Rafah Holds The Key To Jerusalem

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On May 6th this year, after months of waiting, the IDF surprised Hamas forces by launching a night time invasion of Rafah, taking the international crossing by sunrise. What was billed as a potential bloodbath, went as smoothly as anyone could hope for, proving Israel’s detractors once again wrong and boosting public morale.

With all the success of the current Rafah operation, the most important part of it is the role of combat engineering to literally break it off from its connection to Egypt –  both above ground and below ground.  This cutting off from Egypt has major implications for the current war in Gaza and the future of Israel.

Egypt has long allowed for arms to be smuggled into Gaza by way of the tunnels under Rafah.  With only a 100 meters separating the terrorist occupied enclave of Gaza from Egypt, the smuggling has been constant, which has allowed Hamas to wage the sort of war it has been.  Without control over the border area and widened corridor –  Hamas’ ability to rearm has dried up.  It is only a matter of time until has nothing left to fight with.

So what does this have to do with Jerusalem?

From the moment the Gazan Arabs invaded Israel on October 7th, they called their war the Al Aqsa Flood in hopes that the result of the war would be their control over Jerusalem. The entire focus of their attacks is a stage in the fulfillment of their dream – Arab sovereignty over Jerusalem and the wiping out of the Jewish people.

On the walls of the Rafah crossing there is a story molded in metal showing the Gazan Arabs going from “refugees” to victorious and ultimately in control of Jerusalem.  It may seem like a fantasy, but it is an integral part of their narrative and it is fixed as part of the Rafah crossing, as if to signify that victory begins at Rafah.

The war with Gaza is as much about symbols as it is about fighting with Hamas. Rafah has been key for the Gazan Arab struggle against Israel. As long as the IDF had remained outside of Rafah the Gazans had  hope. Severing it from Egypt crushes that hope and effectively means  the beginning of the end of the active stage of the war with Gaza. 

Article by David Mark

David is Ateret Cohanim's Director of Communications. He is a long time Land of Israel Activist, writer and film maker.

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