Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hamas rears its head in Jordan - Yoav Limor



by Yoav Limor

Assuming Israel alerted Jordan to Najar's presence and actions -- something that has yet to be corroborated -- the possibility that Amman is quietly turning a blind eye to Hamas activities on its soil is very disturbing.

Much like the June murder of Danny Gonen near the community of Dolev in Samaria, the Shvut Rachel terrorist attack in which Malachi Rosenfeld was killed was also solved by the Shin Bet security agency quickly. Similar to Gonen's case, the terrorist cell involved in Rosenfeld's murder had too many members to evade capture for long. 

One can argue that the Shin Bet should have prevented these attacks, as that is the security agency's primary mission. But the public, which is aware only of terrorist attacks that were carried out and is mostly oblivious to those that were thwarted, should demonstrate maturity. The past few weeks may have been bloody, but they were the exception to the rule. On every professional level, counterterrorism is performed at its highest level. 

We should, however, be concerned by the Palestinians' relentless attempts to carry out terrorist attacks. Hamas is the main instigator, and while it is trying to maintain order in the Gaza Strip, it is trying to breed chaos in Judea and Samaria.

Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, who was released in the 2011 prisoner exchange that secured the return of Israeli soldier captive Gilad Schalit, is orchestrating these efforts. Arouri oversees Hamas' terrorist cells in Judea and Samaria from his residence in Turkey, but the arrest of the cell involved in Rosenfeld's murder suggests the involvement of another Schalit deal parolee, Ahmed Najar, who is based in Jordan. 

While the Turkish involvement is rather expected given Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan animosity toward Israel and overt support of Hamas, the Jordanian angle is new and worrying.

Since Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal was expelled from Jordan in 1999, Amman has made it a point to overtly fight terrorism, independently and alongside Israel on the joint border. 

This collaboration should have intensified given the threats the Islamic State group and al-Qaida pose to Jordan, as well as its concerns over the rise of other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups in the region, so it is difficult to assess what Najar openly operating in Jordan really means. 

Assuming Israel alerted Jordan to Najar's presence and actions -- something that has yet to be corroborated -- the possibility that Amman is quietly turning a blind eye to Hamas activities on its soil is very disturbing. 

Incidentally, while the Shin Bet named Jordan in its statement about the arrests, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon sufficed with saying Hamas was "operating in neighboring countries," presumably to avoid sparking tensions between Jerusalem and Amman. 

In his statement, Ya'alon said Israel would be able to thwart terrorism only if it maintains full freedom to operate across Judea and Samaria. Despite this being the situation today, two of the terrorists involved in Rosenfeld's murder were arrested by the Palestinian security forces before the Shin Bet and the military got to them.

The arrests appeared genuine, not like past pseudo-measures taken by the Palestinian Authority to protect terrorists from Israeli authorities, indicating Ramallah is also concerned by Hamas terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria, and that it seeks to foil these efforts before it becomes their target.


Yoav Limor

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=13235

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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