Should we stand by knowing that Hamas intends to attack us?…asks Isi Leibler

February 10, 2016 by Isi Leibler
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Few envy the painful decisions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be obliged to make in the months to come.He faces grave challenges that impact on the life and death of Israelis. The current wave of Palestinian terror seems to be escalating from stabbings to shootings and there is considerable concern that the Palestinian Authority may well implode, which would lead to even greater chaos.

Isi Leibler

Isi Leibler

Hezbollah has thousands of rockets poised toward us but, for the time being, is diverted by its bitter battles in Syria on behalf of its Iranian patron.

Diplomatically, at least until after the U.S. elections, we face a hostile environment as the Obama administration signals its contempt for the Israeli government and while the Europeans seem willing to abandon us and even impose sanctions against us.

Despite the barbaric behavior of our neighbors and the criminal Palestinian society, and being aware that the Palestinians remain utterly committed to an end of Jewish sovereignty, the Europeans continue pressing Israel to make further unilateral concessions.

But the most urgent issue today is how to respond to Hamas, which, unlike the duplicitous Palestinian Authority, loudly spells out its genocidal objectives. It has always bitterly rejected any negotiation and made it abundantly clear that its ultimate mission — “no matter how long it takes” — is to “fight the Jews and kill them” and to replace the Jewish state with an Islamic caliphate.

Article 7 of the Hamas Charter is explicit: “The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to realize the promise of Allah, no matter how long it takes. The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: “Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,” except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.’”

In recent months, Hamas has repeatedly proclaimed that it is resurrecting its army with the intention of liberating and imposing Shariah law on all of “Palestine.” Its leaders continuously exhort their followers to kill Jews and hold celebrations every time an Israeli civilian has been killed by one of their crazed supporters. It is brainwashing its young children into becoming “martyrs” in forthcoming battles against Jews, stressing that these are not defensive actions but preparations for a new military confrontation against Israel at a time of its choosing.

Hamas has desperately sought to import and manufacture missiles to replenish its inventory from losses accrued during the last war. Israel maintains that it can and will eliminate these missiles if required.

But far more disconcerting are Hamas’ recent frenzied efforts to reconstruct the tunnels destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces during the last war, in addition to creating new ones. The pounding of drills as the tunnels reach (and possibly even traverse) Israel territory is understandably alarming for Israelis living near these areas.

There is no way that these tunnels leading to Israeli territory could be construed as being defensive. Indeed, Hamas leaders do not conceal their intentions. Their spokesmen have stated that a number of tunnels have already penetrated deep into Israeli territory and repeatedly boast publicly that they will be used to invade Israel and at the very least to kill or kidnap Israeli civilians who would become hostages to leverage concessions such as the release of mass murderers. Subsequent occasional reassurances that they seek to retain the cease-fire with Israel and are not preparing for another war are hardly convincing.

From evidence disclosed by Hamas, these new tunnels are far more sophisticated and advanced than those destroyed by Israel. It is also clear that the desperately needed building materials provided by foreign aid to rebuild homes for Gaza citizens has and is being siphoned by Hamas for this tunnel construction. There seems to be a frenzied urgency to complete the project speedily, as is attested by the number of Hamas leaders and activists recently killed during construction accidents.

This poses a very serious threat. Hamas may have learned lessons from its failed efforts to infiltrate into Israel via tunnels during the last war. Should they, God forbid, succeed in sending hundreds of suicidal terrorists into Israel through tunnels, they could wreak immense damage and bloodshed before elimination by the IDF.

I am not privy to military intelligence. But from all the “reassuring” government statements, it would appear that despite our extraordinary technological achievements including the Iron Dome, we have not yet devised the means of identifying or locating the tunnels.

After the last war, the IDF declared that it would intervene militarily if Hamas resumed the tunnel project. These were clearly empty words that failed to deter Hamas, which has the chutzpah to engage in tunnel construction 500 meters from the border, in plain sight of the IDF.

Does that mean that we simply stand by and await an impending attack that would take place at a time chosen by the terrorists?

Ironically, Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog, backed by his partner, MK Tzipi Livni, has emerged as a hawk on this issue and castigated the government for not responding. Herzog warned: “Why are we waiting for terrorists with drawn weapons to emerge in a kibbutz or moshav? … The political leadership must stop hesitating … and instruct the IDF to bomb the tunnels and destroy this threat. … One day, we will wake up and discover that once again, we underestimated the seriousness of the threat. … It will cost us in blood and terrible sorrow.”

Herzog is on solid ground in uttering such warnings. What country would stand idly while its neighbor constructed tunnels to penetrate its borders with suicidal terrorists whose objective was to kill as many civilians as possible?

Netanyahu is aware of this. However, having regard for the international situation and the almost certain condemnation by the U.S. if Israel were to take pre-emptive action to destroy the tunnels, he is fearful that in the present climate, this could lead to a U.N. Security Council condemnation, accompanied by sanctions from which the U.S. would abstain.

While acknowledging these concerns, we should recall how our pre-emptive action resulted in the dazzling victory of the Six-Day War and conversely, how our fear of antagonizing our friends by firing the first shot led to the disaster of the Yom Kippur War.

There is no doubt that we will be condemned if we take pre-emptive action. But a government’s prime responsibility is to protect its citizens. To wait for these frenzied killers to indulge in a murder spree against us before reacting is utterly untenable. Besides, despite the inevitable howls against us for defending ourselves, the current chaos in the Middle East and the war against ISIS make this as good a time as any to deal with the threat.

