IDF officials are now saying that southern residents can return to their homes and “feel safe” – but not everyone is buying that line; especially those whose homes were bombed just hours ago, first thing this morning. If it is so safe, how did Hamas manage to fire 26 rockets and missiles within 10 minutes at southern and central Israel, just before 8 am?
The families whose homes are located about a stone’s throw from Gaza, and who watched video footage of terrorists popping up from holes in the ground a jump and a half away from their communities, are also pretty uneasy. IDF soldiers fought really fierce battles to kill those terrorists, and Israel lost some of its finest young men in those fights.
Those same communities are located too close to Gaza for mortar fire to trigger the Code Red incoming rocket alert system – so they never have any warning of shelling attacks on their homes. As it is, they had only a bare 15-second window in which to find shelter from the constant rain of Qassam rocket fire Hamas terrorists sent their way, right up until 8 am this morning.
The cease fire officially ends in two days, unless negotiators find a way to lock it down permanently.
So why should anyone trust their fate to paper?
IDF officials told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense brass in a briefing at IDF Southern Command headquarters Monday (August 4, 2014) that all of the tunnels that were identified and located during Operation Protective Edge, were destroyed.
But many residents of the south are worried. The question, as one person told TheJewishPress.com, “is not so much whether the tunnels that were identified were destroyed, but whether all of the relevant tunnels were identified.”
The prime minister was filled with praise for the IDF, and rightfully so. He himself was a member of a Sayeret Matkal unit back in the day, so he knows first-hand what they’ve been going through.
“This was a complicated operation carried out by heroic soldiers under difficult combat conditions,” Netanyahu said.
“I would like to commend IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman, commanders, soldiers and ISA personnel all of whom had the fighting spirit that led to very impressive results.
“The operation struck at a strategic network that Hamas had invested great effort in over the years,” he pointed out. “These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.”
But then, Netanyahu got to the point that all residents fear most: “As I said at the onset of the operation I said that there is no guarantee of 100% success — but we did the utmost in order to achieve the maximum,” he said.
Achieving the maximum in what time period, is the issue. Initially, the government assured the nation it would continue the operation until the objectives were achieved. Those objectives included tracking down and destroying all of the terrorist tunnels, as well as silencing the rocket fire “for a long, long time.”
Have these objectives been achieved?. That’s an ugly question but one that has to be asked. A ground operation was required in order to identify and reach the terrorist tunnels, and it took the government two weeks to arrive at a decision to approve a ground operation. It took two more weeks to carry it out, and now the troops have been withdrawn, due to massive disapproval from the world’s response to gory photos from Gaza, all of which was expected from the outset. And just as happened during the last three operations, the job is once again probably not finished.
About the Author: Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.
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