Gaza and the Yo-Yo Effect

What is going to happen the day after?

Dr. Tzipora Pinner,

Arutz 7

Everyone who ever tried a diet knows it and hates it. The Yo-Yo Effect. You spend hard weeks fighting against your stomach with strange food regimes, and feeling hungry day and night. Then, you've finally lost 10 pounds.
Even the best of military operations has to come to an end one day.
With a sigh of relief you go back to your normal life. That is, until one day you discover that the zipper on your favorite dress refuses to close. Slowly, the terrible truth dawns on you: the 10 pounds are back; 12 pounds actually. One doesn't have to be a genius to understand that the only way to prevent this is a permanent profound change of eating habits and awareness.

Now stop looking at your tummy and try to apply this to the situation in the Gaza Strip.

After almost three years of letting Hamas grow fat in Gaza, thousands of Kassam rockets later, finally something is done. A quick, strong strike. Awesome.

When, after Shabbat, the first TV news came in, I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction; this is going to cut Hamas back to ground level, I thought. Combined with a ground offensive, it might stop the Kassam rockets and that trouble with Hamas once and for all.

Wait a moment. Once and for all? What is going to happen the day after? The week after? The year after? This is the million-dollar question.

Imagine that Operation Cast Lead will be a full, fantastic success. No more Kassam rockets and the Hamas regime disabled. And then? Who is going to fill that power vacuum in the Gaza Strip?

I don't know, but I'm fairly sure it won't be a suddenly emerging Arab Peace Now movement.

Maybe it will be Mahmoud Abbas, the crumbling leader of the Palestinian Authority whose term will end next month and his last loyal Fatah troopers. How long will he last? What will replace him - a coalition of several assorted Islamist groups? It's also not unlikely that a severely bruised Hamas somehow resurrects itself and creeps back to power.

Even the best of military operations has to come to an end one day. The last fighter jet will return to its base, the last tank will rumble away. With a sigh of relief, Israel will return to normal life.

Whoever manages to grab control of the Gaza Strip on that day is not going to be our friend. As soon as they've cleared the streets of debris, the Gaza population will begin seething with the desire for revenge and will support anyone who promises it. So, whoever will be in charge, even if they remain silent for a while and lick their wounds,
The Gaza population will begin seething with the desire for revenge and will support anyone who promises it.
as soon as possible they will begin to rearm themselves and to take revenge by all available means - homemade rockets, terror attacks, etc. The Gaza Strip will have to be sealed again, blockaded at all crossings; they'll have arms smuggled in through tunnels.... Sound familiar?

Well, it seems that the 12 pounds are back and the zipper got stuck. Until the next military operation. And the one after that.

The only way to prevent that? A permanent profound change of attitude. On our side. The realization that unilateral disengagement was a terrible mistake that brought today's situation about.

“Miracle diets” do not work and neither do unilateral disengagements. The problem tends to come back; only, it's worse each time.

So how to break out of this circle? First of all, what is needed is the prevention of a power vacuum by reestablishing a strong permanent Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip. However, if that presence is a military presence only, its permanence and even its justification is questionable. You can't forever keep troops in an area with which you have no connection. And public opinion inside Israel will sooner or later wear down and get tired of it.

If, however, the terrible mistake of 2005 would be corrected and the Jewish settlers that were transferred and ethnically cleansed out of Gaza were permitted to return, then there would be an incentive and a good reason for a permanent Israeli presence. There would be a connection, a renewed justification, a vested Israeli interest in Gaza.

To all who now cry out in agony about “settlers” and “occupation”, please remember exactly in this context the astute observation of ex-IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon last November that in the eyes of Hamas, the majority of the Palestinian public and the majority of Israeli Arabs, we are all “settlers” - in Tel Aviv-Yafo, in Sderot, in Haifa. They - the majority of Arabs, according to polls - do not want us in the Gaza Strip. And they also want us nowhere else.

Reestablishing Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip would mean the ultimate defeat of Hamas terror, the worst possible blow to their ideology. It would help put an end to their claim that terror pays and succeeded in forcing Israel to withdraw step by step.

Even the general Arab population in Gaza would, in a way, derive benefit from the reestablished settlements; their economic situation was better before 2005. It could become better again, with no need to perpetually seal and blockade the Strip and without a Hamas regime embezzling a huge part of the aid that comes in. And, with a friendly smile in the direction of world opinion, do you realize that the human rights situation in Gaza would actually improve under permanent Israeli control? It would mean the end of the murder of political rivals, as seen in the ongoing Hamas-Fatah power struggle, the end of “collaborators” hanging from lampposts or shot while in hospital, as happened just in recent days, and the end of regularly applied torture and random arrest.
Reestablishing Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip would mean the ultimate defeat of Hamas terror.

Last July, a Haaretz article quoted a “recent survey of Gaza residents, indicating that 45 percent of them would leave if possible. Their preferred destination: Egypt, of course.” As long as Hamas is in charge, Egypt takes great care to keep its Gaza border sealed. They know why. They don't want them over there, either. Under permanent Israeli rule, that restriction would most likely be eased and Gazans would be free to travel to Egypt without having to break through the barriers by force.

A few more bitter words on world opinion and international pressure. Did the international community appreciate Israel for Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement? Did the international community appreciate Israel for bringing about a Hamas state in Gaza? For then having to seal and blockade it? Or for silently enduring thousands of Kassam rockets? Does the international community appreciate Israel for what our fighter jets have to do now?

Was there ever a single positive aspect about the disengagement? Did it bring the “peace” envisioned by all those Mideast peace initiatives?

If the answer to all these questions is “no”, could it be that something went fundamentally wrong? And could it be that trying to repeat the 2005 mistake in the future in Judea and Samaria would bring about even more terrible results? How far is it from those areas to Tel Aviv? Do we really need a second “Hamastan”?

Let's break out of the circle and undo the mistake, forever. Now is the time. Stop the nightmare - reclaim Gaza for good.