Why Palestinian Terror Continues Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Why Palestinian Terror Continues Amid a Pandemic

Hamas members wear protective gear as a precaution against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, April 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

During the coronavirus crisis, Israel has devoted great resources to helping the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the people of Gaza fight the pandemic. Nevertheless, the increased need for Israeli humanitarian assistance has not led to a decline in Palestinian Arab obstinacy, terrorism and incitement to violence. Recently, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas ended security and other kinds of coordination with Israel, despite the threat that the pandemic and Hamas pose to his society.

Furthermore, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida recently published an op-ed proclaiming, “Palestine is from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. It is the Palestinian people’s historical homeland, and the status of Acre [i.e., an Israeli city] is the status of Nablus [biblical Shechem], and the status of Jaffa [i.e., an Israeli city] is the status of Hebron.” In other words, the PA does not recognize Israel’s right to exist within any borders. As the Fatah Constitution states in Article 12, the goal of the Fatah movement “is the complete liberation of Palestine and the eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”

Pandemic or no pandemic, neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas is reconsidering their political ideology, which is inherently hateful towards the State of Israel. Their desire to destroy Israel is uncompromising and no humanitarian need will change it. As prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar stated in an interview, “The whole raison d’etre of the PA entity is negating the right of Israel to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people. Their philosophy is based on not how to live side by side with Israel, but how to establish another Arab state on the ruins of Israel. They never gave up on their aspirations to return millions of people into Israel.

“They speak about establishing a state in Judea/Samaria and Gaza, but they never show the borders,” he added. “In every illustration of their land, Palestine includes Israel entirely. They have never started to teach or to educate their young generation about peace with Israel. On the contrary, they keep teaching false narratives, as it is stated in their school books that Haifa, Acre, Nazareth are all part of Palestine.”

This violent ideology promoted by both Hamas and Fatah has a humanitarian cost for the Jewish state. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Center recently reported a rise in the number of terror attacks originating in Judea and Samaria. These incidents all occurred despite Israeli aid, both to Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. According to COGAT, otherwise known as the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, at least hundreds of coronavirus test kits have been transferred from Israel to the PA. COGAT also announced that “joint training sessions for Israeli and Palestinian medical personnel were organized for the professional study of the virus, the protection of medical personnel, and the testing of patients suspected of being virus carriers.”

This Israeli assistance to the PA and Gaza is of critical importance at a time when the Gaza Strip has reported its first coronavirus related death. Although the Gaza Strip has only reported 55 coronavirus cases to date, according to Israel Hayom, the coastal strip has only 60 ventilators and a chronic shortage of medication. Therefore, a massive outbreak of coronavirus there would be disastrous. For that reason, the Israeli assistance is of critical importance and so far, this assistance has helped to prevent a massive humanitarian disaster.

Civil Administration Health Coordinator Dalia Basa proclaimed: “Bacteria and viruses do not stop at the border, and the spread of the dangerous virus in Judea and Samaria can also jeopardize the health of the residents of Israel. COGAT and the Ministry of Health will continue working to help the Palestinian authorities curb the spread of the virus in the territories, both as an Israeli interest and for humanitarian reasons. We will expand medical training to Palestinian personnel as much as possible, as well as the transfer of medical equipment to the Palestinian healthcare system.”

Nevertheless, neither Fatah nor Hamas appear to be grateful for the life-saving assistance that they received from the Jewish state. However, not everyone in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza supports what the terror groups are doing. This past “nakba” (“catastrophe,” referring to the creation of the State of Israel) day, due to the coronavirus, not too many people attended anti-Israel rallies and events commemorating the nakba, which were mainly held online with poor attendance.

According to an Arab source who wishes to remain anonymous, most “Palestinian” people these days are “indifferent towards the PA, its institutions” and also the terror groups due to their corruption:

“The Palestinians are beginning to question, where is all of the billions of dollars of aid supposedly received by the PA in the past decades since its establishment? This state of emergency that they are living [in] showed them and proved to them that all the donors’ money, 90 percent of it, never reached where it should be.”

