An old Bedouin proverb says, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Whether or not that proves to be the case, Israel, Egypt, and Hamas now all share a common enemy.
Also, read about an IDF strike on a key Hamas terror tunnel bordering Egypt, a diplomatic trip to India, political scandal in the Netanyahu family, and more in this Weekly Israel News Recap (without the Rhetoric).
Israel Destroys Hamas Terror Tunnel on Egyptian Border
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling. (Proverbs 26:27)
On Saturday night, an Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson announced on Twitter that an Israeli Airforce strike had destroyed a 180-meter-long Hamas terror tunnel underneath Gaza’s southern border’s Kerem Shalom crossing reaching all the way into Egypt’s Sinai region.
“The IDF targeted a terror infrastructure using fighter jets in the southern Rafah region, adjacent to the Egypt-Gaza border,” the statement read. “The Hamas terror organization is accountable for all activity in and from the Gaza Strip.”
The IDF said that the tunnel, of which one part passed adjacent to a gas line, was not being used for smuggling goods across the border but was intended to bring weapons and terrorists over from Egypt in preparation for a large-scale Hamas attack.
After the strike, the Israeli military closed that border crossing, a lifeline for Gazans being the only one that allows the passage of goods between Israel and Gaza. The IDF said it was a necessary security measure and that while the consequences of the closure would be felt in the Strip, “the Hamas terror organization repeatedly chooses to harm the welfare of Gaza residents.”
An analysis on YNET news postured that the discovery and destruction of this tunnel might “disrupt the reconciliation process between Egypt and Hamas and may prompt Hamas and Islamic Jihad to attack Israel and initiate an escalation before losing all the tunnels they have dug to infiltrate Israel.”
The author also stated that the creation of the tunnel threatened not only Israel but also Egypt, which has clashed with Hamas before. Military factions in Egypt believe that ties between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas pose a major security threat to Egypt and work indirectly with Israel to stem the cross-border connections.
ISIS Declares War on Hamas
And the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. (Zechariah 14:13)
In brutal Islamic State style, the terror group released an execution video last week announcing a declaration of war on the Gaza-based terror group Hamas. In the video, Islamic State members accuse Hamas of betraying Palestinians because of their failure to prevent the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and because of their ties to Iranian support. Then they execute a Gaza man they accuse of smuggling weapons to Hamas.
The division between the two terror groups, that to the West are seemingly ideologically aligned, came as a surprise to many but also reveals stark disagreements in mission, method, and end-goal of the Islamic State and Hamas.
The accusation about betraying Palestinians comes after reports that Hamas has been jailing and torturing extremist jihadis in Gaza, confirming suspicions that the Hamas leadership is working hard to avoid a confrontation with Israel right now. The Islamic State is also urging attacks on Hamas’ members, courts, and security positions, in addition to targeting Shiites and Christians in Gaza, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamic State propaganda.
The New York Times reports that another gripe ISIS has with Hamas is its participation in Palestinian elections, which the Islamic State views as putting man-made law above God’s law.
Declaring Hamas as an enemy of the self-declared Islamic Caliphate adds another name to the group’s long list of enemies in the region. The Islamic State has been in conflict with Egyptian forces for several years now, a campaign that ramped up significantly after terrorists downed a Russian jetliner in 2015 killing over two hundred people. Recently, ISIS terrorists killed more than three hundred in an attack on a Sufi Mosque in Sinai.
In an odd political twist, the aggravation of all factions in the region has given Israel, Hamas, and Egypt a common enemy.
Israel Strengthens Ties with India
A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. (Proverbs 18:16)
Building on a quarter-century of good diplomatic relations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited India last week to focus on the two nations’ economic and technological ties. The trip to India has significance because it is only the second visit by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of fifteen years.
Israel and India have long had a positive relationship. India has a diplomatic history of non-alignment, which makes it possible for the two countries to engage without Middle East conflict always being at the center of discussions. India did vote against Trump’s embassy move in the UN, but The Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli and Indian diplomats had clarified their positions to each other through diplomatic channels and that the issue was behind them.
Netanyahu scheduled some honorary stops including the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi and a memorial to Indian troops that fought with the British against the Turks in the battle of Haifa in 1918.
The trip is much more than a symbolic vacation. Netanyahu and Israeli business leaders are expected to sign several agreements with the Indians in the field of oil and gas, renewable energy, protocol for airports, cybersecurity, and co-production of films and documentaries.
Additionally, Israel will be investing $68.6 million to foster partnerships with India in tourism, technology, agriculture, and innovation over a period of four years, a senior official in Jerusalem said ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit according to the Press Trust of India.
Video Scandal Shames Netanyahu’s Son, Flames Corruption Allegations
The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father. (Proverbs 28:7)
A recently released 2015 video showing a drunk Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Netanyahu, with friends berating women, discussing strippers and bragging about his father arranging a business deal for a friend’s father has landed the Netanyahu family in more hot water.
The 26-year-old Yair has since apologized for his behavior in the video but has also lashed out at the report calling it “wicked gossip” and politically motivated. Further criticism mounted against Yair for using a state car and state security to tour strip clubs in Tel Aviv.
Additionally, the insinuation that the prime minister rigged a business deal might significantly impact his public image. Netanyahu is already under two police investigations on corruption charges.
This isn’t Yair’s first blunder. In September he posted a cartoon with anti-Semitic imagery targeting some of his father’s critics.