Het is een van de vele dingen die in de Nederlandse media niet of nauwelijks werd vermeld: Israel zei dat het een mega aanslag van Hamas had verijdeld, waarbij het via de tunnels tegelijkertijd mensen wilde ontvoeren en velen doden. Er zijn nu meer details over naar buiten gekomen. De Shin Beth is al vanaf mei bezig met deze zaak, en heeft in totaal zo’n 90 Hamas leden in verband hiermee opgepakt. De kidnapping van de drie Israelische tieners heeft het onderzoek naar deze zaak waarschijnlijk in een stroomversnelling gebracht en de Shin Beth sneller op het juiste spoor gebracht.
Een belangrijk onderdeel van het plan was ook om een coup te plegen op de Westbank en Fatah daar van de troon te stoten.
Omdat dit alles afkomstig is van Israelische bronnen verwacht ik er niet veel aandacht voor. Pas wanneer de VN, UNRWA en Human Rights Watch het bevestigen is het de aandacht van onze kwaliteitspers waard. Dat die net iets minder verstand hebben van terrorisme en de organisatie en doelen van Hamas, doet niet ter zake.
A large-scale Hamas terrorist formation in the West Bank and Jerusalem planned to destabilize the region through a series of deadly terror attacks in Israel and then topple the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority, the Shin Bet said Monday.
The Turkey-based Hamas overseas headquarters orchestrated the plot which centered ona string of mass casualty terror attacks on Israeli targets, the Shin Bet added.
The end goal was to destabilize the Palestinian territories and use the instability to carry out a military coup, overthrowing the government of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Hamas infrastructure relied on support from cells in neighboring Jordan, and on couriers who delivered terrorist finances, totaling at least two million shekels, which were used to purchase weapons and homes that were used as hideouts, according to the investigation.
Ninety three Hamas members are in Israeli custody, and the Shin Bet has questioned 46 so far. Security forces plan to indict some 70 suspects. The investigation began in May, and is ongoing, security sources said.
The Shin Bet has seized some 600,000 shekels as well as 30 firearms, seven rocket launchers, and large amounts of ammunition. Security sources stressed that the plot was uncovered at an early stage.
The Shin Bet named senior Hamas leader Salah Al-Aruri, who is currently based in Turkey, as the mastermind behind the terrorist infrastructure.
"This infrastructure stretched from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south. It is one the biggest we've seen in Judea and Samaria since Hamas's formation in 1987," a senior Shin Bet source, responsible for securing the Jerusalem district, told reporters on Monday. "They planned to carry out a coup and topple the Palestinian Authority," he added.
A second Shin Bet source said the investigation serves as a warning over Hamas's designs to replace the Palestinian Authority.
The infrastructure's local nerve center was in Ramallah, where the PA is based, but cells branched out throughout 46 Palestinian cities, towns and villages.
Khaled Mashaal, Hamas's overseas wing leader in Qatar, was aware of the plot, the sources said, though there was no involvement from Hamas in Gaza.
"The terrorists planned to undermine security, and launch a third intifada. They planned disturbances in the Temple Mount to rile the Palestinian masses. They were waiting for talks between the Israel and PA to collapse," the source said.
During questioning, Riad Nasser allegedly said all of the operatives worked according to a plan devised by Al-Aruri designed to lead to a collapse of the PA's rule.
According to Al-Ariri's plan, a number of major terror attacks in Israel cause sufficient instability to facilitate a Hamas coup.
Additional suspects in custody include Majdi Mafarja, from the Palestinian town of Bet Likia , who holds a doctorate in computing. Security sources described Mafarja as representative of "a new generation of Hamas members," adding that he is "highly intelligent" and fluent in computer programming.
Hamas sent Mafarja to Malaysia, where he trained in message encryption and computer hacking, the Shin Bet said. He was arrested on May 22.
Saleh Brakat, an Israeli citizen from Bet Safafa in east Jerusalem, was arrested on July 1 for allegedly transferring operational messages from Hamas in Jerusalem to members of the terror organization who are overseas. Brakat is active in Hamas's Da'wa system, a civilian outreach network that offers social services to Palestinians.
Mahmoud Abu Daoud, of Hebron, was arrested on July 1 on suspicion of setting up terror cells that specialized in various attacks. He allegedly set up cells for for kidnappings, others for bombings, and shooting attack cells.
Muhammad Kafia, a resident of Beitunia, near Ramallah, heads a Hamas student cell at Abu Dis University. He was arrested on June 27, and turned over 19 automatic rifles and five handguns, security forces said.
It is unclear if the same network was responsible for the kidnappings and murders of the three Israeli teens, or if that was part of this initiative. My guess has been that it was a botched kidnapping - that they only wanted one "settler"- and that if Hamas had succeeded, it would have increased Hamas' popularity in the West Bank tremendously.
Avi Issacharoff's investigation indicates that the kidnappings were planned and funded in Gaza, headed by Mahmoud Kawasme, who was released in the Shalit deal.
If Khaled Meshal was aware of the West Bank plan, it seems unlikely that he was unaware of Hamas plans in Gaza to perform its own mega-attack against Israeli civilians in the south.
Despite the idiotic bleatings of terror supporters at Mondoweiss, the extensive tunnel system across the Negev shows that a major series of terror attacks against civilians was being planned, either in coordination with or separate from the planned West Bank attacks. If the tunnels were merely to kidnap a single soldier, there is no explanation for how many there are, their size, how far they reach into Israel, or their proximity to kibbutzim. A massive, simultaneous attack involving killings plus kidnappings of civilians would make an Israeli military response very difficult.
In planning these multiple attacks, Hamas resembles Al Qaeda in the terror aspects and ISIS in its political calculations, to create an Islamist political entity and catapult itself back from its severe setback when Egyptians ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power. But Hamas doesn't behead its opponents - it just shoots them - so Western "experts" feel comfortable making artificial distinctions between Islamists who target Muslims and Westerners, and Islamists who target Jews.
Too many observers have been assuming that major Hamas terror attacks are a thing of the past, that they only shoot some rockets and attack soldiers.
While the Shin Bet says that it was working to dismantle the Hamas cells in May, it seems likely that the kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali accelerated the operation to find and neutralize these cells. And similarly the events that happened afterwards allowed the IDF to find and neutralize the threat from the tunnels.
In a very real sense, their tragic deaths may have saved countless lives.