Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is praising the mayors and residents of the south for their steadfastness. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has his picture taken next to the Iron Dome batteries, beaming with satisfaction (and it makes no difference that the person who ordered them built was Amir Peretz when he was defense minister ). If our leaders are so pleased with the success of the Iron Dome missiles at $80,000 per pop, why don't they transfer their summer residences to the south?
The bitter fact is that 63 years after the establishment of the state, and despite all the peace treaties we've signed, we're still under a primitive threat of Islamic terror. While our leaders are busy with their high politics to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, some Ahmed or Mustafa comes along in a van or on a donkey, puts the mortar or similar weapon in place, aims, fires and flees.
We're such a clever nation that we find it hard to fight the most common and primitive terror. Did we say primitive? As if it's time has passed? In that case, what can we say about the targeted assassination of the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza? Where's the sophistication there? And what made us think this kind of fighting in Gaza was still the last word in relations between us and our neighbors, or that it would pass without a response?
When we saw how the Grad missiles were creeping north from Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva, of course we feared that at any moment they would reach Tel Aviv. The cynic will say, nu, so what, are Tel Aviv residents any better? And when the chief of staff says we're in an intolerable situation, his words indicate that as long as there's no solution to the Gaza problem, it's only a question of time until their missiles reach Tel Aviv.
And we're babbling about the Iranian threat, but not about the threat of renewed terror from Gaza. Missiles or no missiles, our arrogance is flourishing. Moshe Ya'alon brags in a newspaper interview that if they fire on Tel Aviv we'll launch a ground attack until they say uncle. It's hard to believe that a senior minister, a former chief of staff, can talk such nonsense. The truth is the Israel Defense Forces can't solve the Gaza problem with its 1.5 million inhabitants. What will we do? Conquer it? Does anyone really want it? Or is it also considered part of Greater Israel?
We have a government that isn't telling us what Israel's final borders will be. Nor is it telling the Palestinians. While they're offering written proposals and maps, Israel has never said how it sees our final borders. Why? Because the right and the religious community set the tone in this government. It's ruled by a prime minister who is not only under caution, he suffers from an obsessive fear of losing the reins of government.
The optimist will say it's good we have a strong government, but the pessimist will say the Titanic was a strong ship, too. Our success has been to turn the Palestinian issue into a non-issue. By doing so we have created a situation on the ground where it will be impossible to evacuate Jews from the West Bank, even if a majority is in favor.
It's true that the Palestinians are not blameless, but in the end there is one truth we can't escape. And that is Bibi and Barak's "success" in making the Palestinian-Israel issue unfeasible. It's true that the Palestinians have stubbornly refused, from the day the United Nations approved the partition plan, to recognize our existence. By doing so they shot themselves in the foot and determined their own fate as refugees and a stateless people.
Bibi has succeeded in removing history from the international, regional and Israeli agenda. When President Shimon Peres spoke in Washington about the need to preserve a democratic and attractive Israel, he was implying that Bibi-Barak were leading us to the opposite of everything we wanted to be. We look ugly in the eyes of many countries.
Israelis haven't forgotten the days of fear when they boarded buses that did or didn't blow up, and entered cafes whose customers were killed and wounded in terror attacks. But there is a collective illusion that everything will be all right. So the events these days teach us that terror could return to Israel in full force. Iran will have the bomb in the end and a third intifada will erupt.
A tsunami is approaching, and the pair B & B are full of what sounds much better in spoken English.
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