What is needed is a short, sharp global public campaign directed toward governments, highlighting the threat to our citizens, backed by evidence and public statements from Hamas. We should clearly state that unless the terror tunnels constructed with the intention of penetrating our borders are closed and future tunneling brought to a halt, Israel will have no choice other than pre-emptive steps to secure its borders and protect the lives of its citizens. Besides, we can relate to a precedent. The Egyptians overcame their problem of Hamas tunnels, which were used to smuggle arms to Islamic terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, by digging deep ditches and periodically flooding them with sea water.

Israel does not seek another war, but to stand idly while the enemy boasts of its murderous intentions is utterly irresponsible and simply procrastinating may subsequently lead to far greater casualties.

Isi Leibler lives in Jerusalem. He is a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.



4 Responses to “Should we stand by knowing that Hamas intends to attack us?…asks Isi Leibler”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    Thank goodness these two cowboys are not running the show (down).

    Like I’ve said before, the TIMING of Netanyahu’s strategies/attacks is crucial.

    And when the time is RIGHT, Netanyahu will be clear and decisive and unhesitatingly vicious with dishing the dirt on his enemies. Literally.

    Until then, have faith and pray hard that deaths and casualties don’t come to the wrong side of the fence.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Erica, cowboys had Winchester .30 lever action rifles and Colt .44 revolvers. That six shooter was also known as the ‘peacemaker’. And cowboys earned their living by moving huge dumb herds. At times cowboys are needed to mobilise bovines too busy grazing to note that the rancher is surrendering his pastures.

      Peace is not bought about by hot air gabfests or by grovelling to blood-thirsty religious fanatics. Jihad is being waged on the Jewish nation state and the “leadership” is talking about peace with a gang who sympathise with, encourage or participate in a war to the death.

      So far Israel has had to fight three wars against an enclave it evacuated in 2005 in order to secure peace, and the fanatic Jew-hates – not anti-Zionists – are preparing for another war. (Their competing Jew-haters are preparing for another war in the north). Campaigns to calm things down fail. People were demanding the reoccupation of Gaza after the last war in 2014, but the wise ones knew better and pulled back with Hamas holding two IDF corpses.

      Only idiots want war. But when you are faced by idiots who self-actualise by holy war – jihad – where the supremacy of their creed is affirmed, you must give them hell it you are to survive.

      Netanyahu must be put out to pasture and Israel’s frightened generals must be replaced by yesteryear’s fighting generals.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Congratulations, Isi, you have just demonstrated the ghetto elite giving long and serious thought to procrastination.

    The Israeli elite thinks so long and hard about issues that is never gets around to taking any action.

    The tunnels must be destroyed. Hamas must be destroyed. The IDF must not risk the lives of fighters to satisfy a purity of arms fantasy for which none give it credit. By all means warn civilians, but after that let the cannon speak.

    Bibi and his bumblers, plus the IDF surrender team (aka General Staff), should leave the Knesset and the army and join a circus as clowns. Clearly none should “rush in where angels fear to tread” but at the same time another saying needs to balance that: Thrice armed he who is armed in right, but nine times he who is the first to strike.

  3. Gil Solomon says:


    I take issue with many points in your article. You say that “there is considerable concern that the Palestinian Authority may well implode, which would lead to even greater chaos”. This is the tired old establishment line that keeps on being bandied about. Which genius first said this that it has now become a mantra? The PA is no different from Hamas, with one exception that the PA’s leadership, with their tailor made suits, is more presentable to the world.

    You refer to Hamas efforts to reconstruct tunnels destroyed by the IDF during the last war. Maybe you are referring to particular tunnels?
    The tunnel complexes were not in any way fully destroyed in 2014 as the Hamas Command & Control structure under the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza was left untouched. It seems that political considerations ruled the day.

    You commented that: “After the last war, the IDF declared that it would intervene militarily if Hamas resumed the tunnel project. These were clearly empty threats that failed to deter Hamas, which has the chutzpah to engage in tunnel construction 500 metres from the border, in plain sight of the IDF”.
    What an appalling state of affairs.
    The IDF is simply not feared by Hamas as they know it is controlled by the political elite who refuse to unleash its full lethal potential.
    One can only speculate the degree of contempt that this terrorist organisation must hold for Israel and its policy of restraint.

    Your comment that the location of the tunnels is unknown defies belief. Just ask residents on the northern and southern borders who report hearing tunnelling going on late at night and into the early hours of the morning. Also you contradicted yourself in stating earlier in the report that tunnels were being built 500 metres from the border IN FULL SIGHT of the IDF.

    You state what the Egyptians did to overcome their problems of Hamas tunnels along their border, but you fail to mention why Israel does not contemplate the same option. Is the country at war with terrorists or not?

    Finally, you mention the fact that foreign aid materials were siphoned off by Hamas from home building to tunnel construction. What you conveniently did not state was that a foolish and gullible Israel allowed the resupply of millions of tons of cement from primarily Ramallah based cement factories into Gaza. Without this resupply, these “far more sophisticated and advanced new tunnels” could never have been constructed. What a genius of a policy. Give the enemy the materials to be able to come and kill you in the future. All this done on the naive premise that someone thought that this time the material would not go into tunnel construction. How did that work out?

    Your article reinforces my view that Israel is desperately in need of real and decisive leadership. The waffling on, the indecision, the hesitation on virtually every issue must cease.

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