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Ahead of Truce

Apartment building hit by rocket in Rishon Lezion, Tuesday Photo: AP
Apartment building hit by rocket in Rishon Lezion, Tuesday Photo: AP
 
 

Promises vs. reality

Op-ed: Truth must be told – in the future as well, Hamas will determine how long lull will last

Shimon Shiffer
Published: 11.21.12, 19:11 / Israel Opinion

Who says there is no good news ahead of the possible conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense? There is more than enough. We have learned, and not for the first time, to take our decision makers' statements with a grain of salt.

 

Thanks to their extraordinary behavior and obedience to the Home Front Command's instructions, the millions of Israelis in the line of fire let the government win. Now we expect our prime minister and defense minister to fulfill their obligation: To let us live in peace and security. It's a shame that it's not going to happen.

 

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The truth must be told: In the future as well, Hamas will determine how long the lull will last. The height of the flames will be decided in Gaza.

 

A senior defense establishment official explained to me on Tuesday that the only thing which could have deterred terror organizations, and even made them surrender, was if the IDF had entered the Strip and stayed there for a long period of time.

 

Clear proof of that assumption can be seen in what happened in the West Bank after Operation Defensive Shield: The IDF and Shin Bet suppressed suicide terrorism only after persistent fighting and regular presence in the area, which continues to this very day.

 

Although Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have suffered a serious blow, the Gaza entity has not waved a white flag. It hasn't blinked, one of the reasons being the IDF's accurate hits. What seems like a positive phenomenon to us helped the Hamas regime survive. Add to that the fact that Hamas has become the strongest Palestinian factor, holding negotiations with the Netanyahu government, which repeatedly ignores the Palestinian Authority.

 

In background talks, some of the government's top nine ministers say the operation will help turn Gaza into an independent entity. In the future, they explain, it won't be linked to the West Bank, and this will force Egypt to take responsibility for what is happening in the Strip. This is Likud ministers' dream: That the new, post-operation reality will forever connect the Strip to Muslim Brotherhood's Egypt.

 

Moreover, senior defense officials admit that the expected agreement between Israel and Hamas does not guarantee peace and quiet for the residents of southern and central Israel for a long period of time. The drizzle of missiles into Israel is likely to continue in the future. In such an event, the Palestinian side will claim that Hamas cannot control every single organization which decides to test its weapons.

 

Israel will continue to practice restraint

And there is another lesson we should remember: The statements decision makers are expected to make, that every rocket will be met with a response, cannot be trusted. Israel will practice restraint in the future as well.

 

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman boasted Tuesday, in an interview to Ynet, about the responsible way in which the government handled the conflict. He also promised that after a maturation period, Israel will be able to topple the Hamas regime. That is highly unlikely. The most important thing in the meantime is that the IDF did not make any sweeping decisions to our politicians, neither a victory shot nor an estimate that this will be the last war.

 

This operation exposed us to an ironic side as well: The first appeal to Barack Obama came from President Shimon Peres. This is the direct result of Netanyahu's wrong bet, favoring Mitt Romney over Obama in the US presidential election.

 

The prime minister's associates explained that, contrary to what commentators may think, Obama does not hold a grudge against Netanyahu. But I have a different explanation: Obama did not come to Netanyahu's rescue. He came to Israel's rescue.

 

 

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