Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ashkelon, Sderot and the Gaza Problem.

Over 200 rockets in the past 4 days. Ashkelon under fire.
We are all distressed, upset, frustrated, and yes - feeling helpless.

Well, sounds like the Government haven't got a clue. They are threatening a ground assault, and it all sounds worryingly familiar from last summer. Yes... we can send the troops in, but do we have a clear objective? Do we have an exit strategy? How do we declare to ourselves and the world that we have defeated the enemy? are they 100% sure they can stop the Kassaams?

I would like to make a few points on this topic.

1. Entering Gaza is futile. I believe that Hamas have built Hizbolla style bunkers and we are in for some nasty surprises. Moreover, what do we do when we are in there? We are simply targets. We cannot check every home, every street, every inch of every orchard.

And if we do go in and the rocket fire continues, we are weakened and humiliated. If we go in and even 1 Kassam is fired, then we are in BIG BIG trouble. We must be 1000% sure that we can stop it or else we shouldn't step a foot in there.

I think that entering Gaza in full force will kill alot of Israelis and will at most, cause a pause in the rocket fire. It will not stop it.

2. The Palestinians have nothing to lose.
They are already dirt poor. They have corrupt government. All they have is their hatred of Israel seated in an arab sense of pride and vengeance, mixed with Islamist belief. However much we hit them, they will see their fighters as heroes. They will not stop trying to weaken and annihilate Israel.

Sometimes, a person figures out that threats are empty. They lose a sense of fear. I once knew of a kid who became delinquent. How? He kept on getting into trouble with school. Soon he figured out... what can they REALLy do to me? Most? - send me home... my parents will yell. He developed a thick skin to that and then there was nothing they could threaten him with. Get expelled? so what?! So he began stealing. Got caught by the police. He was under age. again, very quickly he learned: what is the worst they can do? They cannot jail him. They cannot beat him? So he learned that arrest isn't soooo bad. etc.

Gaza is similar. They are quickly learning that what is Israel REALLY going to do? a bomb here? A house search there? Lack of food? So? - We can still survive!

3. This is a serious threat to Israel's existence.
Don't mistake this. Hamas want us gone. Forever. This is just another attempt to chip away at Israel.
No society can live with cities under rocket fire.

4. One cannot run Israel under threat without Zionism.
One ingredient in our national fibre has to be that we are struggling and we all need to pitch in and fight. Our post-zionist politicians who are more interested in money and standard-of-living are a big problem in this situation.
And more than this. Israel has to be more than surviving the next Kassaam. We have to have a country to build, a national objective, a vision. Israeli society is suffering because no-one talks the language of Zionism, of dreams, of hope, of what we want to build a society for, of our vision of the Jewish future here in eretz Yisrael of the society that we can be and must be if this is to be worthwhile. Zionism cannot be simply about survival or else we are going to wither and collapse.
Without a positive objective, it is too exhausting, too draining.

So what is the solution?

I don't know... but I Do know that entering Gaza is a mistake (unless they have some new trick up their sleeves); that statements like "we'll show them" that Barak and Olmert have been saying are just empty ridiculous words.

We need to show the Arabs that they lose by doing this.
We need to show them that they cannot break us.

In this environment:

5. The Modern Sensationalist Press is a liability
What I mean by this is that today's press loves human interest stories, hysteria and victims. They pump up misery to pump up ratings. To this end they sow seeds of panic and desperation, fear and weakness into Israeli society. we need precisely the opposite. We need courage and a resolute; "we shall overcome". we need to move away from quick fixes into long term solutions.

A big part of this is the national psychology. People have to realise that this is not America. We are in for a long and bitter struggle here. Anything less than that is fantasy.

Maybe we have to set up one new sttlement for every 10 Kassaams. maybe we declare that for every rocket, we push back the Gaza Fence 10 yards. Maybe we have to say that we are resolute and invest in creating huge bombproof shopping malls and recreation "domes" in sderot and Ashkelon so that people can enjoy themseleves and that the rockets will not rock us. Maybe we need to negotiate with Egypt and the intl. community to move the entire population of Gaza away from our border so that they cannot harm us? To a place which has an economic and civilian infrastructure. (Now that might seriously worry Hamas!) Maybe the World Bank and EU can begin investigating why the Billions they invested in Gaza didn't result in new housing and tourism projects and Industrial Parks etc. Maybe they can convince the Gazans to devote their meagre funds and energies to better causes.

We need new thinking. We need fresh paradigms of thought.
If you have any positive suggestions add them here.
I am tired of the old solutions. They don't work.

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