I am pleased to see Haaretz Publishing this strong condemnation of weak IDF policies. With the promotion of the Iron Dome, the IDF is moving from offense to defense. A very big mistake. Ayalon: There’s no other solution than to topple Hamas. Ted Belman
In the middle of a counter-attack against Hamas’ men and infrastructure, Israel has blinked, and agreed to a ceasefire. The government, which is full of ministers with military backgrounds, ignored one of the most basic rules of managing a battle: Take advantage of success (if it had not been a success, Hamas would not have begged for a truce ) until the fight is won.
Even though residents in the south would have had to suffer enemy missiles for some time, they also have trouble grasping the government’s strange logic. The enemy will now recover, just as it did after Operation Cast Lead, another military operation which drew to a halt before its completion; Hamas will arm itself for another, even more lethal, round of fighting. Who knows how many yellow school buses will be attacked as a result of the decision-makers’ weak will?
The argument that the ceasefire was designed to allow residents and vacationers to enjoy the Passover holiday in peace reflects the government’s superficial and short-sighted outlook, not only regarding security affairs. Most citizens display the fortitude required to take steps that would hurt the enemy and force it to stop its attacks for a prolonged period. But the government has once again sent a signal to Hamas – and to any other violent, antagonistic group – that it lacks the willingness, or the capability, to take risks that can lead to victory.
The IDF has also become wedded to this weakness, not only regarding Hamas. The army should not function merely as a police force or judicial system, content to cah terrorists. The IDF’s role is to preempt attacks against the state’s civilians. Palestinians began launching suicide attacks at the beginning of the year 2000. The people’s army took steps to protect itself (even though it is supposed, first and foremost, to defend civilians, and then worry about defending its own soldiers ). In a period in which dozens of Israelis were murdered the army was satisfied with small-scale anti-terror measures.
Finally, after the terror attack at a Netanya hotel on Passover eve in 2002, the government sensed that the public was about to rise up in fury, and the IDF embarked on Operation Defensive Shield. This military campaign significantly reduced the number of terror attacks, prompting the question: Why wasn’t such an operation launched a year earlier?
Similarly, Operation Cast Lead was launched only after residents of the south endured thousands of missile attacks over many months. It wasn’t initiated when the missile attacks started – something that could have prevented much of the misery and suffering.
This operation, like the Second Lebanon War, was halted before it could be completed, largely at the IDF’s request. Since the terror infrastructures were not eradicated, and since Hamas’ leadership was not put out of operation, Israel’s south continued to endure hell after Cast Lead. The smuggling of missiles into Gaza continued (who is to blame for that? ). Some of these missiles can reach Tel Aviv.
The Iron Dome system can intercept some of them. But this use of Iron Dome is the start of a process in which Israel runs away from the fight without attaining victory. And it gives a terror organization an opportunity to assault our defense budget by firing cheap rockets (which it has in abundance ) and forcing Israel to use extremely expensive anti-missile missiles to intercept them.
Ahead of the Passover holiday, Hamas received, in addition to the ceasefire, an unexpected gain. A number of Israel’s “former” security officials joined forces in calling on the government to surrender to Hamas’ demands and release about 1,000 terrorists, in exchange for Gilad Shalit. The wisdom of this demand and its perfect timing shows just how we got ourselves to this low point: There is now an inability to bring an end to terror activity of organizations which kill Israeli citizens, fire thousands of missiles, kidnap civilians and soldiers, and dictate terms of surrender for the release of these hostages. These “former” security officials headed unsuccessful struggles against Hamas, Hezbollah and other, similar groups. What gives them the moral right to demand such a capitulation? Now we are slaves -, to borrow a phrase from the Haggadah – to cowardice, to erroneous conceptions and delusions. Next year, let us be free, and accomplish the worthy goals of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.