web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

‘Because they Could’

In contrast to rogue players, Israel uses force only because it has to.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaking with Israeli reserve soldiers at a base outside Gaza, November 18, 2012.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz speaking with Israeli reserve soldiers at a base outside Gaza, November 18, 2012.
Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson/FLASH90

Share Button

Before a radio interview this week, the host sent me a list of questions that might come up on the show. The answer to an extraordinary number of them was, “Because they could.” Because bad actors were reasonably sure no one (read: United States) would protest and even more sure no one would stop them.

For example: Why did Jordanian Palestinians join the protest calling for the overthrow King Abdullah II of Jordan? Why did Iran attack a U.S. drone in the international waters of the Persian Gulf? Why did Mahmoud Abbas go ahead with the U.N. General Assembly vote on observer status over pointed U.S. objections? Why did the Emir of Qatar visit Gaza and give Hamas $400 million? Why did Ansar al Shariah attack the U.S. Consulate/CIA Annex on 9-11? Why did Mohammad Morsi take on dictatorial powers in Egypt? Why is Iran using Sudan as its staging base for the export of arms to Gaza?

That is not to say there are no other answers, and indeed, there are many, but the abdication of American leadership in the Middle East/Persian Gulf region encourages those whose aims are inimical to the West to believe they can advance themselves with impunity.

This stands in odd contrast to the questions about Israel: Why did Israel bomb Gaza? Why didn’t Israel take its ground forces into Gaza?

The answer to the first set of questions is, “Because it had to.” The answer to the second is, “Because it didn’t have to.”

Because Israel Had To

Operation Pillar of Defense was not only retaliation for Hamas rocket fire — although that would have been reason enough for a civilized country to go to war. The attack was a response to the discovery that Hamas had acquired perhaps 100 Iranian Fajr-5 rockets. These are the same type of rockets that someone destroyed in a Sudanese weapons factory in October, and their presence in Gaza was unacceptable to Israel.

By way of comparison: The other rockets and mortars in Hamas’s arsenal made life difficult for more than a million Israelis across the southern part of the country — the U.S. equivalent is 44,000,000 people. Every one of them would have 15 seconds to find shelter and shelter their children and elderly parents. Geographically, the radius of the otherHamas rockets superimposed on New York would cover Hurricane Sandy-land and more.

The Iranian Fajr-5 added Tel Aviv (Israel’s commercial center) and Jerusalem (its capital) to rocket range — over 1,200,000 residents in the cities, plus suburbs with over half a million more. The equivalent of an additional 75,000,000 Americans, give or take.

Of course, there are those who do not have a problem with Israelis facing attack at the whim of an enemy determined to kill as many civilians as possible. Washington Post Ombudsman Patrick Pexton acknowledged that, well, okay, rocket fire from Gaza is “reprehensible,” but “let’s be clear: The overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” You wonder what he would think if it were 130 million Americans having to rush for shelter on 15 seconds’ notice.

Because Israel Didn’t Have To

Hamas tried desperately to lure Israeli troops into Gaza. Having trained for a ground invasion, laid mines and planted booby-traps, Hamas wanted nothing more than IDF trophies, dead or alive. Increased rocket fire (more than 1,500 rockets between November 14th and 21st – an average of eight per hour or one every eight minutes) was intended to create not only an increase in Israeli civilian casualties, but irresistible pressure from the citizenry on the government to “do something.”

Although the Israeli public strongly favored a ground incursion and the government mobilized the reserves, it did not happen. Why?

The Israeli Air Force removed the Fajr-5 threat and decapitated Hamas leadership without a ground offensive. More than 1,600 targets in Gaza were hit, including rocket launching sites, storage facilities and terrorist infrastructure. Thirty senior Hamas operatives trained in Iran were killed, unable to transmit their knowledge. Iron Dome’s 85% success rate intercepting rockets aimed at population centers allowed the Israeli government to make decisions without the pressure of civilian casualties. And finally, knowledge that there were 75,000 soldiers mobilized and ready reassured the Israeli public that the government was prepared to do more if necessary.

Share Button

About the Author: Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director of JINSA and author of JINSA Reports form 1995-2011.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “‘Because they Could’”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest Indepth Stories
Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

Yossi Klein HaLevi

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

More Articles from Shoshana Bryen
International Security Assistance Force Commander Gen. John R. Allen.

It appears not to have occurred to Condoleezza Rice that Palestinian statehood was incompatible with Israeli security.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei

The 686 men who expressed their desire to run in Iran’s presidential election were whittled down to 8.

Does Kerry think it would be better for Israel to approach negotiations from a position of precarious poverty?

Neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the Middle East.

The fourth Great War is less ‘Islam against the West’ than it is Sunni expansionists vs. Shiite expansionists.

This is the functional equivalent of agreeing not to swing the wrecking ball after you’ve set the house on fire.

President Obama, perhaps inadvertently, made the case for U.S.-Israel relations grounded in the most fundamental shared values.

US-Israel security relations have undergone a subtle, negative change in the past four years.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/because-they-could/2012/12/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: