On August 16, the Israeli Army revealed that Iran has been directing terrorist attacks from Syria against Israelis in the Golan Heights region. Nobody paid attention. Four days later, Iranian-sponsored rockets from Syria struck Israel’s Upper Galilee. Is anybody listening now?
For weeks, supporters of Israel have been warning that the emerging Iran agreement would give Tehran funds that it could use to wage war against Israel through its proxies.
But now it turns out that Iran is already waging that war. The question is, who is paying attention?.
On August 16, a “senior Israeli Army Northern Command officer” revealed to journalists that for the past twenty months, Iran has “directed” terrorist attacks against Israelis on the Golan Heights.
“All of the attacks in the Golan Heights sector since December 2013 have been carried out with Iranian direction,” the officer told reporters, according to the Israeli daily Israel HaYom.
All of the attacks. Not one or two. All of them. “Directed” from Tehran.
The officer said that “several hundred Hezbollah operatives are currently active on the Syrian side of the border in the Golan Heights.” He said “Iran sends advisers [to the area] and provides money, weapons and training [to terrorists operating there].”
Among the Iranian-directed terrorist cells operating in the Golan, he said, is a cell led by one Samir Kuntar. Does that name ring a bell?
A Lebanese native, Kuntar is a veteran of the Palestine Liberation Front. The PLF, a member-organization of the PLO, was headed by Abu Abbas. Their most infamous attacks were the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985, and an attempted attack on the Tel Aviv beachfront that resulted in the Bush administration withdrawing its recognition of the PLO.
In January 1978, Kuntar and three other PLF terrorists hatched a plan to hijack an Israeli bus traveling from Beit She’an to nearby Tiberias. (Note: It had nothing to do with “occupied territories” or “settlements.” This was to be an attack on a civilian bus within the pre-1967 borders.) The hijackers were arrested by the Jordanian police as they tried to swim across the Jordan River into Israel. In less than a year, however, Jordan set them free. Apparently the Jordanians don’t regard conspiracy to commit mass murder of Jews as a particularly serious crime.
In April 1979, four PLF gangsters led by Kuntar infiltrated the northern Israeli coastal city of Nahariya. They murdered an Israeli policeman and broke into an apartment at random. The mother, Smadar Haran hid in a closet with her two year-old daughter Yael, and a neighbor. While trying to keep Yael from crying, Smadar accidentally smothered her.
The terrorist took the father, Danny Haran, and their four year-old daughter Einat hostage, and forced them at gunpoint to the nearby beachfront. There Kuntar shot Danny in the head and murdered Einat by crushing her with the butt of his rifle (or with a large rock, according to some reports). Kuntar was captured by the Israelis–and then released in a 2008 prisoner exchange.
Now, thanks to the Iranians, Kuntar lives in the Syrian-controlled section of the Golan Heights. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is the recipient of a Syrian Order of Merit from his kindred spirit, the mass murderer Bashar Assad. “Kuntar has recruited local Syrians to join the ranks of his cell,” the Israeli officer said.
How serious is the likelihood of attacks from Kuntar’s group and other terror gangs in the Golan? “At any given moment, the IDF Northern Command faces at least two warnings of impending attacks in the Golan region,” the officer said. In fact, just two weeks ago, the IDF “conducted an exercise simulating an Israeli incursion into Syria in response to attacks on the border….The main threat in the area is posed by jihadi groups, not the Syrian military.”
“At any given moment.” Sure enough, just four days later, Iranian rockets from Syria struck in the Upper Galilee. Air-raid sirens sounded for the first time in years, as residents of local town and kibbutzim grabbed their children and ran, panic-stricken, to their bomb shelters.
It was bad enough when it turned out that the Iran deal would give the Iranians hundreds of millions of dollars, which they could use to help Hezbollah and Hamas. And it was bad enough when it was revealed that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, recently authored a 416-page book on the need to destroy Israel.
But now it turns out that the danger is not hypothetical, and Tehran is not just using words. It is already engaged in a daily proxy terror war against America’s ally, Israel.
Will Members of Congress ignore these “facts on the ground” as they are weighing how to vote on the Iran agreement?
Mr. Korn, chairman of the Philadelphia Religious Zionists, is former executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and the Miami Jewish Tribune.