Background / Container vs. Containment

The true goal of the IDF and the Shin Bet in their fight against Palestinian terror is not eradication, but containment.

The true goal of the IDF and the Shin Bet in their fight against Palestinian terror is not eradication, but containment. The separation fence around Gaza is the clearest indication of this policy. However yesterday, the suspicion was confirmed that the means of overcoming containment was a container.

The fence was not the problem - but rather a human failure at the Karni crossing, with the entrance of what foreign experts have already begun calling a "Trojan sea-horse." A civilian security checker apparently failed to notice the double wall that Gaza metal workers had installed in the container.

Sources in the security establishment say if proper checking procedures had been followed, knocking or kicking the container would have been enough to detect the double wall. The container, which had ostensibly returned empty from Gaza, was in the port for two and a half hours before the attack. It had originally reached Ashdod and was bound for Gaza from Europe, but its journey may have begun in another country, perhaps in the Middle East.

Of all the terror organizations, it is Hezbollah that is best known for its expertise in the area of containers. The first mention of a Hezbollah-container connection was in January 2001, when Mas'oud Ayyad, both a Hezbollah activist and a member of the Palestinian Authority security apparatus, was alleged to have initiated a plan to kidnap a high-ranking Israeli and smuggle him to Lebanon in a container.

About two months ago the Shin Bet uncovered a cell of brothers active in the Israeli Balad party, and also allegedly in the service of Hezbollah, who made practice runs with a container full of diapers from Turkey, supposedly in preparation for an attempt to transfer explosives in the same way.

Elhanan Tennenbaum also confessed to his interrogators that he and his friend Kais Obeid had looked into the possibility of smuggling drugs in containers supposedly holding medicines.

Major General Moshe Karadi, commander of the southern district of the police, warned recently that containers, already used by criminals to transport stolen goods, can be used just as easily for terrorist activity.

Concern over the use of containers for terrorist aims is now worldwide. In the U.S., the Office for Homeland Security, now responsible for the Coast Guard, has initiated a special "containers security initiative" to scan suspicious containers. Of the 6 million containers used worldwide each year, the Americans are especially concerned about those leaving the teeming ports of Asia and Rotterdam bound for New York, Los Angeles, Florida, and Texas.