“People are more realistic today,” he declared, stressing that the coronavirus aid can be the beginning of a new relationship with the “Palestinian people,” not the corrupt leadership who refuses to relinquish their hateful ideology.

“The Palestinian people can be told lies over and over again, but it does not mean that they believe everything that is aired or published. Eastern Jerusalemites would prefer … the Israeli civil administration, rather than … a bunch of corrupt officials of their own blood. Israel was there wherever it could be, whether in Gaza or the West Bank. The fact is that Israel allowed medical equipment into Gaza and medical supplies from various sources and from Israel itself into the cities of the West Bank and into Gaza in an expeditious manner, which helped to save the lives of people,” said the source.

“Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion is popular among eastern Jerusalem Palestinians,” he added. “Moshe Lion and the Department of Eastern Jerusalem Affairs worked day and night for east Jerusalemites as per testimony of many families and many people of eastern Jerusalem today. They handed out food to the needy, as well as medical supplies, and visited the people in numerous places. He accomplished a lot and that meant a lot for the people of eastern Jerusalem.

“The conditions of the eastern part of the city are hopefully improving after the corona issue. People are very optimistic. Their complaints are being handled quickly. Many hard-core Fatah people in eastern Jerusalem are now praising the mayor and praising the government for what it did for them. The Palestinians found out who was there for them and who was not. In contrast, Fatah stole cartons of food.”

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the greater Islamic world.

Massive demonstration outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Massive demonstration in Gaza against annexation

Hundreds of Palestinian citizens formed a human chain across Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, to protest Israel’s annexation plan.

The protesters waved Palestine flags and raised banners condemning the annexation and affirming that the West Bank and Jordan Valley are Palestinian land.

Israel intends to annex the Jordan Valley and large parts of the West Bank next July, amid warnings that the move would undermine efforts for peace and a two-state solution in the region.

The intended annexation will include over 30% of the West Bank’s area, according to researchers.

Nations Resume Trampling Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Rockets launched from the Gaza Strip flying over the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel, November 13, 2019 Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Israeli army strikes Hamas targets after two rockets launched from Gaza – Israel News – Haaretz.com

27.06.2020 | 00:52

Israeli authorities say rockets fell in open areas, with no casualties or damage caused ■ Incident comes as tensions rise over Israel’s plan to annex part of the West Bank

The Israeli army struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday after two rockets were launched from the coastal enclave at southern Israel.

The launch triggered rocket alert sirens in several Israeli communities along the border.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit released a statement saying that “Israeli fighter jets struck targets belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization in the southern Gaza strip. “

The statement added that among the targets hit were “a workshop to produce rockets as well as infrastructure used to manufacture weapons for Hamas. Striking those targets harms Hamas’ capabilities.”

“The IDF gravely views any hostile activity carried out against Israel, and will continue to operate as long as it takes against attempts to harm Israel’s citizens,” the statement read.

“The IDF considers this incident with severity and holds the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for everything that takes place within the Strip and emanates from it,” the statement added.

The Shaar Hanegev regional council later said that the rockets fell in an open area, with no casualties or damage caused.

Earlier, Palestinian media outlets reported that the IDF struck a Hamas outpost in the central Gaza Strip, and that the Israeli navy fired flares near Khan Younis.

About two weeks ago, Israel struck targets in the Strip after a rocket was launched from it at southern communities, in a first since early May.

The Israeli army reported the launch, which it said triggered no rocket alert in border communities, providing no further details.

The IDF spokesperson said in a statement that in response, Israeli aircraft targeted “infrastructure used for underground activity” by Hamas in southern Gaza and tanks struck several of the organization’s military outposts.

According to Palestinian media reports, the military targets that were struck are located east of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage caused by the rocket launch.

The incident came amid increased tensions in the region as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to push through with the controversial decision to annex parts of the West Bank as early as July 1.

Gaza terror groups said ‘preparing response’ outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Gaza terror groups said ‘preparing response’ to annexation – The Jerusalem Post

“There is great coordination between the factions to devise a plan for responding to the plan, and the Joint Operations Room [of the armed groups] is continuing to hold contacts in this regard.”

