Israel pulls most forces from Gaza as tunnels get destroyed

posted at 8:01 am on August 4, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

They took five years to build, and just a few weeks to demolish. The IDF will pull ground forces out of Gaza over the next few days, leaving a lot of destruction behind, and perhaps not just a few questions for Hamas to answer once Israelis soldiers return to their side of the Gaza border:

The IDF has destroyed Hamas’s flagship terrorism project: its network of tunnels that snuck into Israel.

Hamas spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks.

By Sunday, all of the tunnels that the IDF discovered during the offensive, or knew about before the war, will be destroyed.It is assumed that there are a few tunnels that the army has yet to identify.

Many of the underground passages were designed to send heavily armed murder squads into Israeli communities and to attack army positions from the rear. They were filled with weapons, explosives and other equipment, enabling terrorists to enter a shaft in Gaza dressed in civilian clothing and emerge in Israel, disguised as IDF soldiers and equipped to inflict mass casualties.

In some of the tunnels, the army discovered motorcycles that Hamas had earmarked for speedy raids into Israel and subsequent retreats back into Gaza.

Despite a unilateral cease-fire by Israel, Hamas continues to fire missiles northward. Israel has returned fire through airstrikes, which will also continue even after ground forces leave. Hamas also accused Israel of violating its own cease-fire, but that’s a rather hypocritical charge given that Hamas has refused any cease-fire unless totally on its own terms — and is firing rockets while complaining about Israel’s attacks.

After the IDF leaves and the war winds down, though, Hamas will face some difficult questions from Gazans. Why did they start this war in the first place? They will end up with nothing from it, not even a cease-fire on Egypt’s original terms, and now they’ve lost the tunnel system that Hamas built using the humanitarian aid that was supposed to benefit Gazans. No one in Gaza will see anything from five years of aid and the use of resources; the whole enclave has been set back at least five years, if not ten or twenty, because of a war that Hamas chose to provoke now rather than wait for the massive attack they had planned to conduct through those tunnels next month on Rosh Hashanah. The leadership of Hamas looks more incompetent than ever, and for a terrorist organization that rules by fear, the exposure of incompetence is usually fatal.

Israel will have some questions to ask itself, too. How did the tunnels get so advanced without their knowledge? The timing of the war seems rather fortuitous in retrospect, but that can’t make Israelis feel too comforted, especially those in reach of those tunnels. The IDF may have to answer for some target selections, too, such as the one yesterday in front of a UN school and refugee center. A missile strike on three militants succeeded in killing them — and another seven civilians standing at its gate. The UN official running the school angrily questioned why the strike took place at that location rather than a little farther down the road:

In Jersualem, a Palestinian backhoe driver got shot and killed after attacking a bus:

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, police said they were investigating an incident in which the driver of a backhoe apparently rammed a bus and overturned it Monday afternoon. Two people were injured, and the driver of the backhoe was shot and killed by police, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

“We’re looking at this incident as a terrorist attack,” Rosenfeld said.

Jerusalem has been largely quiet since the killing last month of an Arab teenager, allegedly by Jewish extremists in revenge for the killing of three Israeli students in the West Bank, sparked days of unrest. But Monday’s incident could set the Israeli capital on edge as the battle in Gaza continues.

The IDF’s eventual withdrawal of ground forces from Gaza may help cool tempers in Jerusalem, but don’t count on them to cool too quickly.

Update: An Israeli airstrike killed the northern commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad:

An Israeli airstrike killed a militant leader in the Gaza Strip on Monday, just hours ahead of an expected seven-hour truce announced by Israel that was meant to open a “humanitarian window” for aid.

However, the Israeli military said the cease-fire, which was to start at 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EDT) would not apply to areas where troops were still operating and where they would respond to any attacks.

The Islamic Jihad group – a close ally of Gaza’s militant Palestinian Hamas rulers – said its commander in the northern part of the strip, Daniel Mansour, died when the Israeli strike hit his home just before dawn Monday.

The war isn’t over yet. Israel is just returning to the higher-percentage strategy now that the tunnels have been demolished.


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Some of those tunnels were connected to the UN “safe houses”…also munitions were found in some UN buildings.

I think the Israeli’s did a magnificent job of restraint…thank God for their defense system or there would have been not only more Israeli casualties, but the anger would have fueled an even larger and more devastating counter attack.

