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On a military level, Iran provides Hamas fighters with top military training and instruction from the commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Islamic Republic also engages in delivering weapons in single components to the Sinai, paying the Sinai Bedouins for transferring the weapons through the Gaza tunnels.
The results of the Iran-Hamas connection were revealed this past summer when Egyptian police took control of nine weapons caches across hideouts the Sinai Peninsula. The weapons caches, which were hidden in Rafah city and the port city, Al-Arish, were about to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.
Nearly 200 anti-aircraft missiles, 90 artillery shells, 200 bullets of varying sizes and anti-tank landmines, machine guns and ammunitions were among the weapons found according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. Egyptian security also seized 100 kilograms of TNT explosives from a hideout in a Rafah cemetery as well as 500 smuggling tunnels. The large number of missiles indicates that Palestinian terror groups in Gaza may possess a higher number of projectiles than originally assumed.
Both Iran and Syria continue to be the chief sources for weapons bound for the Gaza Strip, as Hamas builds a stockpile of rockets targeting close to one million Israelis in range.
But readers of the Newsweek article (June 1), “Gaza is about Butter, Not Guns,” by Dan Ephron, would have gained a completely different understanding of this situation. Ephron highlights, what is in his view, are the economic benefits that Israel elicits from the blockade, while completely downplaying any security threats that Gaza terror groups pose to Israelis.
And the threats are very real. This past September alone, the number of Gaza rocket attacks on southern Israel sharply increased, with close to 20 Qassams and mortar rockets fired at residential areas in the western Negev and Ashkelon. One rocket struck between two day-care centers in on a southern Israeli kibbutz in the morning on September 12, right before children were scheduled to arrive. No one was injured although one nursery sustained damages.
As articles blaming Israel for failed Mideast peace continue to stream into the headlines, it is clear that the Mideast reality will continue just as it always has– with Iran as an increasing mobilizing force. With statements like that of Ahmed Jaabari, the leader of Hamas’ military wing, who threatened a wave of violence intended to derail the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks just two weeks ago, Israelis have no choice but to prepare themselves for war. For Israel, terror and war are always a few steps behind peace, whether mainstream media chooses to document this angle or not.
Anav Silverman, a native of Maine, writes from Jerusalem, Israel where she is an educator at Hebrew University’s Secondary School of Education. She also works as an international correspondent at Sderot Media Center: www.SderotMedia.org.il and has written for the BBC, Jerusalem Post, FrontPageMagazine, The Philadelphia Bulletin, The Huffington Post and other publications
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