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Israeli tank looks on at Palestinian riots on the Gaza border
Alex Fishman
Netanyahu's Gaza illusion
Opinion: There are solutions for the situation on the Gaza border and the IDF has presented them to the government, but they will have to wait for after the elections since the prime minister is avoiding escalation at all costs

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on an official visit to Ukraine said Monday, "I am advancing plans for a broad campaign in Gaza," his words could have been construed to mean: the prime minister is in the midst of a strategic discussions with his military general staff, planning a war set to begin tomorrow morning. 

 

 

But in fact, these are just hollow words.

  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Kiev (Photo: GPO) (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Kiev (Photo: GPO)
 

 

Netanyahu is not advancing anything that would substantially change the security situation in Gaza.

 

The tale his entourage has been hinting at, that Israel is encouraging immigration of Palestinians from the Strip, is an insult to the intelligence of Israelis.

 

Gaza port (Photo: EPA)
Gaza port (Photo: EPA)

 

The only possibility of change in Gaza can come if its border with Egypt remains open for free movement of people and goods. It has in fact been open for months and without any encouragement by Israel.

 

But if you can peddle another illusion to voters - one about the brilliant Israeli government manipulating Gazan demographics - why wouldn't you?

 

Contrary to the insulting briefing on the government's activities, a security briefing given journalists was actually valid:


At the end of July, the IDF completed a drill in preparation for a military campaign meant to severely impact the military wing of Hamas.

 

Troops from the IDF's Gaza Division training in July (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit) (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Troops from the IDF's Gaza Division training in July (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The idea behind the plan that was presented to the political echelon was to take military action that would not require a prolonged occupation of the Strip by Israel, thereby rendering the government's excuse for inaction against Hamas a moot point.

 

The military has the ability to make sure there are no casualties on either side and that whatever damage is done is only felt on the Gaza side of the border.

 

Weapons seized from Palestinians killed in the failed infiltration attempt from Gaza (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Weapons seized from Palestinians killed in the failed infiltration attempt from Gaza (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

If this were not an election season, the Gaza border communities would already have been experiencing an improvement in their security situation.

 

No elections would have meant perhaps that the prime minister could have mustered some faith in the IDF's ability to deliver that security.

 

But Netanyahu sees the timing now to be wrong, because Hamas has not yet provided the provocation both Israel and the international community consider sufficient to justify a bloody conflict.

 

So what Israelis are being told now about a Gaza campaign in the offing is a ruse.

 

On the other side of the border, Hamas has also begun introducing a new formula. They call it "restless youth" - young Gazans frustrated by their miserable situation who are taking the fight against Israel into their own hands

 

This is a story conveniently adopted by Israel as well, each side for its own purposes.

 

A Palestinian protesting on the Gaza border (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
A Palestinian protesting on the Gaza border (Photo: AFP)

  

When the Egyptians called on Hamas to stop the recent spate of cross-border incursions, five men who were already on their way were stopped.

 

Furthermore, Hamas rocket fire at Israel over the weekend was calibrated so that Israeli defenses could either intercept them or identify them as targeting empty fields.

 

Every time Qatari aid is due to arrive, Hamas signals its discontent with how negotiations are going, but refrains from forcing Israel to take any action against them.

 

 


פרסום ראשון: 08.20.19, 23:28
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