The firing of Grad rockets on Eilat last night was not the first swallow, nor was it the second. Terror attacks against the town and its surrounding area were carried out during the last few years. According to assessments, this terror activity will only intensify and will cause severe damage to international tourism arriving in Eilat. It is highly likely that after the first rocket will hit Ovda air force base, some international airlines will cancel their flights there until ‘the security situation improves’.
It is worth beginning with what will not happen as a result of this rocket fire. Israel will not act militarily against terrorists inside the Sinai, even if it will have precise intelligence in real time regarding their location and intentions. Israel has already refrained from acting decisively against the Gazan terror nests for fear of hurting the ‘sensitivities’ of the Egyptian ruling military council. There is no question of direct military action on sovereign Egyptian territory. Israel will also not ask the Egyptians to move large military forces into the Sinai in an attempt to gain control over the deteriorating situation – the Egyptians will not move a finger and will take advantage of the situation to deny Israel of the remaining fruits of the crumbling peace agreement. Another thing that will not happen is the application of American pressure on the Egyptians, that will include a threat to halt the billions of dollars that finance the Egyptian army every year. The only thing on Obama’s mind at the moment, as he himself admitted to Medvedev within range of the microphones, is to win the November elections. Until then, he wants industrial peace.
And in the meanwhile, what remains of Israel’s worn out deterrence is fading away in the creeping devaluation, or the boiling frog, method. But it does not have to be so. The terror coming from the Sinai is manufactured mostly in the Gaza Strip. The rockets fired on Eilat also are likely to have come from there, passing again under the Philadelphi route, this time in the other direction. I called before and I call again for a massive and totally disproportionate response against the smuggling tunnels infrastructure dug under the route. The air force has the ability to operate for a day or two at a rate of a four-aircraft formation every ten minutes until the tunnel infrastructure is destroyed. The planes, the pilots, the ordnance and the intelligence all exist and were financed by the huge defence budget. Such levels of destruction of the tunnel infrastructure will urge Hamas and its terror partners to act decisively to halt the terror coming from the Sinai. If they will not get the hint, Israel should wait a few weeks and destroy again any tunnel the smugglers would try to rebuild.
I said it before and I will say it again – there is no future for the spineless in the Middle East. Israel has already abandoned most of its southern cities to their fate. Abandoning Eilat, with its international airport and its maritime route to the Far East would be unthinkable.