The Gaza Strip was under full Israeli military control since the end of the Six Days War. As part of the Oslo agreements, the IDF withdrew from the strip’s cities and supplied large quantities of light arms and ammunition to Arafat’s men. In the cities from which the IDF withdrew, a terror infrastructure began to be built by Hamas and other organisations. The heaviest weapons the Palestinians managed to produce were primitive Qassam rockets that brought hell to the populations of the town of Shderot and villages around Gaza. A very small amount of weapons was smuggled into the strip from the sea and from Egypt.
In the spirit of the flight from Southern Lebanon, and for reasons that had nothing to do with Israel’s national security, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to detach from the strip, dismantle all the settlements built there and worst of all – abandon the Philadelphi route that separated the Gaza Strip from Egypt. To carry out his plan, Sharon deserted the Likud party and established Kadima. He also did not extend the term of Chief of Staff Moshe Ye’elon who objected to the plan, and appointed in his place his yes-man Dan Halutz.
The strip was completely evacuated of all Israelis, The Philadelphi route was abandoned. Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz promised that one Qassam launch and Gaza will tremble. Or burn. Whatever. The firing of Qassams continued nearly uninterrupted. Grad rockets began being smuggled into the strip. Sharon sunk into a coma and Ehud Olmert was appointed to succeed him. Hamas took control of the strip in a brutal coup. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. The IDF was exposed with all its shortcomings in the Lebanon war under the leadership of Defence Minister Amir Peretz and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz. Peretz was replaced by Ehud Barak. The firing of rockets from the strip and the smuggling of rockets into the strip continued, and each time another southern Israeli city joined the circle of terror, Olmert blurbed something about the crossing of another red line. And then, after a particularly massive rocket barrage, and after many months and years in which Israel could have acted in the strip with the support of President George W. Bush, the IDF finally embarked on operation ‘Cast Lead’, just days before Barak Hussein Obama entered the White House. Nobody knows exactly what the Olmert-Barak government was hoping to achieve with this operation – the final result was that nothing was achieved. Obama ordered Israel to withdraw from the strip without delay, Gilad Shalit was not released, the firing of rockets continued, the smuggling of weapons through the Philadelphi route only intensified, the Hamas regime was not demolished and Israel suffered a massive diplomatic damage.
Olmert was forced to clear his desk due to the many corruption scandals he was linked to. Binyamin Netanyahu stood in front of the TV cameras at the entrance to Ashkelon and promised so0lemnly to the people of Israel – “We will demolish the terror regime of Hamas”. About my demand that Netanyahu keeps this promise of his or clear his desk I have already written in a previous article. Netanyahu became prime minister and appointed Ehud Barak again as defence minister. The rocket fire from the strip continued nearly without interruption, the smuggling of weapons continued to intensify in both quantity and quality, including anti-tank missiles, long range ground to ground rockets and anti-aircraft missiles. A large proportion of these weapons came from the broken into storage depots of the Libyan army where they were locked for some forty years, after the US, Britain and France removed Gaddafi’s regime.
And so we arrive at the present time. A few thousand terrorists armed to the teeth hold by the balls what is supposed to be the strongest army in the Middle East. Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva, together with many smaller towns and villages, are rocketed ceaselessly, when against each incoming rocket which may hit a built up area, two ‘Iron Dome’ missiles costing 50,000 US Dollars each are launched. The air force continues to cruise above Gaza with its drones, trying to hunt the rocket launchers with tweezers, and the little that remains of Israel’s deterrence is fast eroding
The supreme achievement of national security is peace. A true and long lasting peace. When there is no partner to make peace with, and in the Gaza Strip there is no such partner, the next best thing is deterrence, backed by a totally disproportionate response to any act of aggression. I have already written about the folly of proportionate response in a previous article. If you are not clear as to what I mean by a disproportionate response, you could ask Georgia’s prime minister why he will never, ever, make the Russians crossed again. Israel’s air force has hundreds of fighter planes and a few thousand pilots in actual service and in reserves. What is preventing the Israeli government from ordering the air force to begin a massive bombardment around the clock – I am talking about a four aircraft formation every ten minutes, twenty four hours a day for a few days – that will completely destroy the infrastructure of the smuggling tunnels along the Philadelphi route and the production and storage facilities of weapons already smuggled in? What is preventing the Israeli government from announcing that with immediate effect, for each supply truck allowed to enter the Gaza strip the terror organisations will have to hand over to Israel a dismantled rocket or an anti-aircraft or an anti-tank missile? What is Israel waiting for exactly? For a mass murder of Israeli civilians with a direct hit of a heavy rocket that would justify action in the eyes of Obama, the European Union and the highly sensitive Military rulers of Egypt? With a deterrence of the kind produced for the last twelve years by a succession of Israeli governments of wimps and general staffs of dwarfs, is Israel attempting to threaten Iran?