Editorial |

The Patterns Entrenching Israel in Conflict

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Palestinian rockets fired from in Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes, today.
Palestinian rockets fired from in Gaza City in retaliation to earlier Israeli airstrikes, today.Credit: MOHAMMED ABED - AFP

After two days of airstrikes, razed homes, the firing of dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip and Israelis staying in bomb shelters, it can be said, “message received.” Israel made clear, in its usual manner, that it will not remain silent when the lives of its citizens are threatened in any way; Prime Minister Yair Lapid passed his first trial by fire and once again proved that the center-left can also conduct a military operation; the Egyptian mediators were quickly called in to obtain a cease-fire. All that’s left is to declare an end to this round of fighting.

Israel found itself in the current clash following the well-publicized arrest of the head of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank, Bassam al-Saadi – an arrest that motivated the organization to plan a retaliatory attack against Israel. This threat forced Israeli communities along the Gaza border into a near-total lockdown, with prohibitions on work, studies and gatherings. This reality is not new, just as the solution proposed by the government was not original.

The automatic military response has been entrenched as a pattern, although time and again it fails to achieve its goals. The many rounds of fighting show us that despite Israel’s military superiority, its deterrence is ineffective, and when it comes to the war on terror it’s very hard to attain the target of severing the connection between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israelis have long since lost their faith in the slogan that the Israel Defense Forces is ready for any scenario, and even the call to destroy the “terror infrastructure” can no longer be taken seriously.

Thus, the military operations, decorated with names meant to inspire pride and hope such as “Breaking Dawn,” “Protective Edge” and “Pillar of Defense,” are treated mainly as measures meant to guarantee the prestige of the governments that launched them and provide a platform for wise statements and false promises.

These rounds of fighting have made it clear that diplomatic dialogue, increasing the number of Gazans allowed to work in Israel, letting in goods and building materials from Israel and Egypt and transferring money for salaries have often done more to extend the periods of calm than have the dialogue of violence between Israel and the organizations in Gaza. Proof of this can also be found in the fact that Hamas has so far not joined the fighting in Gaza, and in its efforts to achieve a cease-fire with Egyptian mediation. Hamas seems reluctant to crown Islamic Jihad knight of the resistance to Israel, and seeks to return to a routine in which Hamas makes the rules.

Although Israel has said there is no target date for ending the operation, has exhausted its military response. It must join Egypt’s diplomatic efforts toward a cease-fire and restore daily routine to Israelis living near the Gaza border.

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