10 times more civilian’s would have died if not for “Iron Dome”.

right2bright on August 4, 2014 at 8:17 AM

More good news:

IDF Snuffed out, a JihadyLeaderGoon:

https://twitter.com/AP

Gaza, PS
6h

Israeli airstrike kills Islamic Jihad northern commander Daniel Mansour at his home ahead of 7-hour Gaza truce – @AP
Read more on bigstory.ap.org

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 8:20 AM

the exposure of incompetence is usually fatal.

No it isn’t. Look at the people we (I use “we” loosely) continue to reelect.

Incompetence is a feature, not a bug.

xNavigator on August 4, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Go get’em Bibi

cmsinaz on August 4, 2014 at 8:23 AM

The timing of the discovery of the tunnels was “fortuitous”? Don’t underestimate the Israelis. I think they were waiting for the best opportunity to strike before the holiday time period. They knew what was happening underneath them.

BigAlSouth on August 4, 2014 at 8:26 AM

The UN official running the school angrily questioned why the strike took place at that location rather than a little farther down the road:

The UN can pound sand. They’ve willingly placed weapons in UN schools to help terrorists.

HotAirian on August 4, 2014 at 8:29 AM

The 2012 Democrat platform committee voted to remove any condemnation of Hamas from the platform, serving Obama administration desires. Kerry, the evil twerp, ran around for weeks trying to get some shred of a victory diplomatically for Hamas even when it was clear this “war” was going badly for them. Obama himself had that terrible conversation with Netanyahu, as there have been dark hints in the press for the last few weeks about the complete deterioration in relations between the administration and Israel. Democrats more broadly are slowly becoming anti-Israeli and their leadership does nothing at all to support Israel within the party. Are we going to see a 2016 platform that calls for the destruction of Israel?

MTF on August 4, 2014 at 8:33 AM

valerie jarrett bite me…..

crosshugger on August 4, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Can’t control you land?
Then that makes you a failed state.
It sucks to be you.

The PA did nothing to rein in Hamas as they armed and built their terror infrastructure. It would have been easy to handle this problem as a police matter, without needing an Israeli incursion to dismantle the tunnels after the fact.

But the PA chose to pussyfoot with terrorists, and now they are paying the price.

Of course, if Israel leaves the Hamas command structure built under al Shifa Hospital intact, they will not have finished the job.

Haiku Guy on August 4, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Go Bibi Go!

Have to say I’m very envious of Israel and their leadership.

gophergirl on August 4, 2014 at 8:41 AM

Update: An Israeli airstrike killed the northern commander of Palestinian Islamic Jihad:

Cool!

Cindy Munford on August 4, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Go Bibi Go!

gophergirl on August 4, 2014 at 8:41 AM

But he stopped. So there will be more mortars, missiles, tunnels, UAV, etc., in the future – till the next Gaza operation. Netanyahu is not Israel’s solution. Far from it.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Despite a unilateral cease-fire by Israel

[you might want to revise the rest of that sentence]

corona79 on August 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Does ‘Vegas have a line on how long this cease-fire will last ?
.

Despite a unilateral cease-fire by Israel, Hamas continues to fire missiles northward. Israel has returned fire through airstrikes, which will also continue even after ground forces leave. Hamas also accused Israel of violating its own cease-fire, but that’s a rather hypocritical charge given that Hamas has refused any cease-fire unless totally on its own terms — and is firing rockets while complaining about Israel’s attacks.

Ed Morrissey on August 4, 2014 at 8:01 AM

.
Never mind . . . . .

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

The IDF may have to answer for some target selections, too, such as the one yesterday in front of a UN school and refugee center. A missile strike on three militants succeeded in killing them — and another seven civilians standing at its gate. The UN official running the school angrily questioned why the strike took place at that location rather than a little farther down the road:

IDF has nothing to answer for (except maybe intelligence failure). Hamas hides behind kids, Hamas is responsible for those kids’ deaths.

As for the UN, it is a collaborator with Hamas. Arrest those in charge and put them on trial for war crimes — involving innocenct civilians in a war.

rbj on August 4, 2014 at 8:58 AM

[you might want to revise the rest of that sentence]

corona79 on August 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Why do you think that happened? The answer is go and find the conditions Israel said would be acceptable for a cease fire.

Next question: was the child killed in a house from which terrorists were firing on Israeli forces? Oops! I gave away the answer to my question to you above.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 8:58 AM

So now this conflict continues as a PR war on Twitter?

