Recently, the political echelon ordered a temporary suspension of a limited operation planned by the IDF in the Jenin area.
This suspension is believed to be influenced by political considerations and pressure from the United States.
On June 28th, American Secretary of State, Tony Blinken, strongly criticized Israel, suggesting that the events in the territories of Judea and Samaria were adversely impacting efforts to promote a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The IDF and Shin Bet are deeply concerned about the ongoing efforts of Palestinian terrorist groups in the Jenin area to establish a terror entity similar to that in the Gaza Strip.
Their aim is to construct an infrastructure capable of producing rockets that could pose a significant threat to Israeli cities.
In response to a claim by a group in the Jenin area called the “Ayash Battalion,” stating responsibility for a failed rocket launch towards Israel, the military wing of Hamas issued a statement refuting the claim.
While Hamas may fear an Israeli reaction, the Shin Bet takes this situation seriously and acknowledges the developments on the ground.
The Islamic Jihad, with the assistance of Iran’s “Revolutionary Guards,” is spearheading the efforts to build a rocket production infrastructure in the Jenin area.
Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar disclosed on May 9th that Israel successfully thwarted the activities of an Islamic Jihad cell involved in rocket production in Jenin.
The Israeli security establishment fears that Judea and Samaria, especially the Jenin and Tulkarm areas in close proximity to major Israeli cities, may transform into regions where rocket production and launch sites emerge, similar to the situation in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF’s “Protective Shield” operation in March 2002 regained full freedom of security action within the Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria, allowing the Shin Bet to neutralize or eliminate terrorist cells involved in rocket production.
The Islamic Jihad’s endeavor to manufacture rockets in Judea and Samaria, targeting major Israeli cities, represents another step in the implementation of General Qassem Soleimani’s doctrine to encircle Israel with a multitude of rockets, missiles, and drones from all fronts.
Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar highlighted that the terrorist cell planning rocket production in the Jenin area was under the command of the senior Islamic Jihad leader, Tarek Izz ad-Din, who was subsequently assassinated during the “Shield and Arrow” operation in the Gaza Strip.
“This is a dangerous precedent,” Bar emphasized. “The apprehended members of the cell have admitted their activation by Tarek Izz ad-Din. We have no intention of turning the city of Afula into a target for terrorist attacks.”
The assassination of Tarek Izz ad-Din stands as a significant achievement of the “Shield and Arrow” operation, which enabled the Israeli security system to dismantle part of the Islamic Jihad’s military establishment in northern Samaria.
However, the recent attempts by the Islamic Jihad to establish a new rocket production infrastructure in the Jenin area renews the obligation for Israel to thwart these efforts at an early stage.
Twenty-two years ago, Israeli political parties disregarded the initial launches of “Qassam” rockets by Hamas from the Gaza Strip towards Netzarim settlement.
Over time, these rockets evolved into a threat reaching deep into Israeli territory. Since then, the Israeli security establishment has learned valuable lessons.
While some in the IDF argue that the threat of rockets from the Jenin area is distant compared to armed groups and the production of large explosive devices, it is crucial to recognize the inherent danger in establishing a Palestinian rocket production infrastructure in Jenin, driven by Iran.
The IDF and Shin Bet must take decisive action in Jenin, apprehending all individuals connected to this Iranian plan.
Rockets launched from Jenin towards Israel, even if initially equipped with homemade chemical warheads, represent a perilous development.
This serves as a starting point, as terrorist organizations eventually transition to using standard explosives and enhance the rockets’ range.
The IDF and Shin Bet must prioritize countering this threat alongside their efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.
Therefore, it is essential for the political echelon to carefully consider the appropriate timing to authorize the IDF’s operation to eliminate explosive device manufacturing laboratories and rocket production workshops in Jenin.
Despite the pressure from the United States, each passing day increases the military readiness of terror groups in Jenin and poses an escalating danger to Israel.