Israel has a great army... Dedicated soldiers committed to defending Israel and defeating her enemies...Reservists who rush to the front at a moment's notice when called, with abundant eagerness to serve the country and to defend Israel.
This time was going to be different. This time the enemy would be soundly defeated and would be dealt a serious blow that they would never forget. The motivation of Israel's soldiers remained high throughout. Even though more than sixty soldiers were killed, and many others were wounded in battle, Israel's soldiers remained determined to defeat the enemy and to bring safety to Israel's citizens.
However, it appears that the politicians are going to snatch what should have been a military victory, yet again, out of the capable hands of the Israel Defense Forces, only to turn it into a political failure. Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke to the nation yesterday, as the last Israeli ground troops were leaving Gaza. He praised the defense minister and the soldiers for their efforts, emphasizing that the mission of destroying the Hamas and Islamic Jihad tunnels has been completed. True, a total of 32 tunnels near the Gaza border have been found and "neutralized", but many others remain operational under the populated cities of Gaza and near the Egyptian border.
As the enemy rockets continue to be fired at Israeli cities, and after 48 hours of terrorist attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and beyond, Israel has agreed to a 72 hour ceasefire, while the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah terrorists meet with the Egyptians, the UN, and the US to quickly iron out a long-term ceasefire agreement. No doubt such an agreement will be greatly publicized as an accomplishment that will "bring quiet", because it will include a provision stating that Hamas will halt rocket attacks on Israel.
If such an agreement is reached, what exactly will have been accomplished in this war? Was the purpose of the war just to return us to the situation that existed two years ago when the last war was ended prematurely? Was the purpose of this war just to destroy some of the tunnels and to get a promise to hold the fire for another year or two until the next war?
Unless Bibi Netanyahu suddenly learns to use the surprise factor in war and launches a sudden all-out military operation throughout Gaza to disarm Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it appears that this war is over. While no one in Israel actually likes war, there is a growing maturity, a growing understanding among the Israeli populace that when you fight a war, you need to fight to win and to win big. However, that understanding doesn't seem to have reached the politicians.
The main failure of Israel's current political leadership is in its ample ability to talk strong and to carry a big stick, but not to use it to the fullest extent possible, because of a lack of political courage to finish the job. There is the fear of having to continue responding to the unfair international criticism, as well as the fear of "the day after", of what to do with Gaza after its terrorists have been disarmed. Those are the questions that seem to haunt the mainstream politicians of Netanyahu's Likud party, including the boss himself, who seem to have abandoned the Zionist concept of asserting Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel. The terrorists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza know this well, and therefore, they may temporarily stop the rocket fire as part of a long-term ceasefire arrangement in exchange for some Israeli concessions, but they will remain armed, they will restock their weapons supply, and yes, they will rebuild their tunnels. They also will remain in firm control of Gaza and will regroup, all the while strengthening their military forces. Until the next war...