Israel must not fall into the trap that Hamas has laid for it by marching into Gaza. Because the casualty figure in a land invasion into Gaza will be much greater than the number of Qassam casualties in the past seven years. And because in five out of the seven Qassam years we controlled the entire Gaza Strip, and still, hundreds of rockets were fired from it at Sderot, in addition to the repeated bloody attacks against the settlers. Apparently, we forgot that.
The occupation of Gaza will not necessarily put an end to the rocket attacks on Sderot and its environs. In addition to the attacks on Sderot, the occupying forces will be attacked on a daily basis – roadside bombs, shooting attacks, and bloody suicide bombings.
Moreover, an invasion into Gaza will unite the Palestinian masses and the Arab and Muslim world around Hamas, which is now isolated and despised by most Arabs.
Upon the invasion of Israeli forces into Gaza, Hamas fighters will be portrayed in the eyes of the Palestinians and in the eyes of international public opinion as a Palestinian Masada – few against many, a residential neighborhood against a regular army, refugee camps against fighter jets, boys against tanks, David against Goliath.
Measure of hope
As the occupiers of Gaza, we will be dealing with many thorns and scorpions out there. The occupying forces will not enjoy one day of quiet, and neither will Sderot and its environs.
Even during these moments of fury, with our hearts going out to the ongoing suffering of the residents of Sderot and area, we must not forget that the root of the Gaza problem has to do with hundreds of thousands of people who are rotting there in refugee camps; camps that are hotbeds of poverty and despair, ignorance, religious and national zeal, hatred, and violence.
From a historical perspective, there is no solution to the Gaza problem without having, at least on the horizon, a measure of hope for those desperate people.
And what can we do now? We can and should reach a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza. Such ceasefire, of course, comes with a difficult political price. Yet out of all the prices that Israel may pay for a false and hasty decision, this is the least lethal and most tolerable price.