Because governance and insurgency by twitter are all the rage…

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 8:59 AM

The IDF may have to answer for some target selections, too, such as the one yesterday in front of a UN school and refugee center. A missile strike on three militants succeeded in killing them — and another seven civilians standing at its gate. The UN official running the school angrily questioned why the strike took place at that location rather than a little farther down the road:

IDF has nothing to answer for (except maybe intelligence failure). Hamas hides behind kids, Hamas is responsible for those kids’ deaths.

As for the UN, it is a collaborator with Hamas. Arrest those in charge and put them on trial for war crimes — involving innocenct civilians in a war.

rbj on August 4, 2014 at 8:58 AM

The UN should be disbanded as a corrupt organization…or maybe moved to Brussles

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Go Bibi Go!

gophergirl on August 4, 2014 at 8:41 AM

But he stopped. So there will be more mortars, missiles, tunnels, UAV, etc., in the future – till the next Gaza operation. Netanyahu is not Israel’s solution. Far from it.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM

But isn’t it strange when any form of competence seems like a breath of fresh air when compared to our government?

ConDem on August 4, 2014 at 9:07 AM

How many resources meant for humanitarian aid were diverted into building those tunnels? How many of those weapons were funded by CAIR?

The reality is clear. You can’t successfully negotiate with terrorist groups. So long as Hamas exists, there will be no peaceful solution.

Happy Nomad on August 4, 2014 at 9:07 AM

The UN should be disbanded as a corrupt organization…or maybe moved to Brussles

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

I’d prefer Leavenworth or Gitmo. But as those would require US taxpayer support, how about French Guyana (of Papillion fame?)

rbj on August 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

From the “Keith Ellison…” thread :
.


One Pic Says It All: The Evil Of Hamas

Resist We Much on August 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

The UN should be disbanded as a corrupt organization…or maybe moved to Brussles

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

I’m thinking the UN should be headquartered somewhere in Africa. Far away from the comfort and ease of NYC or a Western European city.

Happy Nomad on August 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Go Bibi Go!

gophergirl on August 4, 2014 at 8:41 AM

.
But he stopped. So there will be more mortars, missiles, tunnels, UAV, etc., in the future – till the next Gaza operation. Netanyahu is not Israel’s solution. Far from it.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 8:47 AM

.
Recommendations ?

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

But isn’t it strange when any form of competence seems like a breath of fresh air when compared to our government?

ConDem on August 4, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Only in comparison.

One Pic Says It All: The Evil Of Hamas

Resist We Much on August 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Commentary

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Move the UN to Gaza City. They already infrastructure there. We can vote via missile delivery mail…

vnvet on August 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Recommendations ?

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

The plan

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Recommendations ?

Don’t stop until there’s nothing moving in Gaza, period. Push them north and south into neighboring Arab countries as much as possible, bulldozing every square foot as you go, then close it off and reclaim an islam-free Gaza. Spend a year or so watching it and blowing up anything that pokes its head above ground.

Then settle it and turn it into another example of what can be done by a civilized society over there.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 9:17 AM

The IDF may have to answer for some target selections, too, such as the one yesterday in front of a UN school and refugee center.

I understand that there are 1000s of civilians killed as “collateral damage” in US attacks in Afghanistan alone every year for the last decade at a minimum.

Has the US answered for all of them. I thought not.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Suddenly, I like the Midas touch! ;)

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

https://twitter.com/TimesofIsrael

Retweeted by The Times of Israel
TOI ALERTS @TOIAlerts · 27m

Live blog latest: Cousin of Jerusalem terrorist had house demolished 2 weeks ago http://toi.sr/1o5Xdm9
============================================

Security officials say the terror attack in Jerusalem today may have been a revenge attack, as the man’s cousin had had his house in East Jerusalem demolished two weeks ago.
***

http://www.timesofisrael.com/day-28-hamas-wants-egypt-to-press-israel-on-ceasefire-demands-hadar-goldin-laid-to-rest/#liveblog-entry-1042255

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM

The UN should be disbanded as a corrupt organization…or maybe moved to Brussles

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 9:01 AM

.
I’d prefer Leavenworth or Gitmo. But as those would require US taxpayer support, how about French Guyana (of Papillion fame?)

rbj on August 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

.
French Guyana is not a bad choice . . . . . how ’bout Antarctica ?

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 9:33 AM

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Another attack

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Israeli-Palestinian conflict
4m

1 man seriously wounded after gunman on motorcycle opens fire at bus stop by Jerusalem’s Hebrew University; security forces now conducting manhunt in attempt to apprehend attacker – @haaretzcom
Read more on haaretz.com

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.608723

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Speaking of BikerJihadys:

https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson

IDF @IDFSpokesperson · 19h

We found these motorcycles in a tunnel inside Israel. Hamas’ plan? Abduct Israelis & rush back to Gaza with hostages. pic.twitter.com/jvGpZDfBHR

https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/496001481724530688/photo/1

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Another attack

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Shy Guy: NeverEnding,..the Enemy is within the gates:)

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:55 AM

my comment was eaten by the thread monster but Brussels makes sense because fascists like consolidation…

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Speaking of BikerJihadys:

https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson

IDF @IDFSpokesperson · 19h

We found these motorcycles in a tunnel inside Israel. Hamas’ plan? Abduct Israelis & rush back to Gaza with hostages. pic.twitter.com/jvGpZDfBHR

https://twitter.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/496001481724530688/photo/1

canopfor on August 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Ransom of civilians…

Cartels do that as well.

workingclass artist on August 4, 2014 at 10:11 AM

The IDF may have to answer for some target selections, too, such as the one yesterday in front of a UN school and refugee center. A missile strike on three militants succeeded in killing them — and another seven civilians standing at its gate. The UN official running the school angrily questioned why the strike took place at that location rather than a little farther down the road:

F*ck that.

So long as the UN is *COMPLICIT*, as evidenced by not only the number of tunnels/munitions depots and terrorist HQ’s housed in and under UN facilities, but also by the UN expressly and willingly *GIVING HAMAS THEIR ROCKETS BACK AFTER BEING SEIZED* – well… f*ck you, UN. You’ve made yourself a terrorist organization in the process.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 10:16 AM

A raid, not a campaign.

formwiz on August 4, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The Gazans will never hold Hamas responsible. They are too stupid to do that. They elected Hamas in the first place. These people are raised on the idea of annihilating the Jews and Israel. They will never stop and the war will go on forever. They will never be neighbors. Israel should have wiped them off them map. UN is just as guilty as Hamas.

COgirl on August 4, 2014 at 11:19 AM

I understand that there are 1000s of civilians killed as “collateral damage” in US attacks in Afghanistan alone every year for the last decade at a minimum.

Has the US answered for all of them. I thought not.

Shy Guy on August 4, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Your understanding would be incorrect. There is a year by year breakdown of civilian casualties in Afghanistan but as an example here is quote from the UN (No friend of the US) report. There have been 2,900 overall so far in 14.

UNAMA attributed 74 per cent of all civilian casualties to Anti-Government Elements and nine per cent to Pro-Government Forces – eight per cent to Afghan national security forces and one per cent to international military forces – while 12 per cent occurred in ground engagements between insurgents and Afghan forces which could not be attributed to a specific party. The remaining casualties were caused mainly by explosive remnants of war.
Of the 1,901 civilian casualties resulting from ground combat and crossfire, UNAMA attributed 988, or 52 per cent, to Anti-Government Elements and 274, equivalent to 14 per cent, to Pro-Government Forces, while 599, or 32 per cent, could not be attributed and 38 civilian casualties, equivalent to two per cent, resulted from cross-border shelling.

So, international forces including the US account for 1% of the identifiable civilian casualties. My point here is not to castigate Israel and their methods, but to point out the idea that the US is killing thousands of innocent Afghans on a yearly basis is completely false. The heavily urban and highly populated area of Gaza and the mostly rural areas of Afghanistan are completely different battlefields. I’m surprised there have been as few killed in Gaza as there have been.

SoonerMarine on August 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

When you spend five years building offensive infrastructure and it gets destroyed in a few weeks, you definitely to replace your offensive coordinator.

Steelweaver52 on August 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM

The Palis also lose 1 – 1.5 kilometers of land along their entire border with Israel. Hopefully that is a permanent no-go strip of land. Squeeze the rats into an ever smaller corner of the stinking hell-hole they choose to have.

Ogabe on August 4, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Some of those tunnels were connected to the UN “safe houses”…also munitions were found in some UN buildings.

I think the Israeli’s did a magnificent job of restraint…thank God for their defense system or there would have been not only more Israeli casualties, but the anger would have fueled an even larger and more devastating counter attack.

10 times more civilian’s would have died if not for “Iron Dome”.

right2bright on August 4, 2014 at 8:17 AM

They start the tunnels in UN locations so that the dirt they dig out of the tunnels can be bagged into recycled bags from UN aid materials like flour and grain and be smuggled away from the tunnel location.

This is one of the ways they fooled with Israeli surveillance that’s always looking for signs of tunneling.

