(October 28, 2018 / JNS) That’s it, enough! I have realized that none of the defense establishment leaders sitting in the situation assessment with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants a war. No one is recommending an operation, nothing. The defense minister, the chief of staff, the head of the Mossad, the head of the Shin Bet security agency and the head of the National Security Council apparently think that victory is impossible, that we can’t defeat the enemy in the Gaza Strip.
They are certainly telling themselves, “With our luck, and Iron Dome to protect us, why get dragged into a war? We have excellent pilots and unmanned aircraft that know how to make noise, frighten and destroy. If we can’t create deterrence, let’s at least show them that we have more weapons than they do. … So for now, it’s better to let the guys in Gaza use up their stocks of rockets and mortars.”
Soon, the fires in our fields will be put out because they’ll no longer have balloons and condoms to which to attach fuses and send over the fence, and we’ll stop inhaling smoke because they won’t have any more tires to burn. Pretty soon we’ll block the underground tunnel and undersea threats so we can keep sending them fuel that will be used strictly to produce electricity and construction materials to build homes because that will create employment for the Palestinians of Gaza.
I realize that everyone in charge of our security is recommending to the prime minister that we not fall for the Islamist provocation because we have the strength to withstand it after 70 years of this stuff.
Other than that, who will we be fighting against—the lightning that happened to cause a rocket that happened to be aimed at Beersheva to be fired? Or against the Islamic Jihad, which is merely an organization supported by Iran and is trying to stir up discord between us and our friends in Hamas, and also ease the pressure in Syria? In short, our defense and security leaders are pushing a strategy of leaving things as they are?
I understand the difficulty of making the decision to go to war. But I don’t understand the lack of creative ideas and initiative. I get the feeling that security officials don’t believe in our capabilities. And, maybe worse, they don’t believe in the righteousness of our path and in our right to not only defend ourselves, but also to launch an attack to ensure our continued existence and quality of life.
For example, why was no decision taken that starting tonight, we launch an operation to take out the entire leadership of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the rest of the terrorist groups in Gaza, from their field commanders to the “civilian” operatives? There is no need to reoccupy Gaza, merely to hunt the commanders and soldiers who do their utmost day after day to kill us. Hunt them from the air, the sea and on land. We have the capabilities and the brave, well-trained soldiers to do so.
We just need courageous leadership that knows how to direct them. Where have our shrewdness and finesse gone? Why haven’t we distributed fliers promising the residents of Gaza $1,000 for every piece of reliable, confirmed information about where terrorist commanders and operatives are hiding? I have no doubt about the deterrent effect that would have—not only in Gaza, but also in the clash we expect with Hezbollah in the north.
We don’t need to live under this reality for another 70 years. We have to move to a strategy of coexistence from a position of strength. The winner sets the terms of any peace agreement.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel is a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces’ reserves, who served as commander of artillery and as head of the headquarters of the Southern Command. He also served as head of the council in charge in Tuba-Zangarriye, Golan Rescue Unit.