DEBKAfile Special Report July 2, 2014, 10:57 PM (IDT)
Wednesday night, July 2, Israel’s security cabinet held its third special session in two days to map out a response to the kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, who were laid to rest in mass funerals Tuesday. Despite the impression of indecision, the select group of senior ministers conveyed, DEBKAfile’s sources report that they did in fact decide to hold back from a major military operation in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minsiter Moshe Ya’alon abd Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz decided that instead of smashing Hamas infrastructure at its home base in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army would continue to pound its networks on the West Bank.
This decision was the outcome of heavy arm-twisting on the part of Egypt, Qatar and Jordan. They urged Israel to continue to smash Hamas in Mahmoud Abbas’ West Bank domain, but to leave the Islamist organization be in the Gaza Strip.
By heeding Arab advice on how to respond to the tragedy of three murdered young Israelis, the government found within hours that it had opened the door to unbridled violence both in Jerusalem and against the communities who have the misfortune to live within range of Gazan rockets.
The match which kindled the flames was the kidnap and murder of a 16-year old Palestinian boy Muhammad Abu Khdeir from the Palestinian district of Shuafat in Jerusalem. Since his body was found early Wednesday in the Jerusalem Forest, Jerusalem’s Palestinians have been in violent uproar demanding vengeance against Israel.
The prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged the police to hurry up the investigation of this “abominable crime.” But it soon turned out that the motive and the police investigation no longer mattered. The Palestinians had decided “Jewish settlers” had slain the Arab boy, and foreign observers treated the murder without further ado as tit-for-tat by Jewish extremists for the slain Israeli teenagers.
Tons of rocks and explosive devices were hurled during the day at Israeli police and security forces attempting to restore order in Jerusalem’s Palestinian districts.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the Jihad Islami leaders, knowing they were safe from Israeli retribution, let loose with volley after volley of rockets and mortars — 30 in a single day — against Ashkelon, Netivot, Sdot Negev, Sderot, Kerem Shalom and the Eshkol District. Three were downed by Iron Dome interceptor. But no defense system is proof against a missile blitz on this scale.
The three cabinet sessions not only failed to come up with ways to deter Hamas terror or cut its armed capabilities down to size, but reached a decision that opened the gates of violence in two arenas — Jerusalem and Gaza.
Read DEBKAfile’s earlier report of Wednesday.
The discovery of the body of a brutally murdered Palestinian boy in the Jerusalem forest early Wednesday, July 2, unleashed violent disturbances in the Palestinian districts of Jerusalem, which climaxed in mid-morning with three pipe bombs hurled at security forces …read more