The Nation of Israel and Operation Protective Edge by Uri Shachter – Deputy Brigade Commander Nachal (Res.)
After almost a month of fighting in the Gaza Strip, with all the reactions, I find it important to clarify to the Nation of Israel that we won, decisively. Both from a military and civilian point of view, we have been victorious. From a military perspective we can begin the victory parades. Hamas is on the ropes, the most they are able to do is poke their heads out of their hidey-holes for a second to declare victory (until it gets struck by the next missile). They are unable to rearm from Egypt (something they were able to do with a free hand during the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood). For years Hamas has been building tunnels beneath our towns to use to attack them and we have been able to destroy all the tunnels. Every military goal Hamas set for itself has failed, on land, in the air and by sea.
So why are we giving them the idea that they won?!
Every contact with the enemy resulted in our overwhelming victory.
Every town we wanted to conquer, we conquered within a few hours with the help of our air force and artillery. During the Yom Kippur War (1973) we too were on the ropes having lost 2,656 soldiers in battle. We won, but unfortunately it was perceived in the national mind as a failure. In the current war, our warriors and their commanders who lead from the front, unlike Hamas who prefer to command from behind, went out to battle with a level of motivation that is hard to understand. Soldiers who, even after being wounded, refuse to leave the field of battle just so their comrades won’t have to go into battle without them. Our men continue to fight courageously, even after losing dozens of our best and brightest, knowing that we have returned the IDF to what it was meant to do, protect our civilians.
There are those soldiers and commanders who feel that we haven’t finished the mission and they want to keep striking at the terrorists. That is as it should be. If they left feeling satisfied and complete, that would be a problem. I also don’t accept the perception that the IDF is retreating. Keep in mind that there is a broader and more encompassing picture in the hands of the upper echelons and not every pundit who writes a hysterical article understands the big picture.
The army is free to fire on any position they think is necessary and positions itself wherever it needs to. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are running to Egypt to beg for a ceasefire while we haven’t even sent a representative. It’s not that they haven’t achieved anything in the current fighting, but they have lost a considerable amount. All the residents in Gaza will return to their ruined houses, destroyed for no gain or reason on their part.
It’s no less important, from a military perspective, to highlight what Israel has gone through during this period. The home front, in all its myriad of peoples, also stood like an unmoving rock (Tzuk Eitan in Hebrew can also be translated this way). It has provided the soldiers and their commanders the support that is so essential to their success. That is the true victory of the nation.
The goal of terrorists isn’t to conquer land, rather to break down and dissolve the society that it attacks. A month and a half ago, before our sweet, wonderful boys (Naftali, Ayal, Gil-Ad) were kidnapped, the nation was more fragmented than it has been for a long time. The verbal flames between groups had been whipped up to unprecedented levels.