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All’s fair in love and war? — Part 1

The twelfth and last ceasefire was again broken by Hamas a full eight hours before it was due to expire at midnight on August 19. Israel immediately withdrew its delegation away from the ceasefire talks in Egypt as Israel refuses to negotiate under fire. A Hamas official, a member of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, blamed Israel for the breakdown in truce talks and postulated: “Israel imposed war on us again.” Israel responded to the rocket fire with airstrikes against Hamas and other terrorist targets, and since the resumption of hostilities on August 20 IAF strikes have wreaked havoc upon both the Hamas leadership and also upon its infrastructure in Gaza.

Israel’s ‘most wanted’ Hamas operative, Muhammad Deif, was also targeted in the early hours of the morning of August 20 when the IAF dropped two bunker-buster bombs on his home, killing Deif’s wife, son, and daughter; there has been no confirmation that Deif was actually killed in the strike. Hamas says that Deif was not at home that night; that he is still alive and operating as Hamas’s military chief; however, it has offered no proof to substantiate its claim that he is alive. Israel believes Deif died in the attack and that Hamas is bluffing in an attempt to cover up a very significant military loss as well as a huge loss in public confidence. A photograph of a Shifa hospital death certificate released hours after the airstrike gave the names of Deif’s wife and son; however, later that morning another certificate was released that showed the name of Muhammad Deif as well as his wife and son. This begs the question of which one is the true certificate? Did Deif die or did he survive?

Deif has had the survival rate of a cat; he survived four previous assassination attempts, but from all the strikes against him he has suffered the loss of his legs, his arms, and one eye; yet he continued to command the al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades — the armed wing of Hamas — and is responsible for the planning and overseeing of the attacks against Israel. For the most part Deif has lived furtively in hiding, out of sight for years, rarely even going to his home; however, Israel says that it would not have targeted Deif’s home if it did not have strong intelligence that he was there.

The following day Lebanese media reported that Hamas’s political kingpin, Khaled Mashaal, who is cloistered in a five-star hotel in Qatar, was being pressured to agree to an Egyptian ceasefire proposal. Mashaal wished to consult directly with Muhammad Deif and did so contrary to established Hamas secrecy protocols. Mashaal broke protocol and directly contacted Deif in the Gaza Strip to discuss a ceasefire with Israel, a call that was evidently intercepted by Israeli intelligence and which pinpointed Deif’s location. The Lebanese report stated that shortly after the contact Israel authorized an airstrike on Deif’s Gaza City residence.

The debatable question of whether Muhammad Deif was or was not killed by Israel in its fifth attempt on his life was soon bulldozed off the Israeli news headlines. A report that three top Hamas commanders had been killed in another Israeli airstrike was cause for celebration in Israel. The three senior commanders — Muhammed Abu Shamaleh, Muhammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar — were killed in an airstrike as they met in a home near the southern Gazan town of Rafah early in the morning on August 21. Israel said that Hamas’s military wing has few commanders, and that the assassinations would be a heavy blow to the terror organization.

Hamas was indeed stunned; its leaders were left in a state of shock. In a knee-jerk reaction Hamas began arresting Palestinian men, accusing them of being Israeli collaborators, and summarily executing them. Numbers of Palestinians had been previously executed under the pretext of their being collaborators with Israel; it has always been a convenient charge and, apparently, an acceptable way to cover up Hamas murders. However, following the deadly airstrike on the three commanders Hamas gunmen threw themselves into frenzied overdrive, executing seven Palestinians the same day as the airstrike.

A further 18 Palestinians were executed the following day; six of those were dragged out of a crowd of worshipers exiting a mosque, thrown to the ground and riddled with bullets. Others were lined up against a wall and sprayed with bullets. Over the next days more Palestinians were killed after being accused of having ‘collaborated’ with Israel. At the height of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge a Palestinian media source said that 30 suspected collaborators had been executed, which at this time of writing brings the total of known executions of ‘suspected collaborators’ to 42 since the beginning of the latest round of hostilities.

Israel obviously uses human intelligence, which is known in intelligence circles as HUMINT; however, it is highly unlikely that Israel could manage to get anywhere near the number of 42 Gazans to cooperate in spying against Hamas when there is such an atmosphere of fear and terror in Gaza. Many Gazan men have been shot in their knees for simply being a member of Abu Mazen’s Fatah faction and not a member of Hamas. A number of Fatah members were also thrown down to their death from the tops of high-rise buildings.

The Hamas terror group is paranoid about information being passed over to Israel or anyone else. This fact was acutely demonstrated by its execution of its own Hamas official Ayman Taha two weeks ago over suspicions that he collaborated with an Arab intelligence agency. In reality Hamas gunmen live only to kill and maim and it certainly appears that the recent spate of bloody executions is motivated by sheer panic on the part of Hamas.

Hamas cannot understand how Israel knows what it obviously knows. And Israel uses its intelligence to deadly effect. Another Hamas official was targeted by the IAF on Sunday, August 24. The air force struck Muhammad Al-Aoul, a top figure in Hamas’s finance division, making him the latest high-ranking member of the terror organization to be targeted in recent days. Apparently, bundles of money were scattered round about Al-Aoul’s wrecked car, which means money is still flowing into Gaza.

Deadly airstrikes are taking place on a daily basis, which without doubt means that Israel’s intelligence network has suffered no loss from the wholesale slaughter of so-called ‘Israeli collaborators.’ These poor folk were probably no more than innocent civilians who have now been added to all the other hundreds of innocent civilians whom Israel is said to have killed. Hamas has yet to learn that God Almighty chose to give the average Jewish person a much higher intelligence than the average Gentile person. That statement is not racist, it is the truth; that fact is also borne out through Jews having received one third of all the Nobel prizes even though Jews only constitute half of one percent of the world’s population. Israel’s capabilities in the intelligence and high-tech fields is legendary. Hamas is finding this out the hard way.

To be continued

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