New York, NY, June 24, 2016 – The terror attack in Sarona, Tel Aviv, in which four Israelis were killed and many injured, was carried out by Hamas. The massacre in Orlando was carried out by another terrorist organization–ISIS. The Government of Israel decided to take drastic actions in order to deal with Hamas. Parallel to this action, the Government decided to build a defense line around the Gaza Strip.
The Defense Establishment of Israel is of the opinion that a confrontation with the Hamas and other terror organizations is unavoidable. The plan is that this time Hamas and, in particular, its military organization will be destroyed.
Israel has no interest in controlling Gaza; however, it cannot continue the war of attrition indefinitely. Therefore, the next confrontation with Hamas must be the last one.
Regarding the situation in the North on the Lebanese border, security experts do not think that a third Lebanese war is on the horizon. Military experts feel that the next confrontation will be difficult. The head of Israeli intelligence, Major General Herzi Halevy, spoke at the Herzliya Conference a few days ago and emphasized that the next war against Hezbollah will be very significant and the Israeli public should be prepared for it. The evaluation is that Hezbollah has, at least, 1500 missiles along the border with Israel as well as many armed drones. Security experts are encouraged by the fact that Hezbollah is deeply involved in the conflict with Syria. Hezbollah has lost at least 1,600 of their fighters and thousands have been injured.
Halevy emphasized that Israeli army intellgence has improved dramatically and is aware of Hezbollah’s power and abilities. Halevy warns that if there will be a war on the Northern border, Lebanon will be turned into a country of refugees from which it will be almost impossible to recover. Hezbollah will then lose its political base.
The security establishment in Israel plans to build a security fence around the Gaza Strip which will be 60 kilometers long and around 50 meters deep. It will also be several meters high above ground. It will cost IS 2 billion ( 550 million U.S. dollars).
This wall will be the third defense line that Israel has built along its borders. The first one was built in 1993, after the Oslo agreement. The second defense line was built after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005. These two defense lines did not provide an answer to the tunnels from Gaza into Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces is also building a wall around certain parts of the border with Lebanon where Israeli communities lie very close to the border. The decision to build the wall in the North came after Hassan Nasralah, the leader of Hezbollah, threatened to attack Israeli civilian communities and to control them for a few days. This way he can demonstrate his ability to conquer Israeli communities.
Today there is a defense system along the Northern border which is designed to make it more difficult for Hezbollah, or any other terrorist group, to penetrate into Israel.
In a closed session of the Defense and Security Committee of the Knesset, General Halevy warned that the very difficult living conditions in the Gaza Strip may bring a total collapse of the population. Halevy based his prediction on the United Nations report: “Gaza 2020” that predicts that in four years Gaza will be a place where human beings cannot live.
Avoiding this situation is a major challenge to Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Europe and the United States. This challenge must be met successfully in order to prevent an explosive and dangerous situation. Certain health problems in the Gaza Strip such as water pollution already creates enormous problems for Israel. It is a top priority for the international and Middle East countries to deal with this problem.
During 2015/2016 Israel’s security forces arrested 3,100 Palestinians who were suspected of being active in terror activities; about 1,000 were Hamas terrorists. Due to the increasing threat of terror, Israel has destroyed homes of terrorists. Over the past few years, Israel has restrained itself from destroying terrorists homes, but due to increased terrorist activities, Israel decided to renew this activity to a limited extent.
Israel is preparing itself to fight terror through offensive and defensive measures and is confident that it will be able to meet the challenges.