One week after the conclusion of operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, the security reality alongside the Gaza Strip border is being reshaped, the IDF has been instructed to show restraint, farmers on both sides are permitted to stretch their tilled lands all the way to the border fence, and should a Hamas or Islamic Jihad cell aim a rocket launcher at Israel, Israeli soldiers would not be allowed to shoot at it before going through channels, Maariv reports this morning.
The rules of engagement have been altered radically. In the recent past, IDF soldiers were instructed to shoot at once at any Gaza resident who approached the fence. Now there is no such thing as firing at will, even if the person approaching engages in sabotaging the security fence. The IDF must treat them now as suspects to be arrested, as is the protocol in Judea and Samaria, and shooting at those suspect is limited to the legs and not beyond.
The rules of engagement have also been changed regarding terrorist cells in the process of launching a rocket. In the past, the IAF would be alerted and a plane would be sent directly to attack the target. Now the attack may tale place only should the terrorist cell actually initiate the process of launching.
Last Wednesday, according to Maariv, two hours after the ceasefire had gone into effect, IDF commanders in the field identified a cell which was setting up a rocket launcher and requested the approval of GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo to shot at it, but Russo would not give his approval.
Sources in the IDF told Maariv they were surprised at the immediate and complete quiet that took place soon after the ceasefire.
General Russo, who is competing these days for the job of IDF deputy chief of staff, said yesterday: “It will take some reasonable period of time until we know whether we have achieved our objectives. For the time being, the change on the ground has been extreme. We reached a type of normalcy with the campaign, and we have complete quiet.”
For future reference, we should remind ourselves of the Hamas’s magical ability to put a lid on all the rest of the terrorist organizations when it served its objectives.
We should probably also ask General Russo if he heard the one about the guy who jumps off the Empire State Building and at the 20th floor he says: So far everything is fine.