Almost seven years after the complete uprooting of the Jewish presence in the Gaza Strip, a move that was supposed to eliminate any pretext for Gaza-Palestinian terror, “amazingly enough” the enmity felt by hundreds of thousands of Arabs living around us has not abated.
After we left Gaza, the Strip was supposed to put away its rockets and utilize its resources for the benefit of its citizens. However, Gaza “unexpectedly” decided to crown Hamas, reinforce the operations of its rocket factories and boost the arms smuggling traffic through its tunnels. All this was done in order to keep the mega-terrorist campaign against Israel alive, of course, even at the price of embittering the lives of Gaza residents.
Seemingly, the Palestinians – and Gaza residents in particular – are fully utilizing a deeply distorted cost-benefit pattern; however, this distortion is mostly seen perceived by the West and by quite a few Israelis, who always refused to understand the considerations and preferences that prevail in the region.
What Israelis and Westerns see as an “intolerable loss” is viewed by many Palestinians as a certainly tolerable sacrifice given their supreme purpose: Removing the Zionist entity from “the place it doesn’t belong in.”
The utilitarian language of Western logic is not the language of Gaza and the West’s loss and profit terms are not Gaza’s terms. Indeed, “Allah’s decrees” have been etched into Gaza residents’ consciousness to a much deeper degree than Israel’s threats, measured responses and the temptations of modern life. Hence, it’s hard not to view Israel’s current restraint as contemptuous to southern residents.
The damage equation formulated by Israel in Operation Cast Lead was etched into the Islamic minds of senior Hamas leaders in Gaza, who realized that their own heads are also in danger and that they better think in cost-benefit terms. This was immeasurably more efficient that the various Israeli threats issued on the eve of the disengagement lest Gazans dare fire at us after we leave the Strip; threats that left no impression on Jihad and Hamas members.
Israel’s weak leadership
The same is true for the gravest terror offensive ever faced by Israel, during the second Intifada, which evaporated almost entirely in Judea and Samaria only in the wake of Operation Defensive Shield and targeted assassinations.
Back then, on the eve of the operation, we kept hearing the ironclad rule of the local leftist oligarchy, whereby “terrorism cannot be defeated.” Upon the introduction of the assassination policy, we were forced to hear Israel’s finest commentators and opposition leaders repeating the “11th commandment” – “If we hurt terror leaders, a mega-attack is merely a matter of time.”
We heard this especially after honorable Islamists Ahmad Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi received a permanent subscription for 72 virgins in heaven. Following the Yassin assassination, Shimon Peres asserted that we just opened a terrible front in a religious war versus Islam.
Even though, amazingly, Salah al-Din has not yet been spotted in Jerusalem’s gates and Islam has not yet embarked on an all-out war on Israel en masse, it appears that the weak Peres spirit again prevails among our leaders. Indeed, ever since Operation Cast Lead, they have done amazing work of “containment.”
Our government is preoccupied with fortifying Israel’s south to death while avoiding like the plague ongoing efforts to maintain the Cast Lead achievements by refraining from repeated assassinations or a policy of harsh, painful price tag for every rocket attack from Gaza.
Once Gazans realize – almost daily, and not via an operation launched every few years – that terrorism can only be left behind by death, and once Israelis realize that in the foreseeable future we shall live on our sword, and must grip it tightly at all times, we will see fewer eulogizes around here, and the lives of our southern residents will be little more bearable.
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