Breaking Dawn: Live Update from Israel
Updated: Sep 1, 2022
Breaking Dawn - One week ago, the Israel Border Police Special Operations Unit arrested Bassam al-Saadi, the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Northern Samaria. The PIJ is a terrorist organization that spun off from the Muslim Brotherhood. PIJ rejects the Oslo Accords and has a goal to establish a sovereign Islamic Palestinian state run by religious Sharia law. PIJ calls for the military destruction of Israel and rejects a two-state solution. Al-Saadi has been wanted by the Israelis since Northern Samaria started heating up in the spring, as many of the terrorists in the rash of shootings came from that part of the country. His arrest was a feather in the cap of everyone involved, and it quickly became the topic in the news.
Al-Saadi was one of the most senior PIJ leaders ever arrested, and a PIJ response was a near-certainty. The assumption was that a response would not come from Samaria, but rather from Gaza where the Israeli Army does not operate. It was also assumed that the PIJ response would take the form of anti-tank missile fire on soldiers or on civilians, or in the form of rocket fire on Israeli towns near the Gazan border. In preparation for PIJ retaliation, the army essentially shut down the entire area. More than half a million people were affected. Roads were closed, local bomb shelters were opened, towns were locked down, schools and day-camps were closed. As the days went on and safety measures continually ramped up, Israelis began voicing their dissent. Israelis were angered that the government and the army were letting the PIJ shut down the country and determining how and when hostilities would break out. We had surrendered the initiative to the enemy without him firing a shot. Once again Israeli military deterrence was nowhere to be seen, and it quickly became the topic in the news.
The news cycle in Israel moves extremely fast. On Friday afternoon, two hours before Shabbat, everything changed. An IDF reconnaissance unit discovered a two-man PIJ anti-tank missile team setting up a laser-guided Koronet missile near the border in preparation for an attack. The PIJ team was summarily eliminated with a precision guided weapon fired from one of the many unmanned aircraft circling Gaza. The IDF took back the initiative with both hands, bombing a television station in Gaza that was broadcasting PIJ propaganda. Since Friday, the IDF have been on a manhunt, targeting all PIJ leadership in the Gaza Strip. The IDF announced that according to “all available information,” it now believes it has eliminated the PIJ Gazan leadership.
The PIJ responded in predictable fashion: they began firing salvos of rockets and mortars on Israeli towns. Many towns such as Nahal Oz, Yated, Holit, Dekel, Sede Abraham, and Kibbutz Sa’ad have been under fire. PIJ rocket fire set into action the age-old quid pro quo in which the IDF uses intelligence and tweezers to target terrorist commanders while the terrorists indiscriminately fire rockets at Israeli civilians. The global news calls this the Circle of Violence.
So far, the Hamas, who govern Gaza, have been quiet. The Hamas seem willing to allow the IDF to take care of their own most dangerous enemy, the PIJ, letting the Israelis do all the heavy lifting. Keeping the Hamas out of the fight is critical, as their arsenal is vastly more potent than that of the PIJ. You can likely recall the pictures from May 2021 when the Hamas fired dozens of rockets into Tel Aviv, over fifty miles away from Gaza. The range of PIJ rockets is much shorter, and most of their rocket fire is concentrated around the border with only one or two long-range rockets fired towards Jerusalem. Once again, Iron Dome is pulling its weight, intercepting more than three hundred rockets over the past two days, with a rate of success of greater than 95%. This makes the PIJ’s cynical use of rockets only more nefarious. On Saturday, the PIJ reported that the IDF bombed a refugee camp, killing four children. It was subsequently discovered that the children, in fact, were killed by an errant PIJ rocket, one that was aimed at Israeli children but apparently malfunctioned.
This is yet another example of misinformation that is being spread about Israel. It is our goal at USIEA to always provide unbiased education.
Wishing you a quiet week,