Operation Protective Edge sent Israel back to Gaza – big time. In the coming days, when the army summarizes the operation's lessons, it won't be able to ignore this outstanding strategic achievement that the IDF and political echelon served the state's citizens with as a gift for 2015.
The Egyptians are moving away from Gaza, while Israel is reconnecting to the Strip in an embrace which will lead us very soon back to the pre-disengagement days.
On the eve of the operation, Israel planned to weaken Hamas, but it now finds itself reinforcing the Islamist organization economically and humanitarianly. And it is not only reinforcing Hamas, it is also rattled by every sniper or every rocket someone discharges there.
Since the operation, Egypt has done everything in its power to physically disengage from Gaza. It created a 500-meter buffer zone, which will turn into a kilometer in the future, and sealed most of the tunnels.
In addition, Gazans leaving for Egypt and seeking to reach Europe illegally, through the sea, are met by the strict Egyptian navy and sent back home. The Rafah crossing is opened only once or twice a month, for several hours, and Egypt's alliance with Qatar will only exacerbate the Gazans' situation.
The Egyptians have shut off, and everything is being dumped on us: From the international pressure to the frustration of every single resident in Gaza.
The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, is putting spokes in the wheels of Gaza's reconstruction. When it found out that Muhammad Dahlan's people had given money to civilians in Gaza who were injured in the war, it took its anger out on the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. It seems that as far as the PA is concerned, they should just die.
And who are the idiots charged with the duty of helping the Strip's residents and perpetuating the Hamas rule? We. The PA turns to the United Nations, turns to the International Criminal Court in The Hague – and we will deal with Gaza's destroyed infrastructures.
Only recently, different international bodies – including the US State Department – asked Israel to consider building a gas pipe to Gaza in order to provide a stable solution to the energy crisis.
The water pipes in Gaza carry salty water. Selling drinking water from tankers is a profitable business in Gaza – there are several dozen domestic desalination facilities there, alongside three small governmental facilities. But most of the drinking water is supplied by Israel, which sends in 5 million cubes of water a year, and that amount is expected to be doubled.
The solution is a large desalination facility, which has already been planned, but it will need huge amounts of energy, which only Israel can supply. You'll be surprised – this is also on the agenda.
Israel is already supplying most of the electricity to the Strip – 132 megawatt – including during the war. The Egyptians supply 32 megawatt, through a shaky line, from a power station which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.
Now there are talks about building a serious power station in the Strip, whose energy supplier will be Israel. In other words, Israel will supply energy to an entity which does not recognize its right to exist.
The distress over the destruction left behind by Operation Protective Edge has created a 30% increase in the number of mass marches towards the fence and in the number of people jumping over the fence in search of work in Israel.
In addition, Israel is singlehandedly bringing down the segregation policy it dictated between the Strip and the West Bank: There are more agricultural exports from Gaza to the West Bank, more movement for religious and humanitarian reasons, more sports groups which are travelling to competitions in the West Bank, etc. Trying to relieve pressure.
Israel cannot claim a price from Hamas in return for its increased dependency on Israel, because Israel does not recognize Hamas.
Israel cannot translate its deeper involvement in Gaza, into which it is being dragged against its policy, into a security or political achievement, like stopping the production of weapons in Gaza or a long-term commitment to maintaining the calm. On the contrary, the demands from Israel in the international arena are only growing.
So is there anyone else who sees Operation Protective Edge as a strategic success story?