The news analysts are having a field day trying to decide if we won, lost, or tied with Hamas after the latest operation/war. Some are very clear in their opinion and some hedge their bets by claiming that we won’t be able to tell if the operation was successful until we see how much time it takes Hamas to start up again – pointing out, correctly, that after the Second Lebanon War everyone was sure that Hizbollah was not crushed and would start firing rockets at Israel soon after. The fact that it has been quiet in the north for more than eight years seems to point out that the war in Lebanon was a success after all.
I have my own opinion (I think that this war was conducted perfectly) but instead of a long post detailing everything I want to make a few points.
The wars that Israel fights usually don’t end like they do in the movies, where the bad guys get smacked down dramatically and everyone feels great at the end. Especially when dealing with terrorist groups, these things last a long time. The fighting goes in stages and can last for decades. Those claiming that this war was a failure because there was no “victory image” have an unrealistic view of what life is like here.
This time around the IDF fought differently, and these differences will add to Israel’s overally security.
1. The Israel Air Force did not hesitate to bomb places where rockets were being launched, even in civilian areas. When Hamas launched rockets from mosques and schools the IAF bombed them – and guess what? The sky did not fall down. Even after the UN and the President of the United States got angry about it – the IAF continued.
2. The Israel Air Force bombed houses where the terrorist leaders were hiding – even if it meant that innocent civilians got killed, and again, there were no dire consequences to Israel. Hamas will need to take these two points into consideration and know that their human shields were not very protective after all.
3. The IDF only sent in their ground forces to do what could only be done on the ground – namely destroying tunnels. Then these forces were taken out. Despite the public pressure to go in and “finish Hamas off”, our leaders fought with their heads and not their hearts – and they saved a lot of soldiers’ lives, and they avoided what Hamas wanted more than anything – Israeli soldiers in captivity.
When the dust clears, and people calm down, our “victory” will become much more apparent. Hamas brought on destruction and death to their people, and it will take years to rebuild. Those who are funding the rockets will need to ask themselves if it is worth it to spend millions of dollars on rockets that don’t hit their targets. Those building the tunnels will know that Israel knows about them and is working on technology to detect them earlier. (Not to mention an interesting fact about tunnels – that they literally go both ways. I am sure there are tunnels that the IDS knows about that they can use for Special Forces to go into Gaza. Look for more “Gaza work accidents in tunnels” in the future.)
A last point: The disengagement happened nine years ago. Except for the seriously right wing, everyone else in the country agreed to rip 10,000 Jews from their homes. Most said that they wanted to “give peace a chance”, but the real underlying reason was that they did not want their husbands and sons to have to serve in Gaza and risk being killed by the terrorists there. Most of the people in the country still feel the same way.
Those who live in the south under rocket fire are complaining about the fact that their security is being sacrificed every few years, and it is intolerable. I agree with them – but I also understand the politicians who are reluctant to use the IDF to take over the Gaza strip again. Most Israelis do not want the IDF to take over Gaza. Until they change their minds – the people in the south will suffer. On the other hand, you can’t blame the government for this. They are only doing what the people expect.