05, 2012

5-Apr-12: The terrorists send us their Passover greetings

Passover eve: Eilat's bustling hotel zone
All of Israel is in the last stages of preparing for Passover. The seder meal, in which we re-tell and relive the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and their journeys via the Sinai desert into our homeland, takes place Friday night. Many, including hordes of foreign visitors, will spend it in hotels throughout the country.

Exactly ten years ago, on the first night of Passover 2002, the barbarians of Hamas carried out a massacre in a packed hotel dining room filled with veteran Israelis, tourists, pensioners and children. (And as happens with sickening regularity, the man who planned it has become a media hero, praised and glorified by the television station controlled by the 'moderate' Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Arab regime.)

That deliberate targeting of Jews in the midst of our thousands-of-years-old celebratory ritual, an event normally marked by family closeness and general enjoyment, represented the clearest statement of what the Islamist forces of darkness wish for us if they can only execute their plans. They were sending a message. They sent us additional lethal Passover messages in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007. As the writer and analysts Daniel Greenfield recently pointed out, it is by far not only Israeli Jews whom they target.

Today, with the clansmen of the Hamas planners of that Netanya seder-night massacre in firm control of the Gaza Strip and with their newly-empowered Moslem Brotherhood cousins redrawing the political map of much of the Arab world (though not yet Jordan), the danger to ordinary Israelis is clear and understood by most of us.

We have just gotten a reminder of the kind of 'relations' they seek with us.

During the hours of this morning (Thursday), a GRAD rocket crashed into a residential quarter of Israel's southern holiday city, Eilat. Ynet reports that it emanated, according to security authorities, from the Sinai, though a report in the Times of Israel says no one is ruling out the possibility of the source being Jordan. Eilat has experienced previous attacks by terrorists firing their Katyusha rockets from Sinai. The most recent was 18 months ago when a volley of five rockets exploded in Eilat and the nearby Jordanian city of Aqaba. All the casualties, one killed, several injured, were on the Aqaba side. Ynet at the time quoted Egyptian security officials saying the attack did not originate in the Sinai Peninsula. "Firing rockets from Egypt requires extensive logistical preparations and a lot of equipment. This is impossible because Sinai is heavily secured," an official said. This was patent nonsense back then. Today, the security situation in Sinai after the end of the Mubarak regime is considerably more dangerous and out of control. [UPDATE Thursday 5-Apr-12, 11:30 am: Ynet quotes the Israeli security authorities saying there was not one rocket but THREE, and they are searching Eilat for remnants.]

The midnight rocket landed within 150 meters of an apartment building complex in the residential part of Eilat. Eilat's many hotels are close to full capacity and no one is expecting people to stay away because of this latest expression of jihadist hatred.

On the other hand, we have learned to understand the ability of Palestinian Arab society to turn history on its head and to distort even their own scared Moslem scriptures in pursuit of a hate-filled political agenda. Palestinian Media Watch publicized a video this past week, translated from Arabic to English, showing a university lecturer present a recent Palestinian Authority religious TV program. The scholar teaches that Moses, who was of course a Moslem, brought the Israelites - who were Moslems - out of Egypt and into the land of Israel where they carried out the "first Palestinian liberation... of Palestine."

His straight-faced lecture and other similar programs in which religion is hijacked by racism and hate-based terrorism need to be seen by the greatest number of people. How else to begin to understand why their rockets and bombs keep being flung into our population centers and tourist zones at holiday time?

UPDATE #2: Thursday 5-Apr-12 1:30 pm Ynet quotes Mahamoud El-Hefnawy, Cairo's director of security for the Sinai sector, as saying this morning's rocket fire did not emanate from Sinai. "The situation in the southern sector is excellent. There are regular patrols and stakeouts across all roads", and he should know, though we wonder how this squares with the numerous unthwarted (by Egyptian authorities) attacks on the gas line between Egypt and Israel. Just a week ago, a published Israeli defence study concluded that
"with a new regime governing Egypt, the lawless Sinai Peninsula has become a breeding ground for Israel's enemies and their proxies. After more than thirty years of relative quiet on the border, Israel has a new potential threat to manage."
Echoing that view, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, like Israel's security leadership in general, has an opinion that differs sharply from El-Hefnawy's confident assertions that all is under control. He said this morning that the Ministry of Defence in Israel is
"well aware of the fact that Sinai is turning into a rocket launching pad for terrorists... We are building a fence. It can't stop missiles but we will find a solution for that. We will strike those who aim to harm us." 

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