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The Tunnel Crime and the Needed Response
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
November 15, 2017

Responding to the crime begins with progressing in the files of Palestinian reconciliation through the comprehensive national dialogue.

Many indications can be said about the bombing of a Palestinian resistance tunnel in Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces, most notably is that Tel Aviv wants to put the path of Palestinian reconciliation in the direction that it wants, especially with regard to the weapons and basis of the resistance.

While Netanyahu has decreased his objection against the Fatah-Hamas agreement, but at the same time he has stressed that his government will remain in the position of diligent observer of what is happening on the ground; and will intervene at the time when it sees that there is a threat to its security.

The indications also say that the time of bombing the tunnel in addition to the prevention of saving the fighters, assures that Tel Aviv has bet on not receiving the appropriate response to such a crime that led to the martyrdom of 12 Palestinian fighters, as confirmed by the regional interactions that met in self-control and non-escalation. It is also has been assured by the Israeli review of what happened from the angle of employing it in the political path within the arrangements of the so-called "Deal of the Century".

The tunnel crime happened in the light of Fatah and Hamas differences about some of the reconciliation files, especially the resistance weapons, which has been get over earlier between the both movements by the sponsorship of Cairo.

A number of members of the Israeli government, including its president, have confirmed that "good reconciliation" in their opinion, is with the complete ending of the resistance's weapons and its basis and making the Gaza Strip as a "safe place" for the occupation, in return for contributing to the partial improvement of the lives of residents of the Gaza Strip, by easing some of the siege measures on the crossings, that the Palestinian Authority will assume its management according to the agreement signed in 2005.

Observers understood well that Tel Aviv wanted to transfer the experience of relationship with the PA in the West Bank, to the same level in the Gaza Strip, which means, activating the security coordination with the occupation and putting the Palestinian situation in the Strip under direct Israeli security control. Thus, the nine conditions of the Greenblatt to be applied in both Gaza and the West Bank, in short, to prepare the Palestinian situation in line with the path that Trump seeks to manage under the roof of "Deal of the Century", which begins with an official Arab normalization with the occupation without accomplishing or continuing by the establishment of a Palestinian independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

As for the crime of the tunnel, Tel Aviv believes that it is interested in the Palestinian resistance weapon and that any compromise between the PA and Hamas that does not take into account the Israeli security interest, will not be considered as "valid" for application and will be faced by the direct Israeli intervention, as occurred in the commission of the mentioned crime.

Therefore, in order to stop the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, most of the Palestinian forces and factions have been called upon to focus on uniting the Palestinian national program to protect the resistance's weapon and direct it through one joint operation room that commits to the national liberation program; and to not make conflicts between this weapon and the functions of the PA and its institutions in the service of public affairs.

It is clear that Netanyahu has chosen to target the tunnel in order to send multiple messages, saying that Israel is still under a "terrorist threat" from within the Gaza Strip and that the PA must "do its duty" towards this by preventing the existence of any weapon that is "not agreed upon" as in West Bank, and thus it wants to open a Palestinian-Palestinian confrontation that would eliminate the hopes of the Gazans in particular their hope to complete the reconciliation process.

It is also a letter to the Trump administration asking for Washington's intervention in pressuring on the PA and Cairo at the same time, to direct the security solution in the reconciliation file, in the same line with Israeli security considerations.

It is also a message to Israeli public opinion to remain close to the "existential matter" that threatens Israel by Palestinian "terrorism" and the entry of regional forces on this line, which creates a favorable political and social climate for Netanyahu, who always prefers to declare war, to distance himself from the trial demanded by many people to remove him on the background of charges against him for crimes of corruption.

At the same time, the Israeli Prime Minister seeks to benefit from the tension that prevails in the region and Washington's intervention on the line of mobilizing the positions of Arab countries to serve its interests in the region and by exaggerating about the dangers of "neighbors" on these countries and their interests.

In light of the ongoing wars in the most of the Arab region, Tel Aviv has emphasized that all areas surround it, are areas of its security influence, under the pretext of immediate and future threat through these areas.

Observers point out that Tel Aviv deliberately escalated through the bombing of the tunnel to remind the Israelis that the tunnels represent an increasing of the ability of Palestinian resistance, to face the aggression of 2014, by attacking the occupation forces, outside the borders of the strip, and inflicting a lot of losses on the enemy.

Therefore, the Israeli military information during that war, focused on the targeting of these tunnels, in an attempt to calm the discontent of the Israeli public opinion, about the increase in the number of Israeli soldiers killed during the Gaza attack.

It is important to emphasize that the response to the Israeli crime, starts with progressing in the files of Palestinian reconciliation through the comprehensive national dialogue, and not to leave the fate of these files to the existing and upcoming quarrels between Fatah and Hamas, because these interactions form a gate to the Israeli entry on the reconciliation line, in the way that took place in the tunnel crime, also, escalating the assassination operations against the leaders of resistance and its members are making in the Gaza Strip, would create a state of tension that would dismantle the reconciliation.

It is also important that the resistance's weapon take its rightful path at the table of inclusive national dialogue, by considering the resistance as a legitimate right according to the United Nations resolutions, and one of the basis of the Palestinian national liberation program, because the confirmation of the national consensus on it helps to get the resistance weapon out of the ongoing conflicts.

Also, the issue of the military wing is not a specific subject of either parties of the recent Cairo agreement, and we mean the Hamas movement, but it is within the basis of all Palestinian resistance's factions. For this reason, the need for a unified operating room is emphasized.

The most important response to this crime is to bring the Palestinian situation out of the arrangements that Washington is seeking in the region, try to end the bets on settlement with its current conditions, and go to the United Nations to fight the occupation in politics, as in the field.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Translated by: Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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