Raids from the Sinai, and the fear of retaliation

Today I woke up to news of militants having crossed the border into Southern Israel and killed seven. Israel has almost reflexively blamed Hamas, in Gaza, and there is fear that Israel will react with force against the occupied territories.

Israel’s situation contains an inherent hypocricy. On the one hand, they blame Egypt for not having control over the Sinai – but on the other hand, it is Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel which limits its authority there. The situation is more complicated because just a few days ago Netanyahu approved a temporary increase in Egyptian troop presence in the Sinai, which Egypt requested to confront the various militant groups that exercise control in the area, and to prevent bombings against a gas pipeline between Egypt, Jordan and Israe. Increased troop presence does not, however, bring immediate stability to an area – a fact that the Israelis should be familiar with. Increased military presence against militant groups can increase their popularity amongst locals, and encourage them to carry out more operations both in the hopes of making the state army feel they can’t win, and in the fear that they may fare poorly in the crackdown and after it no longer have the capacity to carry out such attacks.

Egypt’s operations in the Sinai have been quick, explicit, and lethal. Yesterday was a flurry of activity: the Egyptian military raided a camp suspected of training Al-Qaida inspired militants. They have also exposed and raided a large munitions factory that produces explosives, rockets and munitions in Al-Arish. But with such anti-militant activity, there is also the killing of locals which could turn the population against the Army – also yesterday Bedouins in the Sinai expressed their anger at the killing of two locals by blockading a road  – they suspect the killing was carried out by Egyptian security. And two other Bedouins were killed by Egyptian soldiers as they tried to flee a military checkpoint. Egypt may believe that these operations will lead in the long term to greater control over the area, but undoubtedly in the meantime these actions will make things chaotic.

It is probably in the context of Egyptian military operations in northern Sinai that we should interpret the incursion by Militants into Israel, and the attack there. Hamas claims they are not responsible, and that their security strategy against the Israelis is based on securing the occupied territories against incursion, not on outside attacks.


I find that I can’t write blog posts like this fast enough even to have to wait for the conclusion. As I write this and refresh my google news, I find that mere minutes ago reports have come in that Israel has shelled Gaza in retaliation. I also find, strangely, that the globe and mail article  (actually associated press) which was the first I read, has been altered and now does not speak about Hamas’ security policy, but instead speaks about specific Israeli intelligence that this act was carried out by people from Gaza.

At least seven people in Gaza have been reported dead, including a senior member in the popular resistance committees.



  1. to clarify from Israel, 8 are dead and many in critical condition. it was a well planned attack based on the equipment they used, on pedestrian buses.
    Israel has not declared blame on anyone, and investigations are being carried out currently. Egypt however has very heavily denied any association, declaring that there borders are very heavily gaurded by there own army.


  2. “Israel has not declared blame on anyone”

    So, they just decided to use airstrikes against Gaza early this morning for no reason?

    Israel punishes the Palestinians collectively for attacks committed by unknowns, and without trial. That’s called collective punishment, and it’s illegal under international law. But, you’ll defend it, for some reason I could predict if I cared enough. Honestly, I don’t have any time for Zionists who are reactionary defenders of the war crimes of their government; you should waste your time somewhere else. I don’t post in defence of Palestinian militants on Y-net, so get lost.


    1. ummm i believe i already edited my response when i got news of Netanyahu’s speach……nor did i allude to any defence on the actions of unwarrented strikes into gaza, nor did i declare myself a zionist, so i think your attack is unwarrented as well tristan i will refrain from further discussions with you


  3. I’m sorry, but at the time of your original post, it was many hours after the murderous airstrikes on Gaza. And, I had posted a link to sources reporting this in the post itself. In your correction, you simply repeated the government line that “they say the militants were from Gaza”, which repeats something I wrote in my original post.

    It’s true there was “firing from both sides”, both sides of the border (the Israeli and Egyptian army fought across the border, with soldiers killed on both sides), and the militants who carried out the attack on civilians in the South were engaged in a firefight for at least the rest of the day (I’m not sure what the outcome of that was, other than things like an Israeli officer being killed, and fears that dead militants bodies could be booby-trapped with explosives). There have also been “rocket” attacks from Gaza (although they are not actually “rockets” in the military sense, since they contain no explosive tips, and kill someone only from a direct hit or shrapnel), and the fear of continued escalation.

    I think Bibi would be very happy to provoke another war with Gaza at this time, as it distracts from the conflicts within Israeli society which have erupted in the housing protests. There is already a small victory – some tent protests have been called off this week in solidarity with Israeli families mourning dead relatives. I am not sure if any tent protests have also expressed solidarity with the dead in Gaza, which might be difficult given the zionist and “a-political” (neutrality on occupation) directives that seem to be dominant in these protests.


  4. My suspicions have been corroborated by an IDF report. As I first suspected, they now too believe that the militants did not come from Gaza, but Egypt.

    ” Yediot Ahronot published yesterday (Wednesday) a report on pg. 13, which says that the IDF’s internal investigation reached the conclusion that all of the attackers were Egyptians or residents of Sinai – and we know the three attackers killed by the Egyptians were Egyptians.”


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