The latest report came in the aftermath of Friday night’s firing of two rockets towards Israel from the Gaza Strip. The rocket attack came as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were set to receive another cash grant from Qatar. Some 100,000 families are expected to benefit from the grant, with each receiving $100.

Palestinian political activists said that Friday’s rocket attack was aimed at showing that the delivery of the Qatari grant to the Gaza Strip would not stop Hamas and other groups from pursuing the armed struggle against Israel.

“There’s no doubt that the rocket attack could not have taken place without Hamas’s prior knowledge or approval,” said Ibrahim Abu Samhadaneh, an independent political analyst from the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas does not want to be seen as if it’s accepting a bribe from Qatar not to attack Israel,” he said. “In addition, Hamas wants Israel and the rest of the world to known that the Palestinian factions are serious about their threat to escalate the situation in response to the annexation. If Hamas’s military wing says that the annexation would be considered a declaration of war, it needs to prove to the Palestinians that this is not an empty threat.”

Sources in the Gaza Strip confirmed on Saturday that Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, Al-Quds Brigades, was behind the rocket attack.

The group was quoted as saying that the Palestinian “resistance” has the right to respond to “any aggression plan” by Israel. “Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its military wing won’t stand idly by in the face of this scheme, which comes within a number of projects aiming at liquidating the Palestinian cause,” the group cautioned.

The sources noted that there is complete coordination with Hamas and the other factions in the Gaza Strip on the steps that would be taken politically and in the field in response to the annexation plan.

In a related development, Hamas said that its leaders in the Gaza Strip and abroad, who on Friday discussed the Israeli plan and its repercussions, warned that “any step taken by the Zionist occupation towards stealing our land under the name of annexation or the crime of the century constitutes a new aggression against our people.”

The “crime of the century” refers to US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mideast peace, also known as the “Deal of the Century.”

The Hamas leaders threatened to “make all efforts and use all means available to confront and foil [the annexation plan] within the framework of comprehensive resistance.”

They called on Palestinians to “unleash the widest popular movement to express rejection and anger at the annexation plans and the liquidation of the Palestinian cause.”

Israel Responds to Rocket Attacks From Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel responds to Gaza rockets with strikes on Hamas targets

By Sebastian Engel dpa (TNS) Jun 26, 2020

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli jets targeted Hamas positions early Saturday after rockets were fired at southern Israel earlier from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli armed forces said.

“In response to the 2 rockets fired at #Israel, our fighter jets struck a Hamas rocket manufacturing workshop and a weapons manufacturing facility in #Gaza,” the Israeli Defense Forces tweeted.

“We hold Hamas responsible for all acts of terror emanating from Gaza.”

The defense forces said sirens sounded in the area bordering the strip Friday evening, according to the military.

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, no one was injured in the shelling in southern Israel, and there was no damage in the area near the northern end of the Gaza Strip.

One missile landed on open ground, the other probably in the Gaza Strip itself, the report said.

The rockets were fired a few days before the possible announcement of Israel’s first annexation steps in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli government could begin annexing areas in the West Bank and the strategically important Jordan Valley on Wednesday in line with President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East.

The Palestinians firmly reject the plan. In their view, it favors Israel. The plan is also highly controversial internationally. The armed wing of the Palestinian organization Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has described any annexation as a declaration of war.

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Two rockets fired from outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Two rockets fired from Gaza Strip towards Israel: Army

Incident comes a day after warning that annexation of parts of occupied West Bank would amount to ‘declaration of war’.

Israel’s military said sirens were sounded in the area surrounding the besieged Gaza Strip [File: Amir Cohen/Reuters]

The Israeli military says two rockets have been fired from the besieged Gaza Strip towards Israel amid rising tensions as the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to announce its first steps in a controversial plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Sirens sounded in the Israeli district of Sderot late on Friday, medics said. It was the first reported rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, which is administered by Hamas, since early May

There were no reports of injuries or damage in the area.

It came a day after the armed wing of Hamas warned Israel’s annexation plans amounted to a “declaration of war”.

Beginning as soon as July 1, Netanyahu’s government could begin annexing areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategically important Jordan Valley in line with United States President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East.

The plan proposes to establish a demilitarised Palestinian state on a patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories, not including occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as the capital of a state they have long sought.

