Israel discovered five terrorist tunnels dug by Hezbollah. The tunnels originated in Lebanon, crawled underground and ended inside Israel. Some of the tunnels were hidden 300 feet, deep beneath the ground. The discovery was big news.
Hamas, another terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Israel, has also tunneled into Israel.
Those tunnels, emanating in Gaza, made the news and partially sparked Operation Protective Edge in July 2014.
The difference between Hamas and Hezbollah tunnels in not only that Hamas dug into the southern end of Israel and Hezbollah dug into the north. The difference is that Hamas' tunnels were dug out of soft ground and sand. Their tunnels needed to be supported with cement.
The tunnels dug by Hezbollah in Lebanon are dug through solid rock.
Ultimately, the objective of all tunnels built into Israel is the same. Both Hamas and Hezbollah intend to use tunnels as a weapon of attack against Israel.
Tunnels bring with them the element of surprise. The goal of these terrorists is to strike without warning, kill a large number of innocent Israelis, and then scamper back into their tunnels and make their escape. Also high on their plan is the kidnapping of Israelis, preferably, Israeli soldiers or children.
Israel has destroyed the tunnels. The method used to destroy the tunnel was determined by the type of tunnel. Some were destroyed by explosives. The last Hezbollah- tunnel Israel discovered was flooded with water, cement, and bentonite.
Israel's objective in flooding the tunnel with water was clear and simple. When you imagine these tunnels, don't think of a straight shot from point A to point B — these are complex structures. Each tunnel is a labyrinth with multiple entrances and exits, detours, and off shoots. By using tremendous force and pressure and flushing millions of gallons of salt water from the Mediterranean through the tunnel, Israel was able to then look at satellite photos and determine exactly where all the tunnel openings and exits were located.
And they discovered that some sections of the tunnel originated inside homes only two miles away from Israel. The pictures Israel made public were of a cement factory that was recently built. From the factory you can easily see the flood of water Israel had flushed through.
There was another reason Israel decided to flush the tunnel with water, cement, and bentonite.
The big worry is that after an explosion, tunnels can be cleaned out and used again. Cleaning out a destroyed tunnel is actually easier than digging new tunnels. But not if the tunnel is flooded with cement and bentonite. Cement is obvious. Bentonite requires some explanation.
Bentonite is a type of mud. It can be dried and added to various liquids. It is often used to seal wells and to repair leaks. The most interesting characteristic of this substance is that when inside a liquid, it makes the liquid very thick. When you shake the liquid it becomes less viscous and can flow. Sound familiar? Bentonite is like ketchup. The purpose of shaking a ketchup bottle before use is not to put back the yucky liquid that leeched out, the purpose is to allow you to pour your ketchup onto your fries.
Israel dumped the proper proportions of water, cement, and bentonite into the tunnel to make sure that it was sealed off and rendered unusable.
Tunnels are a very difficult weapon to defend against. They have a long history of use as both extremely efficient and effective defensive and offensive weapons. Tunnels were first used in ancient times. They were used in Greece and Rome. They were used in China. The sewers — think tunnels — of London and Paris are famous. During the Holocaust Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto used sewers cum tunnels to smuggle food and weapons. Experts believe that North Korea has tunnels to burrow under South Korea. Those tunnels are rumored to be so large that they can move 30,000 troops per hour.
Fighting against tunnels has always been nearly impossible. It required knowing where the entrances and exits and all the twists and turns were located. Weapons used above ground were, for the most part, almost useless in tunnel warfare. But over the past year Israel has developed a top secret, near perfect technology that can detect tunnels and determine their depth and their size.
Enemies of Israel will continue to attack. Hezbollah and Hamas will not change. Those responsible for policing the region to assure that borders are secure — the UN and the Lebanese army — will continue to stand idly by and watch.
Israel must act and Israel does act.
Israel destroys tunnels. They wait, they watch and they destroy. It's just like the Carly Simon song, now a catchy ketchup commercial tells us. It is simply a matter of — "anticipation."
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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