From Lebanon to Gaza: The Continuous Threat Tunnel Warfare Poses to Israel

Yesterday, House Republicans called on Democrats to denounce Rep. Ilhan Omar for her anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views. Omar refers to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” and is a supporter of the anti-Israel BDS movement. According to Buzzfeed, Omar is representative of a “dramatic change” in the Democratic Party of those who “want to force what were once fringe views into the mainstream, and significantly change US policy toward Israel.”

The comparison of apartheid in South Africa to Israel is a blatant anti-Semitic smear. Furthermore, supporters of the BDS movement completely ignore the terrorist threat Israel faces.

Israel has constructed physical security barriers in several regions, including along its shared border with both Gaza and with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. These walls serve to combat serial bombings, lethal riots and illegal immigration.

On both northern and southern borders, Israel has also put in place underground systems to counter terrorists from entering the country through cross-border tunnels.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) located another tunnel that posed a direct threat to nearby Israeli towns.

The tunnel is the sixth to be discovered as part of the IDF’s Operation Northern Shield, launched on December 4 to detect and neutralize Hezbollah-dug terror tunnels from southern Lebanon to northern Israel.  The latest tunnel was very sophisticated and included electricity, a rail system and exit stairs.

As Operation Northern Shield came to an end, IDF focus may return to the threat posed on the Southern border. The tunnel terror crisis in the south peaked during the 2014 Gaza War, during which 68 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed. Vast underground networks of tunnels reaching Israeli communities designed to allow Jihadist militants to launch surprise attacks against civilians and IDF troops located near tunnel exit points.

The most recent Southern tunnel discovered in October 2018 was part of a wider network veering out to both IDF bases and entrances to local Israeli kibbutzim. It was equipped with power, phone lines, oxygen and water pipes, indicating terror groups are allocating more funds and manpower to engineer more complex tunnels.

“Hamas’ civilian affairs budget has decreased… while it is estimated that Hamas has invested over $150 million in its tunnel building activities,” According to the IDF, following the 2014 Protective Edge Operation.

The vast monetary investments in tunnel building are the result of Hamas diverting humanitarian contributions of money and construction materials  from the EU and other Arab states for the sole purpose of providing avenues for terrorist attacks against Israel.

Israeli forces have inspected and allowed vast truckloads of concrete and steel to pass through the “blockade” under the erroneous judgement that these materials were to be used to better the lives of the local population, who are held captive by Hamas.

The construction and maintenance of physical walls along Israel’s Northern and Southern borders is essential to protect the country from those dedicated to the elimination of the Jewish state. As the Israelis have proved time and time again though mere vigilance is not enough: Direct and continuous active interdiction is the only way to provide protection.

The terrorist tunnels put the lie to the hateful, anti-Semitic rhetoric by Rep. Ilhan Omar who was just inexplicably added by House Speaker Pelosi as a member of the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee.  It is urgent that Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer speak out against the rise in anti-Semitism and bias against Israel in the Democratic Party and crack down on openly anti-Semitic members of Congress like Rep. Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib.