It doesn’t matter how this war ends, whether with an agreement, a defeat, a victory or a half victory. “Wham bam thank you Israel Defense Forces” simply doesn’t work. We know from experience that every wham generates a bam. Every agreement after a bloody confrontation produces the next war, no matter what excuses are used for starting it.
There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. It’s safe to say that 1 billion have no interest in what’s happening in our neighborhood. They haven’t heard of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and couldn’t care less what he does to his people. But Israel is a mini-power and impossible not to have heard of.
The days when we boasted that Israel had defeated seven Arab armies are long gone. Israel has submarines, the most cutting-edge planes in the world, and missiles that can circle the earth and return to base. If one of our missiles hit the North Pole, it could make the ocean rise by two centimeters, but that missile is too big and too advanced to protect us from Hamas’ primitive rockets that get swallowed up in Iron Dome’s maw.
Imagine what we would have done if the people who opposed this invention, worried about budget spending, had won the argument. Hamas has surprised us not only with its ability to reach the outskirts of Haifa, but with the quantity of rockets it has amassed.
It doesn’t matter what agreement is reached to end Operation Protective Edge, as long as it doesn’t let the terror groups break it whenever they feel like it and doesn’t turn Gaza, with its tunnels and weapons factories, into a threat to Israel’s security — the kind we faced in the Lebanon wars. We may be strong, but it’s our strength that turned the Gaza Strip into a school — an academy really — for terrorists.
The three teens’ murder in the West Bank last month wasn’t planned by Hamas, although the killers were probably members of the organization. In Israel, emotions ran high and the IDF stormed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ (Abu Mazen’s) territory, arrested Hamas ministers and broke into the homes of Hamas supporters. This aggressive display of vengeance happened even before the youths’ bodies were found.
Every time we act violently we produce more terrorists. You can see on the faces of Gaza's children, who see their homes destroyed in the air force’s attacks, that many of them will grow up to be the terrorists and murderers of the future.
We’ve wasted our chances with Abu Mazen. Bibi turned him into a nonentity and a star of “there’s no one to talk to,” though in fact he showed goodwill to reach an agreement. Did Bibi consider Abu Mazen’s opinion about a government in which Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman set the tone, in which half the Likud ministers oppose returning an inch of occupied territory? Abu Mazen had his own terms, of course, but I don’t remember Yasser Arafat talking about peace and expressing regret over terror victims in the heart of Tel Aviv.
At the Arab foreign ministers’ conference, Abu Mazen harshly denounced Hamas in his statement on the three teens’ murder. He said terror mongers from Gaza were harming the Palestinian people. He’s certainly a worthy partner. His move to set up a “unity government” with Hamas ministers was an excuse for us to roll out the argument that there’s no one to talk to. Why not think instead that we should bolster Abu Mazen by meeting him halfway?
The government must think twice, 10 times, a hundred times about whether to send ground troops into Gaza. It must seek a brave partner to make an agreement with. If Abu Mazen can’t do it, it’s not the end of the world. No leader is irreplaceable. The best of them is sitting among us, in prison. His name is Marwan Barghouti.
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