In the future I believe it will be much more difficult to obtain concrete in Gaza.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Despite a unilateral cease-fire by Israel, Hamas continues to fire missiles northward. Israel has returned fire through airstrikes…

How can a unilateral cease-fire involve launching airstrikes? Your post makes no sense.

Tlaloc on August 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Recommendations ?

Don’t stop until there’s nothing moving in Gaza, period. Push them north and south into neighboring Arab countries as much as possible, bulldozing every square foot as you go, then close it off and reclaim an islam-free Gaza. Spend a year or so watching it and blowing up anything that pokes its head above ground.

Then settle it and turn it into another example of what can be done by a civilized society over there.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 9:17 AM

In other words, genocide of the native Palestinians.

I do appreciate you being forthright about your utter disdain for arab life. It makes it so much easier when you stop pretending to be human.

Tlaloc on August 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Despite a unilateral cease-fire by Israel, Hamas continues to fire missiles northward. Israel has returned fire through airstrikes…

How can a unilateral cease-fire involve launching airstrikes? Your post makes no sense.

Tlaloc on August 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

It’s Gaza Jake.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

In other words, genocide of the native Palestinians.

I do appreciate you being forthright about your utter disdain for arab life. It makes it so much easier when you stop pretending to be human.

Tlaloc on August 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Doesn’t have to include killing any of them. I said to move them (Egypt/Jordan). If they want to resist, so be it.

But yes, my disdain for arab life has diminished over my lifetime. Maybe it has to do with watching them terrorize and murder themselves and others, dance in the streets to celebrate the murder of innocents, openly proclaim their desire to utterly commit genocide on everyone else, use their own women and children as human shields, and display open disdain for *all* life, including their own.

See, from where I sit, *they* are the ones that have stopped pretending to be human. Mine is a human reaction to their behavior. But you take exception to the reaction, not the catalyst.

Telling.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Disdain increased, not diminished.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The Gazans will never hold Hamas responsible. They are too stupid to do that. They elected Hamas in the first place. These people are raised on the idea of annihilating the Jews and Israel. They will never stop and the war will go on forever. They will never be neighbors. Israel should have wiped them off them map. UN is just as guilty as Hamas.

COgirl on August 4, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Why, it’s almost like expecting liberals to hold the Democrats/Obama responsible for anything.

LOL

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 2:35 PM

I hope the IDF left a few tunnels with some loud surprises in them.

Missilengr on August 4, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Don’t stop until there’s nothing moving in Gaza, period. Push them north and south into neighboring Arab countries as much as possible, bulldozing every square foot as you go, then close it off and reclaim an islam-free Gaza. Spend a year or so watching it and blowing up anything that pokes its head above ground.

Then settle it and turn it into another example of what can be done by a civilized society over there.

Midas on August 4, 2014 at 9:17 AM

.
In other words, genocide of the native Palestinians.

I do appreciate you being forthright about your utter disdain for arab life. It makes it so much easier when you stop pretending to be human.

Tlaloc on August 4, 2014 at 2:20 PM

.
What Midas described is NOT “genocide”.

Not all Arabs are the same … if we oppose militant Arabs in their attempts at displacing and abolishing Israel, we are NOT expressing or displaying “disdain for Arab life”, nor does it disqualify anyone from their status as “human”.
.
The Gaza citizens (from everything I know) chose Hamas to be their political overlords.
Now, their political overlords are using them as “human shields” to aid in attacking Israel. Their shouldn’t be any special concessions on the part of Israel in putting a stop to all of these rockets flying in their direction.

Israel OWES NO DEBT to the Gaza civilians … the Gaza civilians owe an apology to Israel, for choosing and accepting Hamas as their political leaders.

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 7:30 PM

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 7:30 PM

.
Their There shouldn’t be …

listens2glenn on August 4, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Kudos to Israel. As for the tunnels, I seem to recall an article years ago about the issue and how Israel was developing acoustic and seismic network of sensors to id tunnels being built and stocked. Well played to hold fire, then leverage the palis’ stupidity and arrogance to inflict maximum pain while wiping the tunnels out. I hope they salted the remanants of the tunnels with nice big devastating packages should the palis attempt to rebuild the tunnels. Bravo, Bibi.

AH_C on August 4, 2014 at 8:22 PM

How did the Israelis go about “destroying” those tunnels? If they collapsed them, wouldn’t the entire Gaza strip be several feet lower?

schmuck281 on August 4, 2014 at 11:21 PM