We say that we are transferring food and fuel so that world media will report it. This, too, is a faulty approach, because it is based on a twisted scale of values, according to which Israeli lives are less important that Israel’s image.
Continuing to transfer food, water, fuel and electricity, is seen as a sign of weakness by the other side, and weakness invites more pressure in the form of rockets and missiles. Stopping the supplies would cause the residents of Gaza to demand that Hamas cease to launch rockets. Clearly, continued transfer of supplies is the reason for the continued rockets.
Kedar would prefer that Hamas — a humiliated and weakened Hamas — maintain control of Gaza, while being forced to stop its aggression against Israel.
I think he’s right about the contradiction between ‘humanitarian’ assistance and warfare. After all, the population of Gaza overwhelmingly voted for Hamas in 2006, and overwhelmingly supports its objective of killing Jews. We have no obligation to place the well-being of Gaza’s population over that of our own. The opposite is true!
If we cut them off, we can expect great international pressure to resume the transfers. Our response can only be: “yes — as soon as Hamas stops its attacks and begins to disarm.” Continued transfer will depend on the progress of disarmament.
I don’t suggest that we embark on this course unless we are prepared to follow through, because surrender to pressure would be far worse than not taking it at all. It must be made clear that the fate of Gazans is in Hamas’ hands, not ours.
Unfortunately, Hamas is probably correct that this war will end with an imposed cease-fire like previous conflicts. Our strategy should be designed to 1) hurt Hamas as much as possible — materially and psychologically — before this occurs, 2) establish conditions afterwards that will work against a recurrence of the conflict, and 3) protect our own people, both civilians and soldiers.
It is possible to combine air attacks with small, targeted ground operations by special forces without committing to a major ground offensive that sees dozens of tanks rolling across the border. I think that this can be combined with a cutoff of Gaza’s lifeline as advocated by Kedar to best achieve our goals.