Israel’s recently concluded war with Hamas had an overarching strategic goal: destroy the Iranian made Fajr5 missiles that had been smuggled into Gaza via Egypt. According to a report by Fox News, President Obama was fully aware of Israel’s plan prior to the attack and approved it.
The Fajr5 missile has a range that puts Tel Aviv and most of the Israeli population in the cross hairs.
Israel essentially achieved its main aims within the first few days, said Schanzer, noting that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said as much when he remarked on Day Three of the campaign: “We have run out of good targets.”
Rocket attacks from Gaza were commonplace in Israel prior to the campaign, dubbed “Operation Pillar of Defense,” with at least 750 projectiles falling on the area close to the border since January. The attacks were ratcheted up in early November, which seemed to prompt Israel’s move and the deployment of its vaunted “Iron Dome” defense system. But behind the scenes, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) had a more pressing need to launch their intense bombardment on Hamas’ weapons stores.
Israel’s elimination of senior Hamas figure Ahmad Jabari as he drove in broad daylight in Gaza also fits into Schanzer’s narrative.
“Ahmad Jabari, along with another major Hamas figure, Mahmoud al Mabhouhk, [who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010], was a key part of the procurement network for the Fajr missiles and there is little doubt that Israel was keen to take out the man responsible,” Schanzer explained.
Schanzer contends that the operation actually began three weeks earlier, when, on Oct. 23, the Iranian-owned Yarmouk armaments factory in Sudan – believed to be the assembly plant for the Fajr5 missiles that have a range of up to 45 miles – was devastated by air strikes for which the Sudanese government holds Israel responsible. Israel, and for that matter the U.S., both deny any knowledge of the attack.
Sudanese Information Minister Ahmad Bilal Osman, told Al Jazeera the day after the attack, “Israel has accused Sudan of sending arms to Hamas. These allegations are not correct. The factory manufactures ordinary, legal weapons.”
When asked how Sudan would respond to the incident, Osman answered, “We definitely won’t attack Israel itself…but we have a right to tackle the interests of Israel wherever they are from now on.”
Meanwhile, our new best friend in Cairo almost certainly knew about the missiles being smuggled through Egypt into Gaza:
“There’s little doubt that Iranian-built rockets came from Sudan through Egypt, and that Egypt’s security forces weren’t interested in intercepting the missiles,” Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute, an expert on Egyptian affairs, told FoxNews.com. “Morsi was more interested in furthering his own internal agenda than worrying about foreign policy issues at that time.”
As Iran gets closer to producing a nuclear weapon, it becomes an urgent necessity for Israel to prevent the marrying of the Fajr5 with a nuclear warhead. In effect, the homemade rockets that Hamas launched by the hundreds in the days leading up to Israel’s response were used as cover to mask the true nature of Israel’s attacks — the destruction of the only weapons in the possession of Hamas that could do serious damage to Israel and the networks supplying them.
The attack on the Sudanese arms factory shows that Israel — if, indeed, they are responsible — is involved in a global war for its survival. It is a good sign that despite their differences and personal animosity, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu were able to cooperate to deal with this threat and will no doubt continue to cooperate when it comes to fundamental issues that insure the survival of the Jewish state.