The proposal has been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians and widely condemned by the international community.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, prime minister of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), has called the annexation plans an “existential threat” and said the Palestinians will respond with their own measures. The PA has already cancelled all agreements with Israel and the US.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and the European Union say the plans threaten the possibility of reaching a peace agreement in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arab countries have also warned the planned annexation could affect security in the region.

Hamas and Israel have fought three wars in recent years, with the latest in 2014 killing 2,251 Palestinians and 74 people on the Israeli side.

War Being Declared Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Israel’s planned West Bank annexation is a ‘declaration of war,’ says Hamas

Trey Yingst

Israel’s planned annexation of West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley is considered a declaration of war, according to Hamas, the group in control of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas military spokesperson Abu Obeida made the statements Thursday over a video feed saying Israel would bitterly regret the decision to apply their laws over the disputed territory.

The anticipated Palestinian resistance was reiterated by Senior Hamas Official Dr. Basem Naim, who told Fox News that annexation would destroy any possibility of finding a political solution to the ongoing conflict.

Palestinians would not accept these plans at all. They are going to resist these plans by all means available. Gaza is not excluded from this,” he said.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL DEMANDS ISRAEL RENOUNCE WEST BANK ANNEXATION PLANS

Palestinian demonstrators clash with the Israeli troops during a protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank and Trump’s Middle East initiative, at the village of Fasayil, in Jordan Valley, Wednesday, Jun. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Naim added that Palestinian leadership is calling on the European Union to support their position and pressure Israel to reverse course before the July 1st date, put forth by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The prime minister is hoping to push forward Israeli annexation with the support of the Trump administration. President Trump already moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Both moves that led Palestinians to describe President Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century peace plan as “dead on arrival.”

WHAT IS THE GAZA STRIP?

Over the past year, clashes have erupted multiple times between Israel and Gaza. One such example occurred after Israel conducted a targeted killing of Senior Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu el-Atta at his home in Gaza City.

The act led to days of rocket fire from Gaza exchanged with airstrikes from Israel. There is a serious concern from military officials in Jerusalem that annexation could lead to similar conflict.

“The upcoming events can develop into fighting in Gaza,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said.

Kohavi told his soldiers at a training exercise this week that clashes could also erupt in the West Bank in the coming weeks.

On Monday, thousands of Palestinians gathered in the town of Jericho to rally against Israel. The event was attended by UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov, as well as numerous other European representatives.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh spoke with Fox News at the event, stressing there would be a unified response to Israel from the West Bank and Gaza.

“The Palestinians are hoping for a Palestinian state that is sovereign, viable, contiguous and independent. Our hearts and minds are open for any serious peace negotiations,” Shtayyeh said.

Currently, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza are not willing to discuss a peace process through the lens of an American deal they describe as unfair.

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz made remarks this week saying that if Palestinians refuse to participate in talks, Israel will move forward without them. He added the Israeli military is prepared for a variety of possibilities in the wake of annexation.

“We will work to reduce as much as possible the danger of turning the State of Israel into a binational state while making sure that Israel remains in control of its security,” Gantz said.

Trey Yingst currently serves as a Jerusalem-based general assignment reporter for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in August 2018.

The Nations Continue to Trample Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

As well Israel threatens West Bank annexation, Gazans recall settler withdrawal

(Updates with U.N. official urging peace)

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA, June 25 (Reuters) – Vineyard owner Haidar al-Zahar recalls with joy the day in 2005 when Israel removed its settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip, part of a withdrawal that few Palestinians thought they would ever see.

“I felt like a prisoner who suddenly found himself a free man,” he said.

A decade and a half later he is on the warpath as Israel considers whether to annex its Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – 40 km (25 miles) away from Gaza – which Palestinians seek as the heartland of a future state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on annexing parts of the West Bank, where more than 420,000 settlers live, citing Israel’s security needs, and religious and historic ties to the land.

“Israel today has all the power. No one can deny that – they can do whatever they want,” Zahar, 68, said in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas.

He urged Palestinians to wage “armed resistance” to prevent annexation, claiming that Israel evacuated its troops and 8,500 settlers from Gaza a decade and a half ago in part because of Palestinian attacks.

