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A man observing the damage by a rocket attack to a parking garage in Ashkelon last week.
A man observing the damage by a rocket attack to a parking garage in Ashkelon last week.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

As of this writing, the body count in Operation Guardian of the Walls stands at 212 dead in Gaza, among them 61 children and teenagers and 36 women. In Israel 13 people have been killed, including a 5-year-old boy. Some 1,400 people have been wounded in Gaza, half of them women and children, and another 50 are in critical condition. In Israel the life of half the country has been completely disrupted, with many living in constant fear.

As the bodies pile up and with them the ruins of military installations, high-rise buildings, houses, apartments, offices and civilian infrastructures in Gaza, the operation is continuing undisturbed, even though it’s been clear for a few days that it isn’t leading anywhere, but merely spreading more death and destruction in Gaza and Israel.

If this operation has resulted in achievements for Israel – which in the best case would be short-term – they’ve been exhausted already. Now the operation goes on by inertia, simply because Israel can keep it going while paying a relatively low price, and continue to impress it citizens with the capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, which are battling a far inferior military entity. If the operation continues another few days it will only cause death and destruction that will serve no purpose, certainly not for Israel. It will only sow more fear, hatred, humiliation and a desire for revenge.

In this situation the operation should be stopped immediately, without any delays or excuses, even before the international community puts an end to it. It must be stopped not just because of the terrible pain and suffering it is causing to millions of people, and not just because the United States is demanding this of Israel, but because it doesn’t do Israel any good.

This is another faulty war of choice, one of many. It was preceded by all possible mistakes, including violent and unnecessary provocations in East Jerusalem – in Sheikh Jarrah, at Damascus Gate, and at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Although none of this justifies Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire on a civilian population, it would have been better had Israel maintained quiet during such a tense time instead of creating provocations.

Despite the rhetoric of the military and political echelons, Israel’s attacks are senseless. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders that Israel has killed will be replaced by others and the military capabilities of both groups will be rehabilitated quickly and will end up being more sophisticated and lethal than previously, as has happened after all the other Gaza operations.

Gaza has no military solution, and Operation Guardian of the Walls will not change this. It must be stopped immediately.

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