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Gazan demonstrators launch a kite with a Molotov cocktail attached into Israeli territory. It lands within Gazas borders.(Photo by: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The fields of the Negev
What good will it do them? What will they get from all the tunnels they dig, the rockets they shoot at us and the fires they set? Nothing.
The citizens of Gaza could have a good life. The entire Gaza Strip is in their hands, the whole world is willing to invest in or contribute to their development, Israel isn’t there anymore and we have no border dispute with them. Nevertheless, we don’t get a moment of quiet from them.

Why not? It seems crazy to us, when they could make a better life for themselves instead. What good will it do them? What will they get from all the tunnels they dig, the rockets they shoot at us and the fires they set? Nothing. They won’t get anything at all. The damage they cause us is nothing compared to the damage they are causing themselves. In Israel we live a comfortable life; in Gaza they’re on the verge of collapse – and still they keep doing the same thing.

Why don’t two million people stand up and shout at their leaders, “What do you think you’re doing? Why are you wasting billions of dollars on rockets and tunnels when that money could be used to build houses for your citizens and provide them with food, water and electricity? The effect on Israel is minimal, but it’s ruining our lives. Why do your send your own people to die on the fence?”

Moshe Dayan explained this apparent paradox 62 years ago in his eulogy for Roy Rotberg, who was murdered in the fields of Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

“Beyond the furrow of the border surges a sea of hatred. Let us not fear to look squarely at the hatred that consumes and fills the lives of hundreds of Arabs who live around us. Let us not drop our gaze, lest our arms be weakened. That is the fate of our generation. This is our choice – to be ready and armed, tough and hard – or else the sword shall fall from our hands and our lives will be cut short.

These words were spoken nearly a decade before the Six Day War. The Palestinians don’t want to go back to the 1967 borders, or even the borders offered them in 1947. What they want is to see us dead. Their hatred of us is stronger than their desire for a good life. Those are the priorities they have set for themselves and in their eyes, they are sane and rational.

In this reality, there is no point in trying to reach a peace agreement or even some sort of compromise. What kind of compromise can there be if what they want is our lives? That they kill us just a little bit? We can only survive here by the sword and by setting a high price on our life and property. Some people insist that conditions in Gaza are so deplorable that we have to help them. Why? Let them go ask Egypt for help. They haven’t aimed any rockets or mortars at Egypt, or organized any demonstrations on the border. What if all the Gazans decided to jump off the roof? Would we be expected to do something then, too? Of course not. They’re adults and they can make their own decisions. Firing on Israel and setting its fields alight is comparable to jumping off the roof. No one is making them do it. If that’s what they want, fine. But they have to face the consequences.

The terrorists have to be taken out and they have to pay for the damage they cause. The citizens of Sderot must be compensated for their losses – however many millions of shekels they amount to – immediately and generously, without any unnecessary red tape. The same applies to the citizens of all the communities in the area. We have to root out the terrorists and seize their money. Will that solve the problem? No, nothing will. But unless we do that, the situation will be even worse. We’re not aiming for the best case scenario here, just for one that is less bad.

If anyone thinks we should have stayed in Gaza, I can say from years of experience living with snakes in my yard: when you have a nest of vipers near your home, you don’t bring them in, you wipe them out. And a final word about setting fields on fire. There are fields along the whole length of the border in Gaza, too. I suggest they watch out in case we get the logical idea that both sides can play that game.

Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai,
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