Daily Israel Report

Keinan: ´IDF Offensive Accomplished a Drop in the Ocean´

Nissim Keinan, nationally famous for his Voice of Israel broadcasts from the Sderot and Gaza regions, told Arutz-7 the IDF Gaza offensive accomplished a "drop in the ocean" of what needs to be done.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/7/2006, 7:12 PM / Last Update: 11/7/2006, 11:32 AM

Nissim Keinan is the voice heard several times a day on national radio, reporting from the south on Kassam rockets in Sderot, terrorist activity from within Gaza, and nearly everything else that goes on in that area of the country.

Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine on Monday, Keinan said, "Yes, it was a successful operation, but it appears that the terrorist activity will simply revert right away to the way it was before. We're talking about looking for a needle in a haystack - because Beit Hanoun, where the offensive took place, is just a small town of 30,000 people; but what about Beit Lahiya and all its terrorists? And what about Jebalya, and the entire area of the Shati refugee camp, and the Khan Yunis area, and Dir el-Balach - I mean, the entire place is swarming with terrorists. Just because you took care of one place and confiscated weapons and ammunitions, it still doesn't mean that you've achieved the goals."

"In any event," Keinan continued without stopping, "it's strange to hear the army talk of such great successes, when really it was just a routine operation. They moved the Kassam launchers southward, true - but you can fire Kassams from the south too, you know, and they also fire them from the north. Yes, the accuracy of the firing has been impaired, but they were never accurate; they just shoot and it hits wherever it hits."

Keinan then moved on to the catastrophic situation in Rafah, at the Philadelphi Route between Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai. Many army generals, security experts and MKs have warned of the huge amounts of weapons being smuggled in through and under the border in that area. Keinan said, "All the arms caches that we uncovered in Beit Hanoun are zero compared to what there is in Rafah... There is no real military activity by Israel in Rafah - but the truth is that even an air attack would not be effective. It's simply a paradise of terrorism, with barely anyone bothering the smugglers. Huge amounts of ammunition and weapons are constantly being smuggled in, and only once in a while does anyone do something to stop it. The IDF looks for tunnels, and sometimes finds a few, but the more they find, the more tunnels are dug. We are still very far from a real high-level strategic massive offensive that can start dealing with this largest terror arsenal in the Middle East."

"The only way to solve the problem of the tunnels," Keinan said, "is by flooding the area with water, as former Gush Katif Regional Council head Araleh Tzur once proposed."

tunnel diagram courtesy of Camera.org

Tzur, contacted afterwards by Arutz-7, was happy to explain his proposal. He said that he worked on the idea with a hydrologist from Hebrew University, including how much it would cost and where the water would come from, and that it was taken seriously by the IDF when he presented it. At one point, however, it was scuttled because of what he said were "extraneous considerations."

Currently living in Yad Binyamin while he and his neighbors from Ganei Tal await the construction of their new permanent community in nearby Chafetz Chaim, Tzur explained, "The area of southern Gaza is mostly sand, with some pockets of clay. I'm not sure what there is now, but there used to be an anti-tank canal along a large part of the Philadelphi Route. We calculated the angle at which water would trickle down from the canal into the area, and how deep. We said that if the canal, or different sections of it, would be flooded once a week with a certain amount of water - I don't remember the details right now - the water would trickle down 8-10 meters, and would make it impossible to dig new tunnels. It probably wouldn't work for already existing tunnels, because of the cement or wood supports they put in. I understand that now the tunnels are much deeper, and so the amount of water would have to be adjusted."

"Of course, the entire idea is predicated upon a governmental decision to take over the area," Tzur added - something that many security experts have been recommending of late.