A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
August 19 2011- Terror Attack in the Negev
It was a quiet summer, one in which I anticipated generating limited entries into this blog until mid-September, when I would begin writing from Israel. Unfortunately, that calm ended today, with a series of coordinated terror attacks on Israelis along the Egyptian border. The attack, for which no one has taken direct responsibility, (as of yet), killed eight Israelis. Though the attackers have not yet been identified, they were most likely members of the Rejection Front; a group that is even more radical than Hamas. These attacks clearly caught Hamas by surprise. It is also clear Hamas feels that attacks against Israel are not currently in their interest, considering the uncertain state of their relations, both with the Egyptians and with their Syrian patron.
Israel immediately retaliated for today's attacks. Reportedly the retaliatory strike killed the leader of the group who is allegedly responsible for the attack. The Israeli retaliation resulted in those groups firing missiles into Israel at Ashkelon. The Iron Dome system intercepted the missile that could have landed in a populated place.
This most recent attack on the negev was well coordinated, with as many as 15 terrorists involved. It was, without question, the largest terror attack (in terms of participants) that I can remember in many years. Is this the beginning of a series of attacks, or an isolated attack? It's hard to know. Sadly, I would bet on the former. It has been clear for quite a while, (certainly since the downfall of of Mubarak), that Israel cannot leave its border with Egypt under-defended or not defended at all. The border between Gaza and Egypt is open to all who own a tunnel, that makes the whole border between Israel and Egypt vulnerable.
Israel’s response was to retaliate by bombing terrorist targets in Gaza. While this feels good, it will not deter the terrorists. That being said, the question remains, how to respond effectively to terror attacks, without allowing the situation to spiral out of control. Finding this answer provides a much more difficult challenge.