Photo: Zohar Shahar
Dead Israeli civilians are seen as nothing more than 'diplomatic currency'
Photo: Zohar Shahar
Photo: Israel Melovani
Avital Sahar
Photo: Israel Melovani

Drawing a line in the sand

Op-ed: Israel does not need to provide Western leaders and media with gruesome pictures of dead Jews in order to appease their apparent need for 'a balanced casualty rate.'

Amidst the international call for an "immediate and unconditional ceasefire" between Israel and Hamas, Israeli TV reported Monday that a Hamas terror squad was terminated by Israeli forces after attempting to infiltrate the Israeli civilian community of Nahal Oz via an "attack tunnel" originating in Saja'iyya, Gaza.


No civilian Israeli casualties are known thus far, while some of the terrorists were killed.



Now let us imagine that same incident, but with a somewhat different end, in which the Hamas death squad succeeded in its task, butchering 30 or so Jewish families, children, babies, parents – about 200 dead Israelis in total, "give or take" a few dead Jews.


In such a case, would US President Barack Obama, the European Union and the United Nations still reiterate that Israel has the right to defend itself, "but" that there should still be an "immediate ceasefire"?




Ironically, such a massacre of 30 Israeli families would "buy" Israel more diplomatic time and international support for the IDF to fight Hamas.


The truth is that as blunt and as undiplomatic as it may sound, in the sad and cold world of "realpolitik," dead Israeli civilians are nothing more than "diplomatic currency."


The more "currency" Israel possess, the more "time" the IDF is "given" to act by the "more understanding" international community, that is before the US and EU administrations will have another hypocritical attack of morality.


Now is the time for Israel to stop "paying" in such currency. Now is the time for Israel to put a stop to the notion that it needs to apologize for protecting its citizens. Israel does not need to "provide" Western leaders and the media with gruesome pictures of dead Jews in order to appease their apparent need for "a balanced casualty rate."


This years-long never-ending cycle of violence with Hamas must end. The only way for it to end is by the destruction of Hamas as an effective military force.


This is the only endgame in which civilians in Gaza will have any chance for an optimistic and prosperous future.


Sadly, the fight to demilitarize Hamas will inflict great hardship and casualties on these Palestinian civilians, to whom I only wish a long life and economic prosperity in their own independent and peaceful state. I wish there was a "clean" way to fight wars – but there isn’t.


I also believe that president Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are great friends and allies of Israel. Israel owes an enormous debt to the American people and to present and past administrations.


However, recent US statements and especially the bizarre Paris talks (to which the US neglected to even invite Egypt, Israel and the PA, and basically negotiated with Hamas' proxies – Qatar and Turkey), has brought me to the sad understanding that despite its good intentions, the current administration is doing more harm than good.


At this time of national crisis, Israel needs to "break the rules," even if it means calling its ambassador to the US back for (a day of) "consultations," and telling its (greatest, generous, and when it comes to Mideast policy, also naïve and detached- from-reality) ally that its actions will eventually end in a regional catastrophe.


Following that, the Israeli government should order the IDF to maneuver and destroy Hamas' terror nests within the Gaza Strip. Israeli citizens (left-wing and right-wing alike) would unite in masses around such an order.


Mr. Kerry, despite your good faith and will, one cannot negotiate with Hamas. Its DNA and endgame is not about Palestinian statehood, but about killing Jews and eliminating any Israeli presence in what it aspires to be a pan-Islamic Middle East. Go negotiate with that.


So with all the love and respect to Israel's greatest ally, this is Israel's hour of need and there is no room for more diplomatic malarkey. Here and now is where the State of Israel must draw a clear line in the sand and do what is essential for the long-term security of Israeli civilians.


Israel's bond with the US is rock solid and can withstand any short-term storm.


Avital Sahar is an Israeli political and communications strategist, with over 15 years of experience in international public diplomacy, and has advised many foreign diplomats stationed in Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 07.30.14, 00:44
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