Operation Protective Edge began like the First Lebanon War, and will end like the Second Lebanon War: not with a knockout, but only with a "victory by points". How much will Israel pay for the impending draw, and for how long will it last?
Remember Lebanon War I, remember Lebanon War II!
Simha Nyr, adv.
Operation "Protective Edge", began like the First Lebanon War – then because of the Katyushas, now because of the Qassams – and will end like the Second Lebanon War: not with a knock-out, but only with "victory points". How much will Israel pay for the next draw, and how much time will be gained for this price?
I am neither a pacifist, nor a blood-thirsty general, but a horse dealer, who buys horses and sells them, trying to make some Lirot out of this trade.
In a previous article about the ground invasion to Gaza I said:
One of the lessons of the Second Lebanon War was that a ground invasion to Hezbollah territory was inevitable since one cannot carry out certain actions otherwise, and that the ground invasion in that war was too late.
But a ground invasion has a price, especially when it comes to cities like Gaza, for cleaning it from weapons needs a massive entrance, maybe by several army divisions.
To the question whether I'm for or against a ground invasion, I will answer as briefly: if one offers me 2,000 years of peace for but one Israeli soldier lightly wounded, I would say "Give me twice of this stuff" but if one offers me a shorter period of peace for more casualties – it will be a basis for bargaining: à la horse-trade comme à la horse-trade.
From the above said one can certainly understand that it's clear to me that sometimes wars are unavoidable, despite the sacrifices, but one should think twice before jumping into the water.
Casualties for two hundred years ahead
The spark that ignited the First Lebanon War, mostly memorable as Operation Peace for Galilee, or Operation Shelleg, was the assassination of the Israeli ambassador to London, Shlomo Argov, but its justification was Katyusha shelling of Kiryat Shmona and other settlements in the Galilee.
In the years preceding this war the Galilee indeed had been shelled frequently, and there were casualties – amounting an average of about five killed per year, and Israel went out to defeat this terrorism, and indeed she annihilated him, but got a serious migraine: more than a thousand dead soldiers who gave their lives to save five deaths a year.
In other words: This "saving" of human life cost Israel fatalities for 200 years ahead, even more. 1200 fallen, if my fading memory does not betray me.
If it were possible, if one could go back in the time-machine revive the 1200 dead soldiers for some 120 people who would have been killed by the Katyusha rockets between the two Lebanon wars, Israel would have gained a "net profit" of about 1100 Israelis alive, with a possible bonus that maybe peace would break out in-between, and death shall have no dominion any more.
Minimum-maximum estimates, doing homework
When going to war, like in entering any "civil" project, one has to do one's homework: assessing the minimum-maximum probable achievements, against the minimum-maximum probable price – especially in human lives.
No, I do not expect that the government, while deciding on the ground invasion, will publish an announcement on its assessment of "cost-efficiency", but from politicians, journalists and ret.-generals who push toward such invasion, I do expect it.
And my last question: what needs to happen eventually that one, especially the government, would say if we knew that this would be the results of the invasion, we would have opposed it?
Four days before the end of the Second Lebanon War, under the headline How Much Blood Needs to be Shed More, I wrote:
From this war nothing good will come out.
This war will end in a draw – whether we want it or not. It will end in a draw – since neither party would be able to bring over the other a final and complete defeat.
The question is how much blood should be shed more in order to achieve the same draw in which we are anyway.
On that day, maybe a day later, it was already clear that it is going towards a cease-fire. The UN had already been in the picture, but the State of Israel, rather than "watching the goal", went out to score more goals – just in order to improve the negotiating positions for ceasefire.
That "Improving of positions" cost Israel the lives of 30 – 40 soldiers, and the draw I predicted came true.
Facing the truth
In his famous speech over Roi Rotenberg's grave, in 1956, Moshe Dayan said:
Let us not cast blame on the murderers today. What should we claim about their burning hatred for us? Eight years they are sitting in refugee camps in Gaza, and against their eyes we turn to our domain the land and villages where they and their ancestors lived.
… We need to have an account open with ourselves today. We are a generation of settlement, and without the steel helmet and muzzle of the gun, we cannot plant a tree and build a house. Let us not get deterred from seeing the loathing that is inflaming and filling the lives of hundreds of thousands of Arabs who sit all around us. Let us not turn our eyes lest it will weaken us. This is compelled on our generation. This is the choice of our life – to be prepared and armed, strong and stiff, or the sword will drop from our fist, our lives cut down.
Similar things said MK Hanin Zoabi about the kidnappers and murderers of the three teens, and it outraged the whole world against herself:
The hijackers ... are men who did not see any opening to change their reality, and they use these means until Israel gets sober up a bit. Until the citizens and the society of Israel sobers up and feel the suffering of others.
Moshe Dayan was already sober back then, 58 years ago: He saw and felt the suffering of the Palestinians, but his answer was that it is Israel's destiny, to "eat sword" forever.
The state of Israel, today, knows that this is our destiny, that no agreement with the Palestinians will be achieved in the next generations (and maybe never will), and we shall "eat sword" forever, but she will not admit it. She is fooling herself (in Hebrew, both country (ארץ) and state (מדינה) are feminine).
In this framework of self-deception Israel does all kinds of manipulation, just to "buy time", and to show the whole world that the Israelis are incurable peace-seekers, while the Arabs want only one thing: to destroy Israel, and throw all the Jews to the sea.
Thus it was with the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which exploded recently: Benjamin Netanyahu and his government knew that any agreement with them can't be reached in the foreseeable future, but they wanted to show the world that the Israelis, with their morbid desire and lust for peace, are ready for "negotiation without preconditions". Yet, in the appropriate moment they are pulled out of their hat the "winning rabbit": a demand that the Arabs will recognize Israel as a Jewish state ...
The State of Israel does not really need this "recognition", but Bibi & Co. knew that the Arabs will not agree, and that the Arab refusal will present them as peace seekers, and the Arab as peace refuseniks, and this maneuver had succeeded.
A similar drill was done by Bibi & Co. these days, when they jumped on the Egyptian cease-fire: They knew that Hamas would not agree, and Israel will look beautiful in the eyes of the world.
Once again there will be no knock-out
Ground incursion into Gaza will not buy the IDF an overwhelming victory: no "knockout", but only "victory by points" as the prattling arrogant Chief of Staff Dan Haluts said then.
When will this invasion will be over?
When the rate of fatalities in Gaza would reach a level the world will not accept, and the number of the Israeli fallen will reach a level the Israeli society will not accept.
When this happens, both Israel and Hamas will look for a ladder to go down the high trees they climbed on.
And what will it yield? A year, two or three years of silence, and all over and over and over again.
This article, in Hebrew, was published before the ground invasion to Gaza Strip, in Protective Edge operation.
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