slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five
kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the
A limited ground operation of the IDF started yesterday, July 18, as an extension of Operation Strong Cliff.* It is not the large attack still being considered, but a small scale maneuver against the tunnels under Gaza. "Lower Gaza" is the name given to the new city just discovered.
Jordan Valley Grays
More than once during the ongoing Israeli attack, I found myself looking at Palestinian actions and recognizing Zionist tactics. The clearest events are described in Palestinian PSYWAR Reported in Israel. Israel and Gaza are bombing each other with propaganda and false phone messages in the hope to scare the other to death.
Today it went beyond that. Images released today by the IDF took me back to the 1980's, to the Jordan Valley, were similar tunnels mimicked the Bar-Lev Line. They were the source of tales told to us while sitting in hot summer nights near a fire that burned potatoes near an old fortress built by the Crusaders.
The Jordan Valley features several steps. Beyond the low cliffs connecting between them, the steps are flat. Yet, approaching the kibbutzim on them, four odd mounds could be seen on the corners. They were artificial defense positions similar to the shown in the image of the Bar-Lev Line.
The salty earth of the valley near Beit Shean is gray, giving the mounds the look of piles of unused cement, thing that accentuated their artificiality.
Similar tunnels, corridors and bunkers could also be found on the Zor, the lowest step of the steep valley, just next to the landmines on the Jordan riverbanks.
"We won because we did not have any other choice," our coach said, sipping a cup of ultra-sweet tea prepared above the burnt potatoes. After a while, the politruks whom we called "coaches" become blurred into one universal image of Big Brother. Yaakov? Yitzik? Yorai? Yami? Big Brother Terror was invariably taking advantage of us.
Gaza Outsmarts Israel
Living years under a siege imposed by Israel and Egypt, Gaza developed an extensive network of tunnels connecting it with Israel and the Sinai. A significant percentage of its commercial activities are carried out through the tunnels.
Both Israel and Egypt knew that. Exposure of tunnels by both states and their blocking are a periodic part of the news. Yet, even the IDF was not aware of their extension.
In the last 24 hours, the IDF exposed 13 large tunnels connecting Gaza with Israel. "Under the earth, Gaza was transformed into an underground monster," Yediot Ahronot reported. One of the exposed tunnels connected Khan Yunes in Gaza with Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha in Israel.
The tunnels are more complex than the Bar-Lev Line creations. They allowed transfer of goods and firing of rockets through retractile windows.
The IDF exposed a system that outsmarted its generals. The tunnels were built so that hitting one will not cause damage to adjacent ones. They were calculated and coordinated between the different arms of the militia in Gaza. Militias could dig a tunnel only with the authorization of the district head.
Gaza was divided into four tunnel-districts, each one headed by a person coordinating their construction. The operation was secret and compartmentalized; only a few people at the top of the project knew the entire network.
Tunneling under the entire Strip was allowed. Landowners near the border were warned and indemnified in the case of damage.
Gaza outsmarted Israel during years.
The most humiliating battle lost by Israel was a decisive Egyptian victory. Operation Badr caught Israel by surprise on October 6, 1973, and achieved Egyptian supremacy in just two hours. Two days later, it was over. All Egyptian goals were achieved. IDF retreated with 400 tanks destroyed, 950 killed soldiers and around 2000 wounded. Egypt lost 20 tanks and 280 soldiers.
The operation's name is never mentioned in Israel. Instead, a vague reference to the event of the Bar-Lev Line is preferred. It dilutes the shame in a large sea of vagueness.
Built in 1968 and 1969, the Bar-Lev Line was a fortification along the shore of the Sinai facing Egypt; it was named after IDF Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev, who presented it to the government as impenetrable. Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan described it as "one of the best anti-tank ditches in the world."
During the slow War of Attrition, the fortifications served well. Unknown to Israel, since 1968, the Egyptian General Headquarters were planning an assault on the Bar-Lev Line. By 1973, everything was ready.
Another point seldom mentioned in Israel is that the brilliant breakout of the fortifications was possible due to the help of British and German equipment. In the days surrounding Holocaust Day, occasional articles describing the help of former Nazis in the better-forgotten Bar-Lev event can be seen, but that is it.
The Egyptians used 300 British-made pumps and 150 more powerful German-made pumps to wash away the Israeli fortifications which were made mainly of sand. A combination of three British and two German pumps made it possible to create a passage in two hours.
The day after the operation started, five entire Egyptian divisions have penetrated the area controlled until then by the IDF. To Israelis, this was a prelude of Apocalypse.
Yet, Israel won that war, though it was closer to being defeated than its citizens will ever know.
In the late summer of 2040, Palestinian kids were sitting near a fire. Pitta bread was quickly prepared and covered with lamb cooked on the same fire. Nearby, hummus, garlic and pickled eggplants competed for attention.
"We won because we did not have any other choice," they were saying atop an old IDF fortification.