Photo: Avi Roccah
Under direct fire from Gaza
Photo: Avi Roccah

Paying for calm on the Gaza front, cannot be our policy

Opinion: The last round of cross-border fighting between Israel and Hamas, demonstrated the need for a new strategy to replace repeated mistakes with devastating results

The root problem has not been addressed: Israel should have set strategic targets that include rebuilding its military deterrence in the face of Hamas, while undermining the militant organization's growing strength, in the short term.



In the longer term, Israel should strive to weaken Hamas and ultimately replace it. Instead Israel's strategy is to exchange "money for quiet" which all but guarantees more fighting soon, if not all out war.


The positive aspect of the recent round against Gaza, was the return, by the IDF, to targeted killing of militants, bombing rocket manufacturing facilities and warehouses and destroying military installations and high-rise apartment blocks.


Hamas intelligence offices hit by IDF bombing (Photo: AFP)
Hamas intelligence offices hit by IDF bombing (Photo: AFP)


In the short-term, there will be no fighting on Memorial and Independence Day as well as while the Eurovision is taking place.


Another plus is the fact that during this round, the international community stood by Israel, while the fighting was going on and most of the blame was directed at Hamas


But there were some very negative aspects as a result of the violent round as well.


The immediate, tragic result is the death of four Israeli civilians, while dozens more were injured. There was also a total disruption to life in the south of Israel the entire time.


Grave of Moshe Agadi killed by rocket fire from Gaza (Photo: EPA)
Grave of Moshe Agadi killed by rocket fire from Gaza (Photo: EPA)


But there are deeper repercussions as well. Hamas once again dictated the timing and duration and character of the conflict.


The Israeli public was at the offset and is still now that the fighting is over, in the dark about the parameters of a long-term ceasefire agreement being negotiated, with Hamas


What is known, is that Israel is continuing to pay a terror organization but is refusing to talk to a legitimate, internationally recognized, Palestinian Authority.


The message to Palestinians is clear: Using terror against Israel, is a means to achieve your desired objectives.


House in Ashkelon hit by rocket (Photo: EPA)
House in Ashkelon hit by rocket (Photo: EPA)


Above all else, Israel's deterrence is shattered. Hamas is no longer fazed by the prospect of a military confrontation. A full-blown war is still feared by the militant group but that too will change.


The policy of "quiet will be answered by quiet" or "quiet in exchange for money" is no longer viable and the insistence on holding Hamas responsible for everything, is wrong.


It is time to begin reinstating Israel's deterrence by causing massive injury to the military wing of Hamas, enemy loss of life, not-withstanding. The use of targeted killing of militant commanders, carried out with using surprising, unexpected tactics. The key here is the need to take initiative rather than responding and being led.


Targeted killing in Gaza (Photo: EPA)
Targeted killing in Gaza (Photo: EPA)


The long-term objective should be to rebuild the Gaza Strip, demilitarize it and return its legitimate leadership to power, through a policy that favors the Palestinian Authority over Hamas and other militant groups.


Israel adopted practice of "divide and rule", weakening both the PA and Hamas. This is detrimental to any attempt at deterrence and exacts a high price. If this policy continues, the shaky arrangement in place in the West Bank may also fail, at a much higher cost to Israel.



פרסום ראשון: 05.11.19, 23:00
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