Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cut off the guiding hand - Zvika Fogel

by Zvika Fogel

The only way to end the suffering on both sides of the Gaza border is with decisive victory followed by an offer to coexist. This requires a courageous land operation.

The events of the past few days in the Gaza sector are the product of a faulty situational assessment that stems from an inability to translate reality correctly and admit the simple truth: None of the parties involved is willing to resolve the insufferable living conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The familiar refrain that Hamas, Israel and other elements are uninterested in war is irrelevant.

Everyone, it appears, is content to live with and carry out varying tempos of skirmishes. Each side is trying its hardest to exhaust the other and to create problems where solutions can be found.

Our mistaken approach to Hamas as a terrorist organization prevents us from using full force against it. In the years since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has transitioned from a terrorist group to the sovereign power in Gaza. Hamas controls civilian institutions of governance and an army, allowing it to manage the daily lives of Gazans. It's time to internalize that Hamas, like any other neighboring Arab country, has something to lose. For the past few years, Hamas has forced us to counter its weapons and military infrastructure, which it has sought to use to perpetrate large terrorist attacks on our homefront and to undermine the daily lives of Israeli civilians.

Hamas, like Hezbollah, is a foreign Iranian outpost. If we aspire to a normal life, and if we truly intend to create a shared future here, the time has come to exact the price of true loss from Hamas and for us to pay the cost of real victory. We require strategic understanding and internalization. What happens in the southern arena will have implications for all of our borders. We can continue destroying tunnels, intercepting rockets and mortars, building a sea obstacle and fences in an effort to fortify ourselves to the gills. We can and should continue to attack targets deep inside Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

However, more than anything, we must sever the hands that orchestrate and eliminate the minds that plan and give orders. This cannot be achieved solely with the air force; it requires a smart and courageous land operation.

None of us wishes for war. But it's important to remember that war is a means to achieve diplomatic objectives, and it is prudent to wage it when there is no other option. Our enemy does not recognize our right to live. Despite this, we are prepared to accept him as a neighbor.

To end the suffering on both sides of the border, I do not see any way other than decisive victory followed by an offer to coexist in peace. Similar to my enemies in the Middle East, I too want to have the last word, which in my case is: cease-fire.

Zvika Fogel


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