Questions for Sharon and Mofaz

What changed? Why was danger to the lives of children in S'derot acceptable a couple of months ago, but is unacceptable now?

P. David Hornik

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Arutz 7
After the barrage of over forty Kassams against S'derot, the Israeli government ordered stepped-up military activity against the terrorists. Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz announced that "the ground rules have changed... and Israel will no longer tolerate the attacks. ...If the sleep of the children of Sderot is disturbed," he warned, "that is how it will be for the leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others."

This raises the question of why five previous years of Kassam and mortar attacks on Israeli communities within and beside Gaza were tolerable. What changed? Why was danger to the lives of children in S'derot acceptable a couple of months ago, but is unacceptable now?

The answer seems to be political. Now that the Disengagement has been carried out, Ariel Sharon and Mofaz want to prove that it is a success. Continued mayhem in S'derot and nearby villages indicates that it is not a success; hence, the IDF gets a green light to act.

In other words, protecting citizens against death, injury and trauma is not paramount, but salvaging a political plan and trying to make it look good in Israel and the world is sacrosanct.

Aside from politics, on what moral calculus do Sharon and Mofaz decide when attacks on civilians are tolerable and when they are not - or do they have any moral calculus at all? Would they accept a situation in which their own children were endangered by rockets falling through their roofs, or is this only acceptable regarding other people's children, during politically convenient periods?

No doubt, Sharon and Mofaz might well worry about the success of their plan. The short time since the last Israeli troops were withdrawn from Gaza on September 11, 2005 has seen these events:

Dozens of rockets have been fired at S'derot and other communities bordering Gaza.

In one of them, Kibbutz Nir-Am, residents spent a night in bomb shelters for the first time.

The S'derot school system announced a strike and officials pronounced the town's security situation "unbearable".

Hundreds of terrorists, along with massive quantities of sidearms, ammunition, rockets, missiles (including anti-aircraft missiles) and explosives have been smuggled into Gaza from Sinai with the aid or friendly negligence of Egyptian "border police".

For the first time, Palestinian terrorists have carried out a Zarqawi-type abduction, videotaping and killing of an Israeli citizen.

The chief of military intelligence has confirmed an influx of Al-Qaeda operatives into Gaza, along with growing Al-Qaeda "interest" in Israel.

Since soon after the Oslo Accords in September 1993, terrorism has been Israel's lot, fluctuating in intensity, but never stopping. Bilateral agreements, dramatic offers and unilateral plans have all had the same result: more terrorism. Yet, as recently as the "second intifada" of 2000-2004, some Israeli leaders and commentators still called for a reconquest of the West Bank and Gaza and the dismantling of the incorrigibly terrorist Palestinian Authority.

The Sharon-Mofaz Disengagement has, however, put a stamp of permanence on the Authority and on terrorism as an integral part of the Israeli reality. For all their bluster about changed rules and sleepless nights, Sharon and Mofaz's total relinquishment of land to Hamas, Fatah, Al-Qaeda, et al. is a surrender of Israel's future to grave peril.