Former head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter joins former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and others insisting that Operation Preventive Edge can't be merely tactical. Rather, writes Dichter, Israel must uproot Gaza's terrorist infrastructure, not only smuggling tunnels but also munitions factories where Hamas now makes its own Iranian-designed medium-range missiles. “Without destroying the terrorists' military infrastructure in Gaza,” writes Dichter:
we will continue living from one round of shooting to the next, as the time in between rounds decreases and the range of the rockets increases. They have already dragged half of our population into a war of attrition. Our airstrikes are approaching the point of decreasing effectiveness, when they will no longer stop or reduce the amount of shooting at Israel. Hamas terrorists and their leaders are acting according to their capabilities, not according to our logic.
The time is ripe to switch from tactical operations (Pillar of Defense, Cast Lead, Protective Edge) to a strategic campaign which will dramatically diminish the terrorists' ability to hurt us. This campaign is not something that should last for just a month or two -- rather a year or two.
A week after the ceasefire concluding Israel’s eight day campaign against Hamas, Operation Pillar of Defense, there is some debate as to who came out on top. The way one judges the outcome seems to depend on: one, what you make of the ceasefire agreement; two, what role you think that Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi played; and, three, other less tangible factors.
The day after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, the terrorist group's TV station aired this "Death to Israel!" music video on its station:
"Destroy the throne of Zion, the house of absolute evil," the song goes. "Raise the banner of victory. Be like the fire of a volcano. Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel! With blood and fire, resist until freedom. Defeat the soldiers of aggression the enemies of humanity."
If the truce announced in Cairo last Wednesday truly brings the Gaza war to a close, it is not too soon to assess who gained and who lost from this conflict.
Hamas provoked the war and chose the timing, so it is not surprising that they thought they would gain—and they have gained. The PLO initiative in the United Nations (to be classified as a “non-member observer state”) was shifting energy to the West Bank leadership, and by these attacks on Israel Hamas shifted it back. President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah barely made the papers, despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit there. They were marginalized while Arab leaders and Turkish officials visited Gaza, and Hamas leaders traveled to Cairo for high-publicity meetings. The PLO leadership in Ramallah is one of the big losers of the last few weeks.