Nuclear terrorism. Hezbollah’s Al-Ahed newspaper published a video clip showing various strategic sites throughout Israel that the group plans to attack, including nuclear reactors, scientific research facilities, electricity plants, and desalination centers.
The list includes the nuclear reactor at Dimona, which Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah explicitly threatened to attack earlier this month. “I call upon the Israelis not only to evacuate the ammonia tank from Haifa, but also to dismantle [the] Dimona nuclear facility,” Nasrallah declared. “The Israeli nuclear weapon that represents a threat to the entire region, we will turn it into a threat to Israel.” Nasrallah was referring to an ammonia tank at Haifa’s port, an attack on which would “cause a disaster whose effects could exceed that of the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.” Nasrallah has also threatened to launch rockets at this tank, knowing full well the catastrophic outcome of such a strike.
According to the United Nations’ 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, an attack against a nuclear reactor is considered to be an act of nuclear terrorism. An attack on such a facility could cause the release of radioactive material, which would lead to mass casualties among the surrounding population.
Update from 2014. Hamas is “fully capable of initiating an attack” inside Israel through one of its tunnels, veteran Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday. The call, which was arranged by The Israel Project, took place shortly after Israel’s State Comptroller released a report criticizing the government’s conduct during the summer 2014 war against Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces “should not be praised” for its performance during the war, Harel stated, but at the same time, “more than any other Israeli organization, it was willing to deal with the failure very quickly.” He noted that much of the report’s criticism of the army was derived from the army’s own investigations into the war, which were conducted later in 2014.
Since then, the IDF has bought new weapons systems to deal with the tunnel threat and has tripled the size of the engineering unit. Harel called these changes an “improvement,” and stressed that the IDF has “managed to do both A) admit the actual problem that they face quite quickly, and B) deal with not perhaps a full-scale solution to the tunnel problem, but they’re much more equipped to face that challenge than they were in July 2014.”
Harel stated that Hamas, which has rebuilt its tunnel network since the war, is now “fully capable of initiating an attack through such a tunnel and sending, for instance, a few dozens of armed fighters inside a tunnel underneath the Israeli border and initiating some kind of a surprise attack—either on a kibbutz on the border or military outpost, or something like that.” The terror group is also possibly capable of launching “a simultaneous attack in four or five places at the same time, something that they could not do at 2014.”
Israel believes that it can detect such an attack attempt in advance, as it did in 2014. Harel recalled that Israel’s initial strike into Gaza during the 2014 war was believed to have prevented a prospective tunnel attack.
The two most likely factors leading to an escalation, according to Harel, would be an effort by Hamas to deflect criticism for its failure to provide critical infrastructure for Gaza, or an increase in rocket fire into Israel by one or more of the non-Hamas Islamist groups in Gaza.
Blocked by Facebook. Facebook shut down the official page of the ruling Palestinian political party Fatah on Monday, a move that came amidst a campaign by the social media network against accounts that promote violence.
Munir Jaghoub, a spokesman for Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization Commission, told The Jerusalem Post that the trigger for Facebook’s action was the posting of a historic picture of former Fatah leader Yasser Arafat holding a weapon alongside newly-appointed deputy leader Mahmoud al-Aloul.
Jaghoub explained that the notification from Facebook saying that the account had been closed came with an attachment of the Arafat photo. He added that Facebook had previously sent Fatah three warning messages attached to other photos. Jaghoub also denied that the photographs constituted incitement.
Facebook has not publicly announced why it suspended the account.
However, Fatah’s Facebook page has often promoted or celebrated violence against Israel and glorified terrorists. Just in the past 12 months, the page celebrated the killer of graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force as “a heroic martyr,” boasted that Fatah had killed over 11,000 Israelis, and posted an image featuring blood dripping from a knife as part of a thank-you message to the UN Security Council for condemning Israeli settlement activities. In January, Fatah celebrated the the 52nd anniversary of its first terror attack with an image including illustrations of terrorists, who were also described as “martyrs.”
Perhaps the most unsettling post on Fatah’s Facebook page appeared two years earlier as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The image showed a pile of skulls, marked with Stars of David, with a Fatah flag – with the emblem of guns crossed in front of a background of all of Israel – hanging from a rifle planted in middle of the pile.