Far more than the rocket barrages that have sent Israelis scrambling for shelter throughout the bloody 21-day battle, the tunnel attacks — Monday’s was the sixth of the current conflict — have shaken the collective psyche and stiffened resolve to continue or even expand the fight.
In cafes and playgrounds, on social-media sites and in the privacy of pillow talk, Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies: armed enemies popping up under a day care center or dining room, spraying a crowd with a machine gun fire or maybe some chemical, exploding a suicide belt or snatching captives and ducking back into the dirt.
“It takes us a little bit to our childhood fairy tales of demons,” said Eyal Brandeis, 50, a political scientist who lives on Kibbutz Sufa, a mile from where 13 militants emerged from a tunnel at dawn July 17. “It’s a very pastoral environment I live in, the quiet, the green grass, the trees. It’s not a pleasant thought that you sit one day on the patio drinking coffee with your wife and a bunch of terrorists will rise from the ground.”
An Israeli military spokesman said that in the tunnels uncovered so far, soldiers have found more than 70 side shafts. Inside the Ein Hashlosha tunnel, they picked up potato-chip bags dated as late as February. Elsewhere, there were dates, water and crackers; rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles; small rooms for sleeping or hiding; a kidnapping kit of tranquilizers and plastic handcuffs; Israeli Army uniforms; and a Bosch drill used for digging the tunnels that Colonel Azulai described as “a very good one.”
“It’s like a subway under Gaza,” he said.
Israeli experts said each tunnel would take up to a year and cost up to $2 million to build, involving dozens of diggers working by hand and with small electric tools. The military has known about the tunnels since at least 2003 and had a task force studying them for a year, but was nonetheless stunned at the sophisticated network they found.
There's much more and it more than adequately describes the reasons why Israel is adamant about continuing their fight against this threat, despite heavy pressure being applied by the world community, and especially John Kerry, to get Israel to quit.
I pray for the innocents being victimized by the conflict. I pray for their protection, their safety, their well-being. I pray for this conflict to end on terms that would, as far as is possible, include the containment and elimination of evil. I pray for wisdom to prevail.