Castigating the government for the cease-fire agreement and implying that
Operation Pillar of Defense was a failure is misguided and merely provides
credibility to the distorted Hamas narrative of the conflict.
current adverse geopolitical conditions, it was unrealistic to anticipate that
this campaign would end the conflict, as eliminating Hamas was
A “pyrrhic victory” could have been achieved with a long and
bitter ground invasion, but Israel would have been obliged to withdraw very
quickly and the IDF would have suffered heavy casualties.
In addition, a
ground offensive, aside from possibly leading to a military confrontation with
the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood regime and Turkey, would have diverted attention
from the Iranian nuclear threat. Collateral casualties in Gaza may also have
undermined prevailing favorable public opinion, including crucial support from
the American people.
Mobilization of the reserves was no bluff and, had
casualties on the home front necessitated a land invasion, the IDF was well
The reality is that despite our frustration that the genocidal
Hamas regime retains power and that we could face a new round of intensified
hostilities, the outcome was far from a stalemate.
The government’s and
the IDF’s performances were exemplary, and the enthusiastic response of
mobilized reservists mirrored the high morale amongst young Israelis.
Iron Dome functioned beyond all expectations – an almost 90 percent success rate
– intercepting 421 rockets including the vastly improved Fajr-5 missiles. It
provided defensive coverage for the major cities, dramatically minimizing
casualties which were limited to six Israelis. In the absence of Iron Domes, a
land war would have been mandatory.
It also conveyed a relevant message
to the Iranians and Hezbollah concerning our ability to withstand missile
IDF intelligence was impeccable, enabling the air force to
conduct pinpointed surgical strikes targeting key terrorists, missile sites and
weapon caches. Hamas soon realized that it had underestimated Israel’s
willingness to retaliate, and overreached itself.
Despite the bluster, it
began desperately seeking face-saving formulas towards achieving a
Whilst Hamas shamelessly sought to maximize Israeli civilian
casualties, the IDF succeeded in further minimizing collateral damage to
The ratio of NATO civilian to combat deaths in Yugoslavia was
10:1, in Afghanistan 3:1, in Iraq 4:1, and in US drone attacks against the
Taliban 10:1. Yet the IDF ratio in Gaza now was less than 1 civilian to 2
combatants, an unprecedented achievement – particularly so as Hamas had
cynically located missile launching pads and weapons amongst civilians whom they
exploited as human shields. Yet that still failed to diminish the demented
obsession of much of the western media to concentrate on proportional body
counts, without distinguishing between victims and aggressors.
outset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed that the objective was to
achieve stability and that invading Gaza would only be undertaken if necessary
to protect Israeli civilians. Public statements and responses were cool and
measured, in stark contrast to the bombastic and arrogant statements expressed
during previous conflicts.
Netanyahu was clearly relieved that President
Barack Obama and the US Congress unequivocally endorsed Israel’s right to
self-defense, demanding that Hamas stop launching missiles prior to ending
In contrast to the almost universal global condemnations
during Operation Cast Lead, most European countries supported Israel, despite
calling for restraint, “proportionality” and opposing a land
The UN and its Human Rights Commission remained consistent,
refusing to condemn Hamas for launching missiles directed against Israeli
civilians – unquestionably war crimes by any benchmark.
Hamas seeks to
spin the cease-fire as a victory. But its infrastructure was mutilated and its
rockets failed to inflict the massive casualties it had relied on, to undermine
Israeli morale. For the first time it was obliged to endorse an agreement to
stop attacking, or launching missiles against, Israel and preventing other
terror groups from doing likewise.
Hamas was also frustrated that despite
all the rhetoric from Egypt, Turkey and the Arab League, it received nothing
beyond supportive statements.
Despite initial inflammatory remarks
against Israel, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, an ideological partner of
Hamas, was sensitive that were he to back Hamas in a war, the US would terminate
its funding and that of the International Monetary Fund, causing an economic
Under strong pressure from Obama, Morsi was forced to act as
the intermediary to achieve and underwrite a cease-fire. He was even obliged for
the first time to refer to Israel by name, although he rejected a request from
Obama to speak to Netanyahu. Ironically, this occurred as riots erupted
throughout Egypt in response to Morsi’s assumption of dictatorial
THE MAIN loser was the Palestinian Authority which supported
Hamas, but was marginalized by the Arab world. Now, even if PA leader Mahmoud
Abbas proves willing or able to negotiate with Israel, there is little doubt
that, supported by Egypt and Turkey, Hamas would hijack the PA.
no grounds to be euphoric about this “ceasefire.”
Genocidal Hamas, whose
charter is indistinguishable from the vilest anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda,
retains power, supported by Islamic fundamentalist states surrounding us. It
proudly continues to proclaim that its objective remains the annihilation of the
Jewish state and killing Jews. During the conflict its spokesmen sent messages
to Israelis “we love death more than you love life… There’s nothing here for you
but death – so be killed or leave.”
We live in a den of scorpions and
realize that until Palestinian leaders emerge who are willing to make peace, we
have no choice other than to remain strong and deter our adversaries with
This truce is at best only temporary, and most Israelis
were instinctively unhappy with the terms, especially the bizarre, even
incomprehensible, clause in the unsigned Egyptian press release which identified
Egypt as the arbitrator in the event of a breach in the cease-fire.
we expect President Morsi of the anti-Semitic Moslem Brotherhood – which created
Hamas and regards it as a strategic partner – to act as a neutral intermediary
between ourselves and the terrorists? Even the New York Times conceded that
Obama may shape Morsi’s behavior, but will not change his ideology. Thus, we
have grounds for concern that this legitimization and newfound alliance with the
US may reverberate against us.
However, before condemning the government
for “capitulating,” we must take into account the highly complex environment in
which Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were operating. We should
appreciate the positive aspects of Pillar of Defense in which much of the vital
Hamas infrastructure – personnel as well as weaponry – were systematically
destroyed; our relationship with the US was strengthened; and massive casualties
from a ground invasion were averted, which may at best also only have achieved
Only time will tell whether we have deterred Hamas
and can anticipate quiet on this border for some years, as now prevails with
Hezbollah. In the meantime, the world has effectively provided us with a green
light to resume military action should Hamas renew its attacks.
prevent a new military buildup by urging the US to demand that Egypt blocks
Hamas from importing more lethal weapons and missiles from Iran via tunnels or
Only by implementing real deterrence is there any chance of
gaining benefits from this arrangement. We must no longer react passively to a
“few” missiles “which cause no damage,” but proclaim that even a single rocket
will be met with a harsh instantaneous response and will also include an interim
cessation of electricity and other services to Gaza.
I believe that if
the truce holds, history will relate favorably to Netanyahu’s strategy, which he
summarized as “employing military might along with diplomatic
But we should be under no illusions. The conflict is far from
over and the focus must now be redirected towards Iran, where as a consequence
of the confidence gained by the outcome of Operation Pillar of Defense, we will
hopefully be more closely allied and collaborating with the US and
The writer’s website can be viewed at
www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at