Thursday, July 17, 2014

Israeli Colonel Gives Background on Why Israel's Ground Invasion of Gaza Is Necessary

The Israel Project did a conference call earlier today with Israeli reserve Col. Miri Eisen, former deputy head of IDF's combat intelligence corps and former assistant to the director of Military intelligence, on this morning's tunnel attack by Hamas fighters -- where 13 Hamas fighters spilled out of an attack tunnel dug about 250 meters inside Israel. Their target was apparently Kibbutz Sufa, population approximately 150. They were carrying heavy weapons - 15 anti-tank weapons, Kalashnikovs with an enormous amount of ammunition, etc - with the intention of carrying out a mass casualty attack.

Here are some of the comments by Col. Eisen, which clarify the need for the ground invasion Israel has announced.

Section of a tunnel discovered running from the Gaza Strip to Israel, October 13, 2013.
(photo credit: Times of Israel/Mitch Ginsburg)  
  1. The attack all but guarantees a ground operation to clean out the tunnels:

    Everybody wants to know about the ground incursion, and why Israel needs a ground incursion, and why is the aerial [inaudible] enough, and there's no question that the biggest challenge in that sense, and the reason that the ground incursion and the idea of doing a limited ground incursion, the effectiveness of it would be against the tunneling... I think though that the debate in Israel--it's 5:15 in the afternoon today – has actually changed... they're talking much more about the fact that what may be happening today, tomorrow, tonight, tomorrow, will be a limited incursion to take care of these tunnels, that mile- to two-mile depth to see that they won't be able to continue entering into Israel and I fully recommend looking at those photos that were released by the IDF spokesperson, because you can see so clearly how they infiltrate with units, with an enormous amount of weapons, that are coming on and in to do a combined attack-kidnapping scenario.

  2. Hamas has spent years pouring vast resources into its elite "tunneling unit," including humanitarian cement imports:

    It is a lucrative economic job in the Hamas there is, it is their top-tier unit, which is called the tunneling unit. They have put an enormous amount of money when they saw that the tunneling itself was something which Israel has intelligence challenges in finding the tunnels themselves while they're building them. They put an immense amount of money and effort, they put the best into the tunneling units. They've built tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israel that are a mile, a mile and a half, a mile and 800...I mean incredibly long tunnels and we're not talking about a little mole tunnel which is dug and a person goes through like in [Shawshank] Redemption... We are talking about tunnels that are done in the tunneling mode, the way you would build nowadays trains, roads, anything that goes underground into a mountain. They are tunneling out, they are using their money, their capabilities, with little Caterpillar tractors that go in and dig out the dirt, covering it with an enormous amount of cement, and you're all aware of the issue of cement going into the Gaza Strip.

  3. The result is a full-blown underground city:

    All of the city of Gaza, throughout the different urban areas, which is so much a part of the Gaza Strip when you look at it from outside, these low-ranking urban areas, one, two, three-story houses all have a subterranean aspect. You've seen some of the tunnels that they have tunneled for a mile or two from the Gaza Strip into Israel because those we've exposed, but we have full intelligence information about the subterrian ones that they've built underneath the city. That's where Ismail Haniyeh did his tape, tape that he showed a couple of days ago. It's where they do their press conferences. Everything is underground. Now, that dilemma in that sense is to attack that, and there are different physical capabilities that could do so. But the damage, but what happens to everything around it, would be enormous and Israel will not do that.

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