Will the residents of Israel’s North live under “tiftufim” and infiltrations?
https://www.jpost.com-By ANNA AHRONHEIM
WAVING THE Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon.-(photo credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)
As Lebanon falls deeper and deeper into an economic black hole, the border with Israel has in recent weeks seen several worrisome incidents.
From weapons smuggling to infiltration and rocket attacks, the fragile boundary is under fire.
Locked in a decades-old stalemate between the country’s rival factions, Lebanon’s economy has been pulverized.
More than half the population is now living below the poverty line, with barely enough money to buy basic necessities, including food and medicine.
Riots against the government have become an almost daily occurrence, and violence has become routine at gas stations, banks, pharmacies and grocery stores.
Though the two countries are officially at war, Israel has offered aid to Lebanon more than once.
The IDF has also been closely watching the situation, for fear it will deteriorate even more.
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have warned that Israel will not tolerate any violence spilling over the border due to the crisis.
The military has said it does not think Hezbollah will attack Israel, but it is preparing itself should smaller events lead to an outbreak of violence.
Recent incidents have seen the IDF respond in a guarded manner, reminiscent of how it has acted against Hamas in the Gaza Strip when it was trying to prevent a deterioration with terrorist groups.
If a rocket was fired from the coastal enclave toward southern Israel but did not claim any casualties, the IDF would retaliate with tank or artillery fire against empty Hamas locations. It would not aim to kill or injure any Hamas operatives.
On the northern border, the IDF has been busy with its war-between-wars campaign against Hezbollah and Iranian entrenchment. Two attacks in Syria attributed by foreign sources to Israel took place just this week.
At the same time, Israel was targeted by rocket fire from southern Lebanon. Earlier this week, Palestinian militants, possibly from Hamas, fired rockets from al-Qulaylah in response to tensions on the Temple Mount during Tisha Be’av.
Israel retaliated by firing two dozen tank shells toward the source of the rocket fire. But the position was empty, with the militants having fled shortly after they launched the rockets.
The same militants fired several rockets into Israel during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May.
Though sirens were activated in Haifa and the Haifa bayside suburbs of Kiryat Bialik and Kiryat Motzkin, Israel responded the same way – with artillery shells.
Nothing in southern Lebanon is done without Hezbollah knowing about it, especially when it comes to cross-border operations.
While not all attacks are launched at the group’s behest, they provide key intelligence to the terrorist group about how the IDF responds to such incidents.
Hezbollah may not have given the green light to those who fired the rockets, just as they did not tell the two African migrant workers to cross over the less-than-secure border on Thursday. But the group was able to see, study and learn how the IDF responded in planning future attacks against Israel.
Several migrant workers have been caught infiltrating the country, including in June, when two Turks succeeded in crossing the border and were caught 11 hours later.
The men who crossed the border on Thursday were caught by troops nearly six hours after they crossed into Israel.
At least five significant drug- and weapons-smuggling attempts have been thwarted since the beginning of the year by the IDF and the police:
In February, 12 kilos of drugs were seized in the area of Dovev, and one suspect was arrested in Israel.
In early April, two pistols and two kilos of drugs were seized in the area of Metulla, and several suspects were arrested.
In early June, 15 pistols, dozens of cartridges and 36 kilos of drugs were seized, and a number of suspects were arrested.
In mid-June, 12 pistols were seized near Metulla, and one suspect was arrested in Israel.
Though infiltration and the smuggling of drugs and weapons into Israel are not the same as rocket attacks, they are a wake-up call for the military.
If the IDF continues to respond to such incidents like it responded in Gaza, will the residents of the North become like those in the South? Will they become victims of constant rocket fire, or tiftufim (drips), as they’re referred to in Hebrew?
While Hezbollah may be preoccupied with the collapse of Lebanon, the terrorist group has not stopped learning and watching its back.
The Shi’ite terrorist group is using every opportunity to gather intelligence on the IDF and will not miss an opportunity to strike.