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Uzi Dayan
Photo: Niv Calderon
Put an end to Qassams
Real deterrence can only be resorted through military response to rockets
What would you do if your son or daughter were supposed to join the ranks of the IDF in two weeks and undergo basic training at the Zikim base, recently hit by a Qassam rocket? I, as one who objects to the scenes of parents gathering outside the base's gates, and who won't accept any kind of insubordination or draft-dodging, and who won't refer to our soldiers as "children" and won't treat them as such, would nonetheless do everything in my power to ensure their basic training period would be transferred to a safer location, had I been their father or commander.

 

Why so? Because they do not carry out any operational mission there, neither direct nor indirect. It has already been proven that this is a dangerous location lacking reasonable fortification (by the way, why not dig simple trenches there?), so what will we be saying if the next Qassam attack results in more injuries, or heaven forbid, dead soldiers who were not carrying out any relevant mission?

 

Let's face up to the truth – if the new recruit base was to be built today, it would not be built there. However, at this time, they don't want to move it for fear of "what the enemy will say", and even more so, "what will Sderot residents say."

 

And indeed, what would you say if you were living in Sderot?

 

I know that residents of Sderot and Gaza region communities would feel awful if the new recruits were moved. Such a move would clearly expose the bitter truth they are so familiar with – the blood of soldiers is worth more than the blood of civilians. Yet I also know that Sderot residents do not take solace in the suffering of new recruits at the Zikim base. They want a solution and hope that the blood of those injured in Zikim, and the associated media attention, will finally put an end to six years of abandonment.

 

Retake Egypt border area

Our leadership should stop declaring, either in words or through silence, that there is "no military solution." In fact, there is a military solution to the two main strategic objectives we're facing: Curbing the lethal Qassam rocket fire on residents of Sderot and its vicinity, and preventing Hamas from turning into a second Hizbullah.

 

To that end, we should isolate the Gaza Strip and boost targeted assassinations, economic pressure, and anti-Hamas operations with incursions into Qassam launch sites. This should include retaking the Philadelphi Route area in order to gain control of the Israeli-Egyptian border, which should have never been left behind to begin with.

 

This military response should be utilized in order to provide residents of Sderot and its vicinity with the security which the State owes any citizen, and also in order to restore the sense of security among Israelis who are asking: "How can we trust a leadership that failed in Lebanon and that cannot find an answer to the Qassams to address the Iranian threat?" Indeed, how can we trust such leadership to do that?

 

This is the only way to reinstate the deterrence that was eroded during the Second Lebanon War and a year of unresponsiveness in the Gaza region. Deterrence is easy to destroy, yet in order to restore it we cannot make do with reports about a one-time operation in Syria and declarations in the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee. Deterrence means putting an end to the Qassam fire originating in Gaza.

 

This declaration should be coming out of Jerusalem. This will provide us with a sense of security and restore our deterrent power. Everyone is waiting for this declaration – from Sderot to Damascus, and from Hamastan to Tehran.

 

The writer, a retired major-general and deputy chief of staff, is the chairman of Tafnit and president of the Israel (Sderot) Conference for Society

 

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