A week passed since the Eilat attack, and the IDF has yet to prove the blame of the group Israel chose to attack in response.
Earlier this week I posted about the cracks in the Barak-Netanyahu narrative regarding the terror attacks near Eilat. A quick reminder: While the attacks were still going on, Barak blamed them on the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, and hours later the IAF attacked and killed the leadership of the PRC. However, there is not a shred of evidence the PRC had anything to do with the attacks, and Barak’s action plunged Israel and Hamas into a new round of hostilities.
Since Monday, there have been a few more reports in the Israeli media, casting more doubt on the official story. Yediot reported on Tuesday (Hebrew) that nameless people in the security apparatus doubt the PRC were responsible for the attacks, and raise an interesting question: If they were responsible, why was the PRC’s entire leadership in the same place?
According to Yediot’s anonymous intelligence sources (bear in mind that such sources should always be viewed with skepticism; by their very nature they cannot be corroborated, and they tend to be unreliable even when speaking openly), the attribution of the attacks to the PRC stems from one somewhat incoherent comment on some Jihadi message board.
Ha’aretz reported on Tuesday (Hebrew) that at least three on the attackers were Egyptian Jihadis. American intelligence sources – the same caveat above applies here – told Globes (Hebrew) that they, too, doubt the PRC are responsible, though they may have had a small role in the attacks.
Two days ago, the IAF attacked the Gaza Strip again – naturally, it does not consider itself bound by the ceasefire; only the Palestinians are, and only them can be blamed for breaking it – and killed some Islamic Jihad apparatchick. Yesterday, the IDF claimed (Hebrew) that he was in charge of funding the Eilat attacks. Hold on a minute, I’m confused: I thought you said the attacks were carried out by the PRC, and now it’s the Islamic Jihad left holding the bag? As of yesterday, reported Amira Hass in Ha’aretz (Hebrew), there are no mourning tents in Gaza. As of today, one week after the attack, the IDF refrains from exposing the identity of the attackers it killed.
One should note that none of the bewildering array of information comes officially from the IDF Spokesman, but rather from all sorts of “senior sources”. That’s the way the IDF raises a smokescreen, and then, when it is penetrated, rightly say he said nothing official. Lt. Col. Avital Leibowitz was adamant, during a phone call on Sunday, that all of the people involved in the attacks were Gazans; unofficially, the IDF seems to back away from this position.
Despite the ceasefire, the IDF renewed attacks on the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli media – aside from Netanyahu’s mouthpiece, Israel Ha’yom – quietly points that out. This low level of military activity suits barak fine: It prevents a serious escalation, which may deal a blow to the Egyptian peace treaty – the Egyptians have warned the cabinet, it is reported, from a full-scale offensive (Hebrew) – and yet allows the government a distraction from the demands of the #J14 movement.
And if a few Gazans die, who cares?