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Gilboa Prison Blunders: A Colossal Tactical Failure for “Israel”, A Strategic Success for the Resistance

Gilboa Prison Blunders: A Colossal Tactical Failure for “Israel”, A Strategic Success for the Resistance
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By Staff, The Times of “Israel”

For over a week, the “Israeli”-occupied Palestinian territories have been transfixed by a jailbreak that was compared to Andy Dufresne’s meticulous and fictional escape from Shawshank State Prison.

In contrast to Dufresne’s astounding getaway, the entity’s Prisons Service all but opened the cell door and ushered Fatah chief Zakaria Zubeidi and his five Islamic Jihad cellmates to the exit of the high-security Gilboa Prison.

From what we have been given to understand, the five Islamic Jihad members were in the same cell from which several of them had attempted to break out in 2014. Zubeidi, from Fatah, obtained permission to move in with them shortly before the escape. Their route via the cell’s lavatory area seven years ago had been concreted off, but not so the area beneath the shower which they broke through this time. From there, they were able to crawl toward the main prison walls by way of a below-floor cavity, and then to dig their way up and out through a small hole in the dirt just outside the walls.

Helpfully, architectural plans of the Gilboa layout were available online. More helpfully still, the guard tower immediately above their breakout hole was not staffed – apparently for budgetary reasons. The guard in an adjacent tower was asleep. Awakened by unusual noises, she reportedly looked around in the dark, saw nothing, and nodded off again.

Eyewitnesses spotted the escapees almost immediately, with a taxi driver quickly phoning in a detailed report of suspicious figures in the area to the local police. When the cops tried to alert the jail, however, they reportedly discovered that the Prisons Service had changed its phone numbers, and they didn’t have the new ones. By the time police officers had driven over to the prison, crucial minutes had passed. Even then, it took the guards a while longer to confirm that anyone was missing; by the time they did so, the fugitives were long gone.

The escape of the 6 Palestinian detainees was widely celebrated in Gaza and across much of the occupied West Bank and were delighting in the escapees’ humiliation of the “Israeli” entity. “It is the right of prisoners to search for freedom, just as it is our people’s right. We must make every effort to release the prisoners. I salute them, and hope these prisons one day vanish, never to return,” Palestinian Authority premier Mohammad Shtayyeh declared the day after the breakout.

The assumption was that the escapees had carefully planned their strategy once outside the jail, coordinating with accomplices outside to ensure a smooth and complete getaway – and thence victory photos from a safe locale beyond the entity’s easy reach, and a huge psychological boost to the forces of Resistance.

Monday saw a heroic operation near al-Quds’ [Jerusalem] Central Bus Station and reports of a major operation foiled, and “Israeli” entity’s security forces are reporting a spate of further threats and bracing for a further escalation of violence.

Praising the escapees and bragging of its own capabilities, Hamas has been assuring the escapees and their supporters that even if all are caught, it will be able to secure their release in a subsequent prisoner exchange. Such confidence stems in part from the Shalit “exchange” – in which Hamas secured the release of over 1,000 prisoners from “Israeli” jails, 280 of whom were serving life terms, in return for freeing “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF] soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been captured inside his army base and dragged into Gaza in a cross-border raid in 2006. That deal hugely emboldened and empowered Hamas.

Shalit’s capture was a major tactical failure by the “Israeli’ entity that led to a strategic success for the forces of Resistance. It is to be dearly hoped that the Gilboa Prison jailbreak, with the farcical blunders that facilitated it, does not prove to be another such instance.

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