Netanyahu and the right are weak. It bears mentioning, because we have all been brainwashed to believe that the opposite is true.
So I'll say it again: Netanyahu and the right are weak. The Israeli prime minister is the weak right.
No impressive baritone, nor magnificent mushroom clouds rising from bombarded buildings in Gaza, nor the raucous pronouncements of right-wing spokesmen can disguise the truth from us and the entire world: Our very own Benjamin Netanyahu is weak. No one in Gaza is afraid of him, and rightly so.
When fighting terrorism, everything is psychological. When fighting terrorism, emotion and perception determine the end result, not facts. The word terror literally means great fear, and this is the secret of its power - not the ability to overcome the enemy, but the ability to sow great fear.
As such, in confronting Hamas, psychology is much more important than the disparity between army strength. Thus the organization of several thousand fighters without armor, without an air force, without intelligence capabilities and with rockets built from irrigation pipes, has managed to madden one of the strongest countries in the world for more than 10 years.
There is a wonderful Arabic saying that goes something like this: "We asked for the shame, but the shame did not want us." This is what happened to Netanyahu and the weak Likud. The prime minister of Israel asked, pleaded Hamas to keep accepting the tribute that he pays the terror group every month.
This tribute comes in the form of tens of millions of dollars in cash, delivered every month in suitcases from the rich uncle in Qatar to keep the Hamas regime alive. Netanyahu needed quiet in Gaza to win the elections last month, form a right-wing government that will protect him from his corruption indictments, and pass the weeks until the Eurovision Song Contest and Ramadan are over.
But Hamas does not work for Netanyahu, and was only willing to go along with this routine until the elections. Hamas had a clear interest in Netanyahu being elected, and so kept quiet until that happened. But now that he has been elected, the terror group is no longer willing to play his game. A former GOC Southern Command and commander of the Gaza Division out it quite plainly:
"The residents of the south have complaints, but 90 percent voted for the same government that did nothing for them for 11 years, so don't gripe about the situation in the Gaza border communities. Say how happy you are, including during the current round of violence," Dr. Yom-Tov Samia, a fierce fighter and general who knows the Gaza Strip and its residents like the back of his hand, said Saturday in an interview with Ynet.
Samia outlined what he would have done, and they are precisely the steps Netanyahu will never take - instructing the IDF to root out Hamas from Gaza and return it to Palestinian Authority control. But Netanyahu, like all the weak right, wants to deepen the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Why? So that he can continue claiming that there is no one on the Palestinian side to talk to, thereby avoiding any peace arrangement that would require the return of territories and the evacuation of settlements.
Netanyahu is trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority, which both strengthens and emboldens Hamas. But whoever lays down with Hamas cannot weep when he gets up with wounded and dead Israelis in the south.
I do not think Netanyahu is really a coward. He is a brave and determined man. But he is afraid of a ground conflict with Hamas almost as much as he fears a prison sentence.
Why? Because after we allowed Hamas to grow and entrench itself for more than a decade, the cost of ousting it from the Gaza Strip once and for all could be hundreds of dead soldiers.
These soldiers are our children, and Netanyahu knows that in Israel, even after wars in which they are victorious, the prime minister is replaced. That's what happened to Golda and Begin and Olmert, and that's what might happen to him when his base turns its back on him.
When confronted with his inaction, Netanyahu says: "What do you want from me? The army is reluctant to enter into a ground battle, and they tell me to improve the conditions in Gaza so that the Gazans have something to lose, and that's what I do." But that's just spin, not to mention a lie.
When there is calm in Gaza, Netanyahu does not take initiative to really improves the situation there. Instead, he leaves it the Qatari uncle, while he focuses on weakening the PA as much as he can and dragging his feet on every initiative aimed at bringing about real economic change in the Strip.
For Netanyahu, like all the weak right, has no strategy other than to do nothing and hope nothing comes of anything.
I don't know what Netanyahu will decide to do next, but I know what he won't do. The man who made the phrase "We will topple the Hamas regime" into his own personal slogan will never actually do it.
After a few rounds of fire and mushroom clouds, his hand will keep feeding the organization that has been biting him - and us - for more than ten years.
Netanyahu and the right are weak against Hamas.