World View: Gaza Tunnels Make Israeli Ground Offensive Dangerous but Necessary

World View: Gaza Tunnels Make Israeli Ground Offensive Dangerous but Necessary

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Gaza tunnels make Israeli ground offensive dangerous but necessary
  • Health workers flee from West Africa as Ebola epidemic spreads

Gaza tunnels make Israeli ground offensive dangerous but necessary

Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza is targeting Hamas militaryinstallations, but it is also targeting farms or bare land and evengreenhouses. The reason is that the Palestinian militias have learnedimportant lessons in previous wars with Israel and have set upsophisticated defenses in the form of an extensive network of tunnels,some as much as 30 meters deep. 

Over time, Hamas’s engineers anddiggers — known by Israel as “spiders” — gained a great deal ofexpertise in setting up “underground cities,” with bunkers andfortifications, all hooked up to electricity and oxygen. Thesetunnels can hide thousands of missiles and missile launchers fromIsraeli spy planes, but that’s only one of their purposes.

If Israel wants to achieve its stated goal of getting rid once and forall of Gaza’s rocket launching system, it’s going to need a groundinvasion to clean out all the tunnels and bunkers. 

But then the web of tunnels takes on the even deadlier purpose oftrapping Israeli soldiers entering Gaza, according to a Hamas leaflet: 

The Qassam Brigades’ strong point is if Israeldecides to launch a ground offensive, it would transform itssoldiers from hunters to hunted, sitting ducks caught in acrossfire, as a result of the careful planning, preparations,surveillance, identification of the enemy’s weak points and use ofthe element of surprise to confound the Israelis and decimate themin gun battles with fighters who would prove their superiorfighting ability.

These tunnels, dug under every street and alley in Gaza,constitute a strength to be exploited by the brigades toexacerbate the Israeli military’s confusion and create securityconcerns that the army will be unable to deal with. This will leadto a fundamental problem that compels it to modify its rules ofengagement with Hamas.

The tunnels also pose a threat to rural communities in Israel alongthe border with Gaza. There are dozens of tunnels that can be used byHamas to infiltrate Israel and kill or abduct civilians and soldiers.Al-Monitor and Jerusalem Post and Al-Monitor

Health workers flee from West Africa as Ebola epidemic spreads

Health workers on the front line of the spreading Ebola epidemic inwestern Africa are returning home from their assignments. The Ebolavirus continues to spread rapidly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea,with 44 new cases and 21 deaths in the last three days, bringing thetotal to 888 cases and 539 deaths since February. 

Health workers arebeing disproportionately affected, because they’re the ones who carefor the sick patients, and yet they are not provided with even themost basic supplies, such as gloves. Without gloves, a persontouching an Ebola patient is likely to contract Ebola himself. Thereare accusations that the little money being allocated to fight Ebolais being pocketed by executives and bureaucrats, with little left forsupplies and logistics for the front line health workers. 

This isalready the worst Ebola epidemic in history, and if the exodus ofhealth workers continues, the epidemic could become catastrophic forthe region. Even so, there’s no danger of a worldwide epidemic, sinceEbola is only spread through contact with the bodily fluids of aninfected person, as opposed to a virus that can spread through theair. All Africa and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Gaza, Hamas, Qassam Brigades,Ebola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea 

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