“Without willing martyrs, nothing will change,” he said.

Hamas’s armed wing echoed that call for confrontation on Thursday, calling annexation “a declaration of war against our Palestinian people”.

“We will make the enemy bite its fingers in regret for such a sinful decision,” said Abu Ubaida, spokesman of the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades.

Israel captured Gaza and the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem, in a 1967 war. It unilaterally withdrew its settlers and troops from Gaza in 2005, saying it wanted to improve its security and international status in the absence of peace talks.

However it enforces a blockade on Gaza, and restricts the movement of people and goods, citing security concerns about Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups there.

On Thursday the United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov reiterated the U.N.’s position that annexing parts of the West Bank would be “against international law” – which Israel disputes.

But he urged Palestinian leaders not to “stray away from the path of peace” and highlighted the dangers if Palestinians were left feeling there was no prospect of a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

“That only creates opportunities for radicals or people with more destructive agendas to come in and fill that vacuum,” Mladenov said in Jerusalem.

“Another explosion, another war that would happen here would be a terrible, terrible tragedy. Not just a human tragedy but a failure of leadership on all sides,” he told journalists.

However, in the southern Gaza district of Rafah, Mohammad Seidam, 84, said West Bank Palestinians should not give up hope. “In Gaza they had built gardens, farms and greenhouses and God removed them,” he said. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, additional reporting by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem Writing by Rami Ayyub and Jeffrey Heller; editing by John Stonestreet and Alexandra Hudson)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Unrest to Spill Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

IDF chief warns anti-annexation unrest in West Bank could spill over to Gaza | The Times of Israel

By Alexander Fulbright

23 June 2020, 10:23 pm

Aviv Kohavi tells troops they could soon be facing ‘riots and terror,’ but does not mention annexation plan by name

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kovahi warned Wednesday Israel could soon face violent unrest in the West Bank, which could easily spread to Gaza, as the army preps for possible violence in response to the government’s plans to begin annexing lands claimed by the Palestinians.

Speaking at a military exercise in the north, Kohavi did not mention the controversial plan by name, but told soldiers they may soon need to shift their attention toward the West Bank should predictions of fighting in reaction to the move prove true.

“You can find yourself in a few weeks in the Judea and Samaria area because of riots and terror,” he was quoted saying in an IDF statement, using the biblical names of the West Bank.

“The upcoming events can develop into fighting in Gaza,” he added, predicting that months of calm with the normally tense enclave could return to intense fighting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month, a move stridently opposed by the Palestinians and much of the international community.

Kohavi has refrained from commenting on the potential annexation of West Bank territories slated for Israel under the Trump administration’s peace plan, which Netanyahu can begin advancing on July 1 as part of his agreement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The military has been preparing for a range of scenarios in response to annexation, but has been largely left out of the loop concerning Netanyahu’s plans, making it difficult to fully plan accordingly.

In a briefing Tuesday with reporters, Gantz said he’s reviewed potential annexation responses with the army and that the IDF is taking into account the possible consequences of the move.

“There is a security challenge in the Judea and Samaria area, and it may be a greater challenge as a result of applying the law — if and when that happens,” Gantz said.

The Palestinians have denounced Netanyahu’s annexation plans, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declaring last month his West Bank-based PA was no longer bound by its agreements with Israel, including on security cooperation.

Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules Gaza, has called for annexation to be met with “resistance.”

The prospect of unilateral annexation has been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against doing so.

Though the White House has signaled it won’t oppose annexation, Trump administration officials have signaled ambivalence about the timing of such a move and are expected to meet this week to make a final decision on whether to back Netanyahu’s plans.

Hamas Is Not Letting Up Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Hamas Is Not Letting Up Against Israel

Palestinian police officers loyal to Hamas march during a graduation ceremony in Gaza City, April 29, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Some individuals serve as terrorist entrepreneurs or enablers, working with multiple militant organizations of different backgrounds. Mohammed al-Zawari, an engineer who contributed to drone arsenals for both Hamas and Hezbollah, was a notable example of a cross-group terrorist enabler until 2016, when Israel allegedly killed him in Tunisia.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the detention of another terrorist facilitator: Mahmoud Baker, a senior arms smuggler who has worked with various Palestinian militant organizations in the Gaza Strip.

With help from Israel’s domestic and military intelligence services, the Israeli Navy detained Baker and another unidentified smuggler in Gaza several weeks ago in what the IDF called a “significant operational achievement.” Baker was indicted in an Israeli court earlier this month.

Information gleaned during the investigation helped Israel’s security forces foil another attempt to smuggle arms from the Sinai Peninsula to Hamas’ naval commando unit. This development is one among many Israeli seizures of weapons bound for Gaza via sea and land-based routes from the Sinai.

Shortly after the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group started developing a professional naval commando unit focused on infiltrating Israel to carry out attacks and kidnappings. Hamas’s leadership recognized that naval commandos could be an attractive option to penetrate Israeli territory after Israel successfully targeted significant portions of Hamas’ underground tunnel network.

Earlier this year, Israeli border officers seized sophisticated weapons, including gun scopes and diving flashlights, which were likely destined for Hamas’ naval commandos.

Egypt’s parallel campaign against tunnel infrastructure along the Sinai-Gaza border has likely increased pressure on Hamas to rely more on sea-based smuggling, similar to the details in Wednesday’s announcement.

However, despite Israeli successes, Hamas’ naval capabilities have grown considerably over the years to include military-grade diving equipment and dozens of elite fighters, some of whom were likely trained in Iran. Hamas naval operatives also actively prepare for attacks against Israel using underwater tunnels and explosive vessels.

Amid Gaza’s growing financial crisis, Israel’s latest weapons seizure shows that Hamas continues to divert resources and attention away from civilian reconstruction programs and towards the development of deadly terrorist capabilities.

While smuggler Mahmoud Baker’s primary affiliation remains unclear, Palestinian terrorist organizations have relied primarily on Iran and the Islamic State’s Affiliate in Sinai (Wilayat Sinai) to facilitate weapons transfers from Sinai.

Wilayat Sinai continues to maintains a major presence in the northeastern region of the peninsula, along the border with Gaza. It would not be surprising if Baker maintained close ties to both Palestinian and Sinai-based terrorists given the region’s complex history.

For years, Hamas and Wilayat Sinai engaged in tactical forms of cooperation including two-way cross-border weapons smuggling. Gaza even served as a safe haven for Wilayat Sinai leaders evading Egyptian counter-terrorism operations. However, political-level tensions between both organizations persisted. In 2017, Palestinian sources speaking with the Times of Israel revealed that dozens of Hamas operatives had defected to Wilayat Sinai, including highly trained terrorists and naval commandos. A year later, relations between both terrorist organizations deteriorated considerably as Wilayat Sinai declared war on Hamas.

Despite that tension, terrorist operatives appear to maintain close ties on both sides of the Sinai-Gaza border. With Egypt’s approval, Israel has allegedly conducted numerous airstrikes against Wilayat Sinai targets in recent years, including some weapons transfers to Gaza-based terrorist groups.

Israel has also reportedly waged a large-scale intelligence-led operation in Sinai to inhibit the flow of weapons and money to Palestinian terrorist groups. From November 2018-May 2019, Israel targeted three trucks in the Sinai, including one carrying Iranian missiles meant for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to Palestinian sources speaking with i24 News.

Israel’s latest interception of a Gaza-bound arms shipment highlights the country’s multi-faceted approach to combating weapons smuggling to Palestinian terrorist groups. Israel relies on various offensive measures, including a combination of air strikes and naval operations. But Israel is also increasingly adopting strategies to disrupt terrorist activities, including the construction of an underwater barrier to deter Palestinian naval operatives from infiltrating Israel.

Like the recent operation targeting Mahmoud Baker, Israeli counter-terrorism measures, irrespective of the form they take, depend heavily on high levels of readiness and strong intelligence capabilities to foil persistent terrorist plots and activities. But Hamas is not letting up in its desire to strike — and destroy — Israel.

Steven Emerson is considered one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing, and operations. He serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit organization that serves as one of the world’s largest storehouses of archival data and intelligence on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.