7 Feb 2017
TEL AVIV – Monday’s rocket attack on Israel was coordinated with Hamas, an Arab security official with close ties to the Palestinians told Breitbart Jerusalem.
“It is yet unclear whether Hamas actually carried it out, but the information is that they knew about it before it happened,” he said.
Monday’s rocket fire was “different from the previous trickling of rockets not just because it targeted the Ashkelon area, but also because of the Israeli reaction. Both sides understood it’s different this time.” Israel responded by shelling and bombing Hamas terror positions in Gaza.
He said that this time Israel and Hamas, whether involved in the hostilities or not, are looking to exchange diplomatic messages.
“Israel wants to send a message that any kind of fire will be answered with an iron fist because the Palestinians cannot be fooled into thinking that they can leverage rocket fire to send political messages or pressure Israel or any other player,” he said.
By “other player” the source explained that he meant Turkey, whose rapprochement with Israel, culminating in the full normalization of ties, has been a cause for alarm within Hamas.
“Earlier this week a Turkish business delegation visited Israel to explore the possibility of building a gas pipe from Israel to Turkey,” he said.
They also discussed the energy crisis in Gaza, but Hamas would rather focus on the alarming prospect that Turkey and Israel may launch close cooperation in the field of energy. For Hamas, the visit of the Turkish tourism minister to Israel this week is one straw too many, and they hoped to disrupt things by flaring up the south of Israel. Hamas believes that Turkey will wish to downplay its new honeymoon with Israel if the Israel Air Force attacked in Gaza at the same time.
He estimated that Hamas’ attempts will ultimately fail: “What we have at stake here is Turkey’s strategic interests, especially economic ones, which are key to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s success. When it comes to saving Turkey from economic isolation, Hamas’ interests are an extremely minor consideration.”
He said that more than the looming cooperation on energy, the minister’s visit is a sign of full normalization: “Gas could be seen as a disaffected, cold economic interest, but the return of hundreds of thousands of Israeli tourists to Turkey would be a return to the heyday before the Mavi Marmara crisis.”
In 2010, the Israeli navy raided the Mavi Marmara flotilla on its way to Gaza and killed nine Turkish activists protesting against the blockade Israel has imposed on the Strip. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and led a diplomatic campaign against Israel in numerous international forums, which included warming to Hamas.
Turkish Minister Of Culture and Tourism Nabi Avci arrived in Israel on Tuesday to attend an international tourism fair in Tel Aviv as the guest of his Israeli counterpart, Yariv Levin. Another 11 tourism ministers from Europe, Africa and Asia are expected to attend, as well as hundreds of tourism companies and airlines from across the world.