Israel must take a more proactive approach if it wants to deprive Hamas of its ability to incite Palestinians to terrorism, a security expert says, including an enhanced cyber campaign to remove incitement material that is online and that fuels violence against Israelis.
Over the past few weeks, the Israeli defense establishment has detected an undeniable spike in Hamas’ online efforts to spark terrorism and unrest, especially on social media. It’s part of Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar’s strategy to destabilize the West Bank and Jerusalem and inflict Israeli casualties while weakening its domestic rival, the Palestinian Authority, all without risking the territory. of Hamas, Gaza.
Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the International Counterterrorism Institute (ICT) in Herzliya, told JNS that now is the time for an all-out offensive cyber campaign to disrupt and eliminate incitement to hatred and violence on Arab social networks. media networks.
“The state has done almost nothing offensively on this front and has waited for platforms, like Facebook, to act. The state should not wait; it should take down this material itself,” Karmon said.
In the area of the information campaign, he said, Israel has made a lackluster effort to deflate Hamas’ false claims that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger. “No one is showing footage from inside the mosque of how the rioters are preparing to attack the security forces and what they are entering the mosque with. No one is showing what the Waqf (the Jordanian Islamic trust in charge of the Temple Mount site) is telling worshippers. It’s time for this material to come out,”
He proposed that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy approach this project in a targeted manner.
On the military front, Karmon said that if Israel opted for targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders, then it would have no choice but to launch a major military offensive designed to target and eliminate the Hamas leadership.
“The timing is critical because if this government falls before this decision is made, a transitional government will take over, then a new government will have to be formed, and the window of opportunity to order preparations for such a maneuver will be over.” , did he declare. Noted.
A return to targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders clearly means war, Karmon said, adding that “Sinwar is just the symbol because he is the one talking now; he is the commander. Others will come after him. It must be a succession of targeted assassinations to reinstall deterrence, and those in leadership who survive must enter the deepest tunnels. They wouldn’t have time to appear in protests or on television,” he said.
Targeted assassinations played a key role in ending the Second Intifada (2000-2005), Karmon pointed out, noting the assassinations of late Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in March and April 2004. Several others Senior Hamas and Palestinian Islam members were also killed by Israel during this time.
“Obviously this will lead to a conflict with Hamas. It’s not something that has to happen today. But Israel will have to put an end to the armed wing of Hamas in the near future,” he argued. “Until that happens, we will remain trapped in this cycle of operations and rocket attacks every three to four years, and there will be no chance of a diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority developing. . Israel allows the PA to weaken.
Ordering such a move, Karmon said, would entail a fundamental strategic shift, meaning the idea of ordering a targeted assassination of Sinwar alone would only be the start of such a transformation should the government ever choose such an option.
“Call for ever more violence”
In the meantime, Israel has limited its actions against Hamas to the civil-economic sphere, sealing the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza and preventing 12,000 Palestinian workers from accessing work in Israel, thus putting pressure on the Islamist regime in Gaza a response to his incitement.
In the West Bank and Israel, security forces are working around the clock to try to disrupt the wave of terrorism.
The joint command room opened in Nahshonim, a kibbutz in central Israel near Elad, manned by Israel Police, Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet intelligence agency led to the capture of As’ ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, 20, from the Palestinian village of Rumana near Jenin, after a 60-hour manhunt that followed their deadly rampage in the ax through the city, killing three.
At the height of the searches, 800 members of the security forces from different units participated under the command of the police. The units included the special military forces Maglan and Egoz, as well as the Miroul unit, which specialized in searching for people based on terrain analyses.
Drones and radars were deployed in all areas where security chiefs believed the terrorists were hiding, feeding the command room with intelligence.
“All of this was done knowing that the terrorists were between Elad and Rosh HaAyin,” a military official said Sunday. Police also obtained forensic evidence, aiding search efforts.
“This is an area with many caves and channels – all of which could be used as hiding places. We identified the area between Route 400 and the security fence as the polygon in which we understood they were hiding,” said said the source.
“The initial capture was carried out by a combined team comprising Maglan, Miroul and the Shin Bet. They saw that a bush looked different, and when they got closer, according to intelligence, they saw that the bush was moving in a breathing pattern. They then called on the terrorists to surrender,” the source said.
The terrorists entered Israel on Independence Day, May 5, through the security fence before entering the vehicle of one of their victims, Oren Ben Iftah, who accompanied him to Elad and killed him. IDF Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox and Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig. General Avi Bluth distributed the lessons learned to 11 brigade commanders who are actively protecting the area.
Security forces are constantly monitoring incitement directed at Palestinians and Arab Israelis in mixed towns, the source added, warning that online material “calls for more and more violence.”
“The fact that they [the terrorists] entered is an IDF failure. We are in charge and could not hermetically protect the 430 kilometers [barrier] region. We continually debrief to learn how to do this better,” the source said.
For the future, the army is ready to improve the security barrier by various means, he added, adding that part of the work is already underway.
“We balance all the time between civil policy to allow civil life to flourish and for stability, as well as security and counter-terrorism operations. In the last month, 19 people have been killed and the government has decided to step up security measures,” he said.
Security forces have also launched a new campaign to prevent Palestinians without work permits from entering Israel and, where possible, to provide more permits to those who pass security checks.
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