The Meir Amit Center Intelligence and Terrorist Information Center (ITIC) is an Israeli NGO that provides extensive information to what's going on in their region with respect to terrorism. In recent days, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has gathered information from a report produced by the Meir Amir ITIC. They found Hamas gearing up for a large-scale military exercise prior to the violence we saw beginning to unfold in Gaza on March 30—on what is called Land Day.
The military exercise was conducted March 25-26 with up to 30,000 terrorist operatives in the Gaza strip. Air, sea, and land maneuvers were part of what was deemed a practice drill. The timing of this event must not be overlooked, noting the drills occurred only days before Land Day. Meir Amit ITIC notes, "At the end of the maneuver, Abu Obeida, spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, gave a speech from the field summing up the maneuver. According to him, it demonstrated the readiness of the Hamas military wing for an Israeli attack and the coordination capabilities between the various Hamas units."
Phil Haney, a founding member of our U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reveals "Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Hamas is the word for 'zeal' in Arabic. They are zealous to resist the occupation of the Zionists. Their charter was written in 1988 and it calls explicitly for the destruction of Israel."
What is the significance of Land Day and the heightened tension between the Israelis and Palestinians? According to Patrick Dunleavy, Senior Fellow at IPT, "Land Day goes back to 1976 when the Israelis were confronted by a number of Palestinians. In the ensuing aftermath, Palestinians were killed in their attack against Israelis." As a result, the Palestinians named March 30 as an annual commemorative day to be recognized as Land Day. Dunleavy points out this particular year's Land Day was also the beginning of Passover at sundown, while Phil Haney adds, "Hamas is right out front in its use of violence in order to achieve their goal."
Currently, we are seeing so-called protests and increased violence on the border of Israel. Not only does Hamas remain committed to destroying Israel as a nation by a show of military force, Dunleavy also exposes that one of the nonlethal exercises they practice is the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Clearly, this would be an invaluable accomplishment for them. An Israeli soldier captured and held hostage, for example, could be used for negotiating and trying to get Palestinians out of Israeli prison.
Under the veil of training followed by protest, Dunleavy divulges, "Two things are happening here. One, Hamas is trying to show it is still militarily effective in Gaza. It cannot govern the area. It can only act militarily by means of guerrilla warfare or irregular warfare. Two, they are going to have demonstrations every Friday by the border of Gaza and Israel," leading into the month of Ramadan which begins in mid-May. The kinds of demonstrations we see in Gaza have always been a guise for Hamas and Palestinian militant organizations to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians.
"Hamas is trying to show that they can defend against any Israeli attack," says Dunleavy. "Israel has not attacked Gaza. They have only defended themselves." All the while, the Iranians have provided and will continue to provide the equipment and resources for them to conduct their training exercises and violent attacks against the world.
"Because of what's been going on in Syria and Iraq," Dunleavy asserts, "Iran has become emboldened in their territorial grasps and influence. So, they have groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that they are providing increased support for. That becomes dangerous in the fact Iran has already called for the annihilation and destruction of Israel as we know it."
In light of the bloodshed, Hamas along with other Palestinian militant organizations do not have the capabilities to even compare to the Israeli Defense Forces. Dunleavy agrees, "In terms of a head-to-head battle, they would be no competition at all for the Israeli Defense Forces." Nonetheless, we will continue to see smaller groups of terrorists perform attacks against our longstanding ally Israel. "They're doing this," concludes Dunleavy, "because I believe the power behind them is Iran, who is committed to destroying Israel as a nation."
"Doesn't Israel have a right to take their place among the nations?" asks Dunleavy. The answer to his rhetorical question is a resounding, yes—Israel has every God-given right to take their place among the nations of the world.
J.M. Phelps is a Christian activist and journalist based in the Southeastern U.S.