Trying to negotiate a “cease fire” with Hamas is like trying to negotiate one with Al Qaeda. If they agree to it, it’s only to give themselves time to get stronger and more lethal.
It’s unreasonable to expect Israel to try and negotiate with terrorists who think it’s Allah’s will that all Jews be exterminated and wiped from the face of the earth.
The ceasefire began the way that the war did; with a flight of rockets falling from the sky over Israel’s battered south where working class families wait to learn if they will have to spend the night in safe rooms and shelters.
There is no ceasefire, despite declarations from the international community to the contrary, just as there has been no peace for the past twenty years despite peace accords being signed.
In the language of diplomacy, ceasefire does not mean that the rockets will stop falling and peace does not mean an end to the violence. They mean only that Israel is not allowed to fight back when the rockets fall and the bombs go off. Peace does not mean an absence of killing; what it means is that the terrorists are the only ones allowed to kill.
The ceasefire means that diplomacy has succeeded and the goal of diplomacy in the Middle East is not to make it possible for Israeli children to sleep safely at night, but to pull back Israel from finishing a war.
Diplomacy salvaged Cairo and Damascus after their Arab Socialist regimes began and lost two wars. It saved Arafat in Lebanon and plenty of times afterward. Diplomacy has protected Hamas nearly as many times as it saved the greasy thug of Ramallah. And that same onslaught of diplomacy has made Israel’s existence perilous and unstable, as its armed forces gather to reply to an attack only to be pulled back when there is any danger of them actually winning.
[...] What Israel wants is not to be shot at. What the terrorists want is to shoot at Israel. And the peace negotiations always conclude with the terrorists getting what they want, while the Israelis get bullet holes in their cars, stab wounds in their necks and blast debris in their ceilings.
Israelis accepted Oslo because it was supposed to mean an end to the violence. Instead the violence became permanent. And now peace isn’t even on the table anymore, only temporary ceasefires that mean the enemy has taken enough damage that it would like an opportunity to rearm and regroup. After giving up its security, Israel has traded in the promise of permanent peace for the offer of a temporary ceasefire that does not even pretend to do anything except benefit the enemies who are determined to destroy it.
Any ceasefire with Hamas, even in the best of all possible worlds, is only a temporary affair, a lull in the fighting, not an ideal to strive for, and even the lull part will be missing here. Ceasefires do not bring peace; they only unnecessarily prolong the war. Israel has signed on to peace accords to show that it wants peace. Now it signs on to ceasefires in order to show that it would rather not fight.
Of course, it was the Obama White House that pressured Israelto accept a “cease fire” agreement with their terrorist neighbors who are dedicated to their annihilation even though he himself admits that the deal is “tenuous” at best.
Israeli soldiers are so frustrated by this capitulation that some took a pic of themselves spelling out the words “Bibi loser” in Hebrew:
As Wednesday night’s cease-fire went into effect–amidst continuing rocket fire from Hamas–many Israeli reservists returned home disappointed that the government had not launched the ground attack for which they had been called up. One soldier, quoted by Ynetnews, said that “as a resident of Beersheba [which was hit by several rocket attacks] there is a sense of disappointment. (The violence) will repeat itself and we’ll find ourselves back here again and again. They (government) should have let us complete the mission.”
Much of the Israeli public agrees that a ground war would have been preferable to no war at all, given the continued threat of attacks from Gaza–and given that Hamas is declaring victory. A new poll suggests that support for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen sharply, by as much as 25 percent, since he accepted the cease-fire, likely after intense pressure from the Obama administration. A poll prior to the cease-fire indicated that 70% of Israelis opposed it, and wanted to fight to remove Hamas from Gaza altogether.
Hamas is declaring victory, bragging that “the occupation and its army were forced to accept our conditions for a cease-fire.” They’re demanding a Palestinian state that includes all the land the Arabs lost in the 1967 war, and a “right of return” for terrorists. Iran is celebrating what it sees as evidence of Israel’s weakness.
Still, William Jacobson points out that it wasn’t a total loss for Israel:
There is no way to spin this as an Israeli victory. But that doesn’t make it a loss. Think big picture.
Israel probably destroyed 80% of Hamas’ capabilities, and thereby destroyed 80% of Iran’s southern base to launch attacks against Israel in the even of a war over Iran’s nuclear program. To achieve the remaining 20% would have required efforts which may have damaged Israel’s ability to deal with Iran.
The fact is that Israel never has a free hand. When the President of the United States calls up and explicitly or implicitly says Stop, an Israeli Prime Minister needs to think through the consequences of saying No.
There may be times when No is the answer, but yesterday was not one of those times, when there are more existential threats to be dealt with in the coming year.