A year has passed since Operation Cast Lead.
The Gaza vicinity region is calm and prosperous. Residents who left for fear of Qassams are returning home. Apartment prices are increasing. Even nature is blossoming. The blessed rain of the beginning of winter has woken the sleepy seeds of wild flowers. The soft hills of the "vicinity" have been speckled with yellow and red patches. It's possible that this is what these landscapes looked like last year as well, but no one was gazing at them, but rather westward, to locate a rising missile and precede its diving fall by taking shelter.
Hamas is deterred. Not because its leaders and the teachers of Islamic law have changed their opinion as to the way the conflict in the Middle East should be solved. Our monitors, who listen to the preaching in their mosques and to the radio broadcasts on their stations, have not discovered signs of moderation. As they did before the operation, the preachers talk about the Jews, the descendants of apes and pigs, who spread wars and epidemics and heresy and communism in the world, and that they must be expelled from the this world. Hamas
fighters have not lost their courage. They are as fanatic and daring as they were. The virgins waiting for them in heaven have not lost their patience as well.
Hamas refrains from firing because it needs a timeout in order to establish its rule, rebuild the destructed houses, intensify its military power and fulfill the Shalit deal.
When its leaders feel that they have completed their missions, when they believe the time is right, they'll resume their attacks. And maybe not. Perhaps they have learned their lesson. In any event, we cannot doubt the assertion that had we not sent a blow of fire to Gaza, Hamas would have continued firing.
We're enjoying a state of calm which is seldom violated. What was its price? The price was 10 fallen soldiers and more than 300 injured Israelis. There is no way to weigh this loss. The world has worsened its criticism against Israel. It's unpleasant, completely unpleasant, to face boycotts and curses, but the stains added to our image have not damaged us in measurable areas. The economy is good. The commerce relations have not been hurt. The countries leading the world – the United States, Russia, the European community, China, India, Canada, Brazil – have not changed their attitude towards us. They have not even compensated the Hamas regime for the suffering of the Strip's residents. Egypt
has tightened its relations with us. Saudi Arabia has rebuked Hamas and has not adopted the Gazans with money. The Palestinians in the West Bank have not launched a third intifada. For now. Turkey, with which we have always had unstable relations, was angry and cursed us, but a year later it is clear that its interests have cooled the growling of its feelings. Venezuela, Bolivia, Mauritania and Qatar have severed their diplomatic ties with Israel.
It's a shame, but not a disaster.
The operation's results are the victory of cruelty. It's unfortunate. It's brings us back to reality. It calls for conclusions. As time passes, the world, which as a short memory, will forget the harsh sights in Gaza, because more difficult sights, in other places in the world, will take up all the free space in the collective mind's hard drive. The Gazans will be the only ones to remember. If we are proven false, we must arouse their memory with fire.
We must not return to the absorption strategy, which is aimed at collecting credit points in the international public opinion. It has been proven that our stock of points runs out several days after we deal our enemies a critical blow. It doesn't pay to wait. We will have to impose the disproportionate response quickly, even if the rocket interception measures are not fully developed by then. "Deterrence", as security experts say, "must be maintained." To this statement we should add that the determination of the deterrence maintainers must also be maintained.