1. There is no question that this is more than justified. after 8 years of holding back and trying every negotiation route, what is Israel to do? we have the right to fight back.
2. While we certainly do not want any civilian casualties on the other side, of course there will be, and have been many. Any talk about how we are hitting civilians has to be considered in the light of the following factors:
a. Hamas put their arms depots and military instillations amongst civilians to make them immune to Israeli attacks. So does that mean we can never attack terrorists like this?
b. Of the 300+ Palestinians killed 75% are terrorists. So say the UN figures. That is a very good statistic. Tzahal clearly have their bombs well aimed.
c. In Gaza just like in South Lebanon, I think that most people civilian or military are Hamas. The entire population are mobilised to destroy Israel. Just like 9/11 which was perpetrated by cicvilians, in the new constellation of the non-conventional war (like in Iraq or Lebanon etc.) there isn't the traditional division between civilian and military. Where do you draw the line for Ahmed who has a store but mans a Hamas phone line at night, or Fatima who passes messages by hanging out her green shirt on the washing line, or Muhammed who smuggles arms for money but doesn't really believe in the cause?
3. we need to pray that this is succesful and that many Chayalim don't get hurt.
4. Having said that, I am fearful that we are going to fail here. why?
Because of us and because of them.
Us: See Harel's article in Haaretz (link) and Bret stephens in WSJ (link).
We are not determined enough. We need to persist and not to look back. If we realy want to succeed we are going to have to be quite ruthless and to really engage in alot of destruction and punishment. I am unconvinced that Olmert Livni and Barak have the staying power. already after 48 hrs, Barak was pining for a way out. What is that? If you start, don't you know how you want to continue? as Harel writes, the person who blinks first is dead. Barak blinked first! This, if it is to be succesful will be long, very long and arduous. Do we have the stamina? Do our leaders have the ability to keep going... y'know - the long haul?
Again what is the point of this op.? It is to make them realise that shooting missilies is NOT in their best interests. How do we do that? By making sure that we take out their infrastructure and weapons stores and by making them suffer. True, we have destroyed development labs and many missiles and tunnels. All good. We have given them a shock. But if we go in, do we know the objective? When will it be clear that we have victory? What if the missiles don't stop? Do we stay in Gaza if the missiles dont stop? At what cost? And if we do pull out , how can we ensure that they do not see it as a victory??
Caution is needed.
Them: I always think that our secular leaders misjudge the religious mind. Hamas are religious people. They are passionate and they believe in the name of God in their way. They will fight to the death. I feel that frequently secular thinkers don't get it, they think that our decisions are based upon self interest and quality of life. But for a religious person it is based on belief. The Haredim are willing to live in abject poverty for the sake of limmud torah. Hamas think that we are infidels. They believe that Israel should be destroyed. Will a few bombs break that? I doubt it.
(Now again, this just underscores how dangerous Hamas are... go back to Bret Stevens article. When they get funds, they use it to buy weapons, not to pave streets or to creat industry and prosperity for the average Palestinian in Gaza. But again, if they are so motivated, so focused, so ideologically directed, then will a few strikes deter them? I fear that we are back in Lebanon 2006.)And then there is the desparation of the Palestinians. See this interesting article. (link)
“There is a state in the world with no heat, no gas, no oil, no diesel, no drugs, no food,” said Muhammad Ahmed, 33, angrily. “The Jews have everything, and they won’t understand that on the other side there is nothing!
“People dig the tunnels out of hunger,” he insisted, and then warned, “When you don’t feed animals, they get angry and they bite you!”
They Palestinians have little to lose. In Sharon's Op. of 2001 (Homat Magen) he was succesful because he totally ran over the cities and he did stop the terrorism. Will this do the same? I fear that the Gaza people have little to lose. How will their lives become worse exactly? Do they have anything to lose?
Once again, I do hope our leaders know what they are doing,and I know we are justified in striking Hamas, but knowing Ehud Barak and Olmert, I doubt they have what it takes to finish the job.
And if we pull out and they see it as a victory, we are far worse off.
I do really hope that our leaders will prove my fears wrong. I hope that we can indeed change the status quo, and restore Israel's deterrent vis a vis Hamas. I do not envy our leaders in these situations. Only time will tell.