Four Comments on the Current Situation in Gaza

For the first time, Netanyahu has evinced signs of leadership maturity and is behaving in a serious and measured way, like somebody one could trust.

IDF Spokesman's Office

1. How did it happen that a country with a military satellite in space, a “textile plant” in Dimona and intercontinental ballistic missiles, a country that developed Iron Dome, the wondrous, sophisticated umbrella protecting the population in the center of the country, and so on and so forth, didn’t know the deadly potential of the tunnels in Gaza? This “weapon,” which was used in the Vietnam War, wreaked havoc with the American army several decades ago and caused it to exit from there bloodied and humiliated.

Without being cynical, it has to be admitted that Israel has had bad luck a number of times in the past when it didn’t take seriously, for example, President Anwar Sadat’s statement that he was prepared to sacrifice a million soldiers to liberate his land. And then the Yom Kippur War landed on us. We were also surprised by the peace with Egypt. In the Second Lebanon War we discovered that our land army had no juice; we fixed it and in Operation Protective Edge we have discovered that the ground forces operate splendidly but now we are surprised by the tunnels. Imagine that one morning we had awakened to a mega-terror attack on a dozen locales by Hamas fighters who popped out of holes in the ground.

Overall, someone has to give an accounting for this blunder; either our intelligence, which is hyperactive in James Bond operations, didn’t know about the tunnels or it did know but did not assess their deadliness correctly. A commission of inquiry isn’t what’s needed, but rather a meticulous examination of whether a similar surprise isn’t being prepared for us in the north.

2. Every time we are in the midst of a military conflict, there is the same problem: We know how to start but not how to get out. Or we get out too early and for too short a time. This time it has to be clear: A. We won’t leave Gaza until we know for certain that the last of the tunnels has been neutralized. B. It is necessary to act to disarm the Gaza Strip of rockets.

There is a tendency to forget that Gaza is not an independent entity but rather a political party/terror organization that has taken control of a part of Palestinian territory. Is it conceivable that an opposition group, in France for example, could take control of a given territory and throw the Republic’s policemen off the roofs, thereby taking control of a part of the state? The normal Arab countries, which fear the spread of extremist Islam, must see to it that a terror organization will not take control of the entire Palestinian entity.

We too have extremists. A day will come when the price tag people and the hilltop thugs will take control of a part of Israel. This is a contagious disease.

3. After the blow Hamas has suffered at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces, which sent their homes and hiding places crashing down on them and (it is to be hoped) blew up most of their tunnels – no one should be surprised that they have come up with an “abducted soldier” who is supposedly in their hands. The soldier missing from the armored personnel carrier in which all the soldiers were killed by a direct hit has been declared missing in action by the IDF. The fact that someone from Hamas has stated his military serial number means nothing. It is to be hoped that after the war ends an entire country will not be dealing with emotional extortion that does or does not have any basis. The Gilad Shalit story should not repeat itself.

4. The management of the war, both domestically and diplomatically, has been successful. And this is thanks to the duo of Bibi and Bogie (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon). Netanyahu has for the first time evinced signs of leadership maturity and is behaving in a serious and measured way, like somebody one could trust. He has conducted the military and diplomatic battles intelligently. He has shown judgment in taking decisions and also in public diplomacy, which has brought us Europe’s trust and also the despairing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, with the aim of closing a deal.

How do we put an end to it from here? It is necessary to renew the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. “Quiet in return for quiet” is not enough, lest in a year’s time we go back to the same scenario or worse. Facing us is the last opportunity to catch the dove of peace by its wings.