As Protective Edge moves toward its goals and the length and breadth of the Hamas military infrastructure is realized, Israeli leaders are left with some very important decisions.
They can reach their immediate goals of destroying these tunnels and subduing rocket fire and leave Gaza knowing that they have established a couple of years of calm and normalcy.
That is until the next round.
Hard lessons from previous engagements with the Hamas enemy has shown Israel that each time they settle for this kind of endgame the enemy comes back stronger, more equipped with inevitably more killing power. If Israel accepts any kind of long term truce they will be facing something worse the next time.
The IDF suspected they were building tunnels into Israel months ago. John Bachelor on his WABC radio program, from Jerusalem last Thursday, July 24, interviewed people at Kibbutz Eshkol, which is located just beyond the Gaza wire, hearing digging sounds and tapping noises while they slept at night. The IDF did not know the extent of the problem until Operation Protective Edge revealed it just days ago.
The New York Times reported on July 18, quoting an Israeli military source that the tunnels are “’complex and advanced,’ and said they were ‘intended to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.’” As chilling as this sounds one has to only think about the consequences of a large scale sneak attack into these communities if the threat is not stopped in its tracks.
Words like “erode” “decay” “degrade” to describe Israel’s objective of Hamas military capability does not serve to stop it permanently. Policies that use these euphemisms to describe victory promote what we have already seen to be true. Each time they come back stronger.
Operation Cast Lead in 2008, operation Pillar of defense in 2012 and now Operation Protective Edge has shown Hamas to do exactly that, with each operation they are more equipped and able to inflict more terror onto the Israeli public. Gideon Levy, Haaretz journalist and one of the primary spokes people for the Israeli left calls it “a recurring nightmare.”
To wait until the next round as stated at the beginning of this article could mean something awful that no one really wants to think about. What if the next time Hamas coordinates with Hezbollah in Lebanon, combined actions from both the north and the south? More tunnels, more rockets more murder, death and mayhem on the Israeli side. A large scale invasion of terrorists into Israel through tunnels, may lead to an unthinkable result with thousands of Israeli dead, maybe hundreds of thousands. Analysts believe the tunnel system is so complex and vast it might constitute a complete city under Gaza. What happens if they can reach other Israeli towns and cities, maybe Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, connect with the West bank and coordinate with them. These nightmarish scenarios are only a few years away. Could Israel actually cease to exist?
Why wait for that 21st century version of the Holocaust?
Israel should eliminate the Hamas threat completely and thoroughly now during Operation Protective Edge. Besides Israel already mobilized into Gaza and Hamas weakened by these first few weeks of fighting, maybe the most important difference is the Sinai factor which has not presented itself before and could very well disappear in the future. There has been a military rapprochement with the Egyptians since al-Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood. Currently, Egypt is completely in Israel’s court on this thing. With their backs up against the wall Hamas leaders and fighters will not be able to escape into the Sinai, the only place in the past they could go in such a final Israeli assault scenario. The Egyptians will cut them down if they try to enter their territory. They will be forced to shoot it out with the IDF.
Israel needs to re occupy Gaza, at least in the short term, go over every inch of the strip both above and below ground however, long it takes. Destroy every rocket, ever gun, every armament, every bullet and their factories to produce these items. Meet and kill all resistance which it comes in contact. Emerge a real victor.
Yes, the casualty numbers will be high. Israel will lose many of its best young people. And, the collateral damage on the other side will be extensive of which Israel will take hits from the world community. But, what is the alternative, wait until next time when they will be stronger, better able to run operations into Israel and kill Israeli men, women and children indiscriminately? Can you imagine your Israeli grandmother pulling out that old revolver from her night stand in Rishon l’zion or Hadera or Be’ersheva spending her last living moments killing terrorists coming through her front door?
Given time those tunnels can reach further and deeper into Israel if they aren’t stopped. Running almost 100 ft underground now they will improve the technology, go deeper and become more silent , waiting like a jackal to strike in the night.
With Israel slowly but surely losing its military edge against all of its enemies it’s time to make the hard decisions and do what is necessary for the preservation of the Jewish State before it’s too late. The fate of our ancestors cries out for this justice. Let us not miss this moment in history to turn this around. Urge the government to continue until a completely destroyed Hamas no longer exists.
After it’s over and every weapon and every bad guy is eliminated from the Gaza Strip then and only then with periodic inspections by Israel and international bodies will Gaza become calm and southern Israel will become the beautiful part of the country that it’s meant to be.
Who knows, maybe even a real peace will happen.