IDF Failures Continue in Negev, West Bank, and Golan

Mysh cartoon: a masked IDF chief of staff demands ransom in return for release of three Israeli kidnap victims saying, “We demand a billion shekels.” Bibi tells his finance minister Yair Lapid, “We’d better pay, Yair.”

Despite the fact that last week the Netanyahu government managed to find $250-million to add to the IDF’s disputed budget request without any public discussion or notice, the Israeli army continues to fail in its mission on multiple fronts.  I reported yesterday, that Hezbollah penetrated close enough to the Israeli “border” in the Golan to destroy a defense ministry vehicle that was bringing water to a frontline IDF military post.  The son of the driver was killed.

A few days ago, a Gazan crossed the heavily-surveilled border with Israel and walked three miles into the Negev right up to a Kibbutz where he apparently intended to throw a hand grenade and kill someone.  He never got the chance because he was apprehended–by a civilian.  Considering that the IDF routinely kills children and elderly men searching for scrap metal or playing soccer on the Gaza side of the border and calls them terrorists seeking to infiltrate, one wonders how an armed Palestinian wanders across the border and reaches an Israeli community miles away without anyone knowing about it.  Only in the Haaretz Hebrew article linked above does it note this as a serious security failure.  English-language reports on the incident seem to conveniently omit this salient fact.  Why would they expose the ineptitude of the IDF to readers eager to believe in the righteousness and rectitude of these defenders of Zion?

In 2012, another Palestinian crossed the border and walked five miles into the Israeli Negev without the IDF detecting it.  This individual succeeded in attacking a community next door to the one attacked this week, and wounded a woman before being shot to death.  Security failures only seem to multiply.

IDF, sower of ruin and maker of widows and orphans. This is one of the latest.

The woefully inaptly named ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’ has now killed its fifth (or seventh, depending on how you count it) Palestinian victim.  Israel knows the kidnap victims are dead but refuses to acknowledge it publicly.  Mondoweiss exposed the gag order which everyone and his brother knew existed, and which Israel never acknowledged.  It censors any mention of the suspects in the crime or the fact that the victims are dead.

The West Bank has been turned into a war zone by this invasion of Palestine.  If it continues much longer a third Intifada is in the offing.  This would probably suit both the IDF and Netanyahu since it would distract the Israeli public and rest of the world from Israel’s refusal to engage in a serious peace process, and the intelligence-military failure to ensure security for Israel’s settlers.

Whenever such a failure occurs, those who’ve let the public down run to the media and trot out unverified statistics regarding how many other kidnap attacks have been thwarted.  They never address their failure in the current case, which is the only reason they’re trumpeting their past successes.  They never provide any proof of those past achievements, they merely state them as if that alone proves them.  And for many Israelis, it does (unfortunately).

Another outrageous PR gambit of the IDF is this Ynet article in which an unnamed “high-ranking senior member” of the IDF Central Command actually has the chutzpah to claim that Palestinians understand why Israel must turn their homes into pigstys and kill their children during Operation Brother’s Killer.  I believe that such a performance deserves credit.  So I expose the identity of this unnamed Napoleon.  My source tells me he is none other than the Central Command chief, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon.

You must read this crap to believe it:

The Palestinians know that the IDF action currently underway in the West Bank targets Hamas and not them, a senior army officer told Ynet on Monday.

We are well within the boundaries of legitimate action in the eyes of Palestinian public,” said the officer, a high-ranking member of the Central Command.

“The Palestinian public understands that the kidnapping was an aberration and our response was predictable. They know that we are not working against them but rather against Hamas. The Palestinian public understands that a red line has been crossed.”

…Regarding the number of Palestinians wounded and the Palestinian resistance to Operation Brother’s Keeper, the officer said that the casualty rate was low.

“I wish every army in the world could take 5,000 soldiers into villages with the resistance we encountered, and the result would be four Palestinian deaths, with three of them justified,” he said.

This reminds me of Al Franken’s seminal take-down of Rush Limbaugh: “lies and the lying liars who tell them.” Surely, Alon doesn’t believe the crap he’s peddling. Does he think the resistance he’s encountering comes from a population which “understands” the reasons he’s wreaking havoc on it? No, he spouting this nonsense to a gullible Israeli public which wants to believe that Palestinians are savages and it’s miraculous the IDF doesn’t simply exterminate or expel them en masse and be done with the problem. For these people, Palestinians are at best ciphers who should obey every Israeli order and be an extension of Israel itself. I exaggerate, but only slightly.

Israel’s deputy defense minister, Zeev Elkin, made a similarly offensive remark before the Knesset a few days ago (h/t Ari Remez). He said that the IDF operation was meant to show Hamas that the ‘landlord had gone crazy.’ It’s something like Henry Kissinger’s insane strategy to massively bomb the dikes in North Vietnam and wreak havoc throughout the country to “soften it up” so that in peace talks it would be cowed and obeisant. The strategy didn’t work then and won’t work now.

Elkin, a hardline settler hailing from the former Soviet Union, lives in a world in which everything Shabak tells him is true.  Israel is righteous, the Zionist narrative is clear and unwavering:

If the leaders of Hamas know that with the next kidnapping we will return to prison everyone who’s been freed in previous prisoner exchanges they’ll act differently and fear to do further kidnappings.  I’ve come to the conclusion that in the Middle East if you wish to achieve real restraint, there are times when you have to act according to the principle of “the landlord’s gone crazy.”  We must respond in the most severe way possible toward Hamas’ leadership and make them pay the full high price.  We must take every step to make clear to them that anyone who kidnaps children has no immunity.  On the contrary, he’ll be targeted for execution.

In the Facebook thread where I first came across the Yisrael HaYom article, Roy Yellin made the important point that the very notion that Israel is the “landlord” reinforces its “lordly arrogance.”  Israel as landlord means Israel “owns” it all, