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IDF forces leave Gaza (Archives) Photo: AP
IDF forces leave Gaza (Archives) Photo: AP
 
 

Gaza war summary

Despite widespread praise, B. Michael unimpressed with military’s performance in Gaza

B. Michael
Published: 01.23.09, 14:55 / Israel Opinion

Did the army draw lessons from its past performance? Unclear. The praise being lavished on the IDF still requires verification. This army participated in two wars: In Lebanon it was fired at and it emerged out of it by the skin of its teeth. In Gaza it was almost not fired at, and it immediately “won.” Therefore, the only learned conclusion we can draw from the Gaza events for the time being is that it is much easier to win without an enemy.

 

Did the Palestinians learn their lesson? No. Death and destruction do not educate nations. This is just the way it is. More than 1,000 Israelis were killed in the second Intifada, yet this didn’t quite turn us into peace-lovers. It also didn’t make us moderate or logical.

 

Was our deterrence was restored? No; among other things, because we never had “deterrence.” Israel has been pulverizing the Palestinians for dozens of years now, yet they are having difficulty grasping this, and continue not to be deterred. This will be the case this time around as well.

 

Did we prove to the world that Hamas is hiding behind civilians? I’m sorry, but we haven’t done that either. We are the only ones who
can buy this excuse. Gaza is all about crowded civilians, and underground movements are not regular armies. They live within their people. Didn’t Menachem Begin hide in a residential building in northern Tel Aviv? And weren’t kibbutzim and other communities replete with mythological arms caches? And weren’t members of the underground Haganah movement hiding among women and children? And weren’t roads at borderline communities mined to protect against invading Arab armies? But how can I compare. After all, this is us, and they are just them.

 

Was the army’s morality proven again? Oy vey. A moral army is not one that kills civilians and then rushes to boast how moral it is. A moral army is one that goes out of its way to avoid killing civilians, even at the price of risk-taking. When the brutal British occupier assassinated the Stern Gang’s commander it shot him at point-blank range at his hideout in the heart of a Tel Aviv neighborhood. The moral Israeli occupier would have apparently dropped a one-ton bomb on the entire neighborhood and explained that it did not wish to jeopardize its troops.

 

Did the media draw lessons from the past? Most certainly. Democracy’s watchdog was wonderfully tamed and became a dog hungry for patting that only wishes to safeguard the government. So there, something did come out of all this operation after all. 

 

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