In an ominous start to the Jewish new year, Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Research Chief Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz disclosed Sunday that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has succeeded in smuggling anti-aircraft weapons into PA-controlled Gaza. As reported here by Israel National News:
"Baidatz's assessment is that Hamas plans to use the weapons against Israeli fighter planes in the context of future conflicts, aiming eventually to use them against civilian aircraft as well. The intelligence chief said that Israel must come up with a solution to protect its planes from the new weapons or imperil its entire aviation industry.
"It is known that PA Arabs are attempting to smuggle such weapons into Judea and Samaria as well – putting Ben Gurion International Airport within range of the missiles.
"The same anti-tank rockets that were used to disable many of Israel's tanks in Lebanon have also been streaming into Gaza on a daily basis, making a ground invasion of Gaza a much more perilous task."
This heightened danger to Israel emphasizes the damage to Israel's deterrence capabilities caused by its 2005 withdrawal from Gaza:
"Prior to the implementation of the Disengagement from Gaza, the IDF controlled the Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt, enabling teams of soldiers to identify and destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels on a regular basis. Following the withdrawal, in addition to week-long periods where the border lay open, tunnels have been built and continue to operate without obstruction."
Another factor enhancing the ability of the Paletinians to smuggle weapons into Gaza is that, at the insistence of U.S. Secretary of State Rice, Israel turned over responsibility for policing the Gaza-Egypt border to Egypt, which has shown about as much enthusiam about preventing arms smuggling as the United Nations forces in south Lebanon are showing about disarming Hezbollah.
All of these weapons are forbidden to the Palestinians under the Oslo Accords, but the fact that the Palestinians completely ignore their obligations under their treaty with Israel is old news, and Olso is for all intents and purposes a dead letter. What is astonishing is that supposed experts are counseling Israel's leaders that the solution to the gathering crisis is--more negotiations with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, more concessions and further territorial withdrawals in Judea and Shomron. For a prime example of this genre of political punditry, see this article in the current edition of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.