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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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We Lost the War

Israel gained no strategic asset at all.

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Three Tenors of the Apocalypse. These three men stood on Gaza's border in November, 2012, and blinked first. Now Liberman is urging another attack. Do we trust him?

Three Tenors of the Apocalypse. These three men stood on Gaza's border in November, 2012, and blinked first. Now Liberman is urging another attack. Do we trust him?
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

The last “Color Red” siren was sounded in Regional Council Sha’ar HaNegev at precisely 10:58 PM, and since then—11 hours, give or take—it’s been quiet in the Jewish settlements around the Gaza Strip. Both the IDF and the terrorists have been sticking to their commitment. (Update: The Jewish Press just reported, at 10:15 AM Thursday, that a rocket fired at Regional Council Ashkelon Coast exploded over Arab territory).

Also, according to the IDF Spokesman’s office, out of the 13 rockets and mortar shells fired after the official ceasefire had begun, at 9 PM, 10 fell inside Gaza, two fell in open areas in Israel, causing no damage, and one was intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

I’ll deal in a minute with the deeper meaning of having reached a ceasefire through the good services of the U.S. and a Muslim Brother Egyptian president, and also what it means that Israel has now de facto recognized the Hamas government. But before we deal with that, and the rest of the moral, spiritual, and, of course, military and political aspects of this bizarre truce, let’s review what has been achieved over the past week or so of fighting.

Here are the IDF’s official figures: During Operation Pillar of Defense, aka Pillar of Cloud (the literal meaning of “Amud Anan”): The IDF attacked 1500 targets, including 19 major Hamas command centers, operational control centers and senior headquarters. 30 senior terrorists were attacked, wreaking havoc on Hamas’s short-term command and control issues. Hundreds of underground launchers were attacked and destroyed. 140 smuggling tunnels and 66 fighting tunnels were demolished. Dozens of Hamas war rooms and camps were attacked. 26 sites that manufactured and stored weapons were destroyed. Dozens of long-range launchers were destroyed.

These are the top Hamas operatives killed during the operation:

11.14: Ahmad Sa’id Khalil Jabari, head of the military wing of Hamas.

11. 15: Bahabseh Hassan Awadh Mesmeh, senior Hamas police commander.

11.16: Ahmad Abu Jalal, commander of the military wing Al-Mu’az and Khaled Sha’ar, a senior commander of Hamas’s anti-tank system.

11.17: Osama Kadi, a senior activist in southern Gaza smuggling operations and Muhammad Kalab, an activist in the air defense array.

In other words, Israel gained no strategic asset at all. As has been shown in the past with the assassination of every major, “irreplaceable,” terror genius, each time we kill one of those, soon enough he is replaced, and the terrorist system absorbs the damage skillfully, quickly returning to its former functionality if not better.

As the old adage says: the graveyards are full of irreplaceable people.

Yesterday I uploaded a bunch of pictures of the Hamas government district after the IAF had pounded it overnight. It looked like a junkyard, it reminded me of images of Stalingrad during the war. If, God forbid, they had been able to inflict this kind of damage on us, you’d see the lines of Israelis at Ben Gurion airport stretching all the way to Tel Aviv, with everybody holding tickets for safe havens in Warsaw, Berlin, and New York City.

But the Arabs in Gaza, at least the Hamasniks among them, are celebrating. Heck, they celebrate so hard, one got killed and three wounded just from the happy shooting in the air! They live like rats underground, they risk their lives every day, moving Iranian, Ukrainian, Chinese and Russian death technology through the Egyptian desert from the Sudan, from Libya, from wherever they can. Now and then the IAF rains death on their heads and they retreat, pause, and get started all over again.

The last time I saw that kind of dedication on our side was in 1973, when a tiny group of IDF armor soldiers held the entire Syrian army at bay, keeping it from pouring into northern Israel.

But during that 1973 war Israel was transformed. We were forced to take instructions from our masters in Washington, who had different designs for us. It’s true that, back in 1956, we were also ordered by a U.S. president to pull out of the Sinai and give up the territory we had gained in battle. But in 1973 we had an opportunity to finally and unequivocally stake our claim to our homeland, make a clear statement about the fact that we belong here, and will stay here forever, God willing.

Back in 1973, while the invading Egyptian Third Army was surrounded and under a hermetically sealed siege, east of the Suez Canal, the IDF was on the African side of the water, in a town called Faid, 30 miles or so from the pyramids. There was nothing between us and Cairo, there was no Egyptian military left, including their airforce. We had an opportunity to take Cairo. Not to annex it, not to expand Israel into another continent – but to rub their noses in it. We had them down, with our boots on their necks, and we pulled back.

It was downhill from there. In less than seven years, the man who is more responsible than any Jew in history for Israel’s current humiliation, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, signed an agreement that instituted a new morality: If you come to murder me and I overcome you and take your land, you can get your land back if you promise not to murder me.

The Oslo Accords were merely the logical extension of that immoral pact, sealing a deal whereby troops of professional Arab murderers—on the brink of extinction, mid you— were imported from Tunisia and from other spots in the Middle East, to govern in territories which we promptly vacated, in exchange for the same promise: we won’t murder you.

The only difference was that much of the Sinai territory we gave back in 1979 was far away from Jewish homes (with the distinct exception of the city of Yamit). But the land we handed our murderers in 1994 was right next door to us. We actually invited bands of armed, ruthless killers to settle across the street from us and live in peace.

Ever since that point in our history, we’ve switched completely from fighting wars—to containing terrorism. Until that point we still had some notions about winning: we did chase Arafat and his killers from Lebanon. We did maintain a satellite Christian Lebanese army to fight the Hezbollah. But over the past 18 years we’ve moved to contain, contain, contain.

We are no longer interested in the other side—as far as we’re concerned they could kill each other, as long as they don’t do anything to us. This is why we built the despicable Security Wall between us and the PA (leaving whole swaths of Jewish towns and villages on the wrong side). And this is why we created the magnificent technological marvel, the Iron Dome. Because we are in the business of containing the terrorists and absorbing their attacks. We are definitely not in the business of killing the terrorists and freeing both our own people and the civilians suffering under the terrorist yoke across the border.

Last night I watched three morally corrupt men: Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak, and Foreign Minister Liberman, renege on every last statement they had ever made regarding the war against Hamas.

Back in 2008, Netanyahu campaigned in the southern communities with the slogan of We Must Topple the Hamas, no ceasefire, no negotiations. And Liberman actually demanded, as a condition of his joining a Likud-led coalition government, that destroying the Hamas be included as a bona fide item in the coalition agreement. And Barak, after the 2008 Cast Lead operation, assured us that the Hamas would never be able to re-start firing at Israel after the damage they had sustained.

Last night the three tenors of the apocalypse gave a de facto recognition to Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza, boosted Muslim Brother Egyptian president Morsi’s world status as peace maker and a strong ally of the U.S. (who will give him $12 billion to shore up his current social disasters), and showed the Arabs that the only way to get anything from Israel is through violence against civilian Jews.

The quiet will be over soon enough, the civilian casualties will start mounting again, and we will be right back where we started, with no strategic assets and several billion dollars poorer.

We’ve lost this war.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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