At this time, when everyone is all over Defense Minister Ehud Barak, we should say a few kind words about the restraint and resistance he has been showing vis-à-vis overly impassioned politicians and angry media figures who demand a large-scale operation in Gaza.
They want to eliminate, destroy, and kill; how easy it is to just speak about it.
Indeed, the situation in Sderot and its environs is unbearable, and things are not much better in Ashkelon, but we all know that the people of Israel measure their military successes in blood.
The Six Day War was a great success story because of the relative small number of casualties compared to the achievements on the battlefield. The Yom Kippur War was a failure because of the number of casualties (even though in military terms it was a success.) This is the way we are, for better or for worse.
IDF Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin painted a grim picture this week: Iran is going nuclear, Syria has turned into a large missile warehouse, Hizbullah is acquiring immense quantities of arms, Hamas’ power is greatly increasing (and Egypt, which I won’t say a word about, has built a very modern army.)
The danger is greater than ever. Well, so what now? Are we going to bomb Iran? Are we going to conquer Damascus? Are we going to pulverize Hizbullah? Will we finish it off with Egypt?
We’re David, not GoliathFormer IDF chief of staff and new politician Moshe Yaalon once said that in the Middle East “we are not Goliath; we’re David” – the time has come for us to truly understand this. One embarks on wars only (only!) when there is no choice and when we are facing grave danger. We already experienced wars of choice and their harsh results, particularly in both Lebanon wars.
The Gaza Strip is a serious problem, but the 100 or 200 or 300 casualties we shall suffer in retaking it are also a serious problem – for the casualties’ relatives and for the State of Israel as a whole. And after we conquer Gaza, and after we sustain those casualties, what will Hamas do? Again, it will fire at Sderot and Ashkelon and Gaza-region communities – however, it will also be killing our troops in Gaza.
At the same time, for now it is difficult to live in Sderot and area communities. We must take care of the residents living there before we do anything else.
Barak has withstood the pressures for a Gaza operation well so far. He, and also us, including the over-zealous amongst us, knows that a leader who caves in to political and media pressures is not a leader, but rather, a spineless figure.
Barak, and all of us, know that the same politicians and journalists will be asking him after Gaza is conquered, and after we sustain all those casualties: Who is the idiot who got us into this mess?