Photo: Reuters
Netanyahu. 'Not a single word about an agreement which will guarantee life on both sides of border'
Photo: Reuters
Shimon Shiffer

A withdrawal to nowhere

Op-ed: Prime Minister Netanyahu has chosen to continue wearing out Israelis in a war of attrition which has no end date.

In one of the rare government meetings convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the war, last Thursday, he harshly criticized the ministers who dared criticize the way the war was conducted.



In order to support his claim, he quoted remarks written by his late brother Yoni, and then went on – and not for the first time – to praise his wife Sara and their two sons who volunteered to visit wounded soldiers and collect food for hospitals. An exemplary family.


The ministers moved in their seats. Some looked down, amazed. "This war has turned into a family business," one of them said later with disgust.


Over the weekend, Netanyahu chose to withdraw from the Gaza Strip without an agreement and without a victory. He chose to continue wearing out the Israelis in a war of attrition which has no end date. Clear and simple.


The "responsible adult," "Bibi King," the man who wrote merit certificates for himself during the battle in Gaza as "a person using discretion and wisdom," is revealed – unfortunately and in an intimidating manner – as a weak figure which selects the IDF's targets according to perceptions, which even those who support him find difficult to understand, from "calm will be met with calm" to "destroying the tunnels." And what about the rockets?


Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, two murderous terror organizations, are pursuing the target they have set for themselves without blinking an eye: Lifting the siege on the Strip and opening the border crossings for Gazans. Until they reach this target, they have no intention of halting the rocket fire.


Netanyahu, on the other hand, has built a house of cards of targets which are crumbling before our eyes, even without the help of the Engineering Corps' heavy equipment.


In the political arena, the criticism against the army leaders is growing – the army leaders, I should stress, and not its brave fighters on all ranks up to colonels. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the group which at the beginning of the operation presented us with the perception of the fighting in "steps" – stages of increased use of force – will be required to provide us with explanations in light of the unfortunate fact that the step method failed to impress Hamas.


Quite a few false assumptions were voiced in the public discourse during the days of the war. Here are three of them:


"What do you want, to occupy Gaza?" The answer is no. No one with a mind of their own is suggesting that we occupy Gaza. The proposal based on military logic says that Hamas – and mainly its will to fight – must be defeated.


"Demilitarization and reconstruction of the Strip." This will only be possible if Hamas is defeated. There will be no demilitarization with Hamas still ruling the Strip.


"The moment the Hamas leadership realizes the extent of the destruction inflicted by the IDF in the current battle, it will beg for a 'tahdiya,' an extended lull." Nonsense. As soon as the international community receives the images, all the criticism and incitement will be directed at us, we will face international commissions of inquiry, and military officials will not be able to land anywhere for fear of being arrested.


Netanyahu promised Sunday to find a solution to the tunnel issue. He appropriated the fence along the Egypt border and another planned fence along the Jordan River.


Imagine a state surrounded by a fence above and under the ground and protected by missile systems. Not a single word from Netanyahu about a different solution, of an agreement which will guarantee life on both sides of the border.


For now, Netanyahu has fed us with disappointment combined with anger over the price we have already paid in human life and injuries. Twenty-eight days without a win are not something one should take pride in.


Netanyahu may be able take comfort in a saying attributed to Henry Kissinger, that governments do the right thing only after exhausting all other options. We're waiting.


פרסום ראשון: 08.04.14, 12:27
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