by Zvika Fogel
The real evil comes from the south, from the state of murderers in the Gaza Strip. That's the one that keeps the wheels of the conflict turning and decides just how hot things will get in Judea and Samaria.
The need to be everywhere at once, all the time, is what prompted Israel's security apparatus to outfit the main axes and hot spots of the conflict in Judea and Samaria with cameras to record difficult events and supposedly make it possible to analyze them later and show the world who the instigator was.
We're losing the camera war, unequivocally. No camera has yet been invented that can stop robbers or speeding drivers, much less deter masked members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Cameras won't prevent the next incident. At most, they can help us catch the murderers.
Every branch of the security establishment is asking itself what will bring about a change. What will stop the current wave of terrorism, and what will prevent more wounded? The answer we're accustomed to hearing is "deterrence," but it's wrong. There is no deterrence in the ongoing conflict between us and the growing threat in our region. Deterrence is impossible in a conflict between an existing state and undefined entities that hold an ideology and strategy devoted entirely to establishing a state of their own on the ruins of ours. The security apparatus has been tasked with an almost impossible mission -- almost.
These days, our gaze is fixed on Judea and Samaria, and particularly Jerusalem. That's a mistake. The real evil comes from the south, from the state of murderers in the Gaza Strip. That's the one that keeps the wheels of the conflict turning and decides just how hot things will get in Judea and Samaria. That's the one that breathes life into terrorist elements in the Sinai Peninsula and that's the one that is pressing Hezbollah to keep threatening us from the north.
In Operations Cast Lead and Protective Edge, we missed an opportunity to defeat Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We need to forget what was and take advantage of the chance to create a new security reality. Either we turn Gaza into the world's biggest parking lot, or we beat Hamas and Islamic Jihad there, on their own turf. This isn't just what Israel wants -- it's the wish of the Palestinians who want coexistence and of every Arab head of state in our region. There is no need to demolish the home of a single terrorist; we must raze the palace where terrorism reigns.
The heads of Israel's security branches have a constant obligation to map out a new path that will lead to a different reality. We cannot adhere to the same line when the other side knows us and always beats us to the punch. In this ongoing war of attrition, we must not be the ones who respond, condemn, and weep. The safety of the people who live in Israel, which rests in the hands of the security establishment, demands that our enemies be prevented from racking up any success, without us apologizing or preaching.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel is a former chief of staff of the IDF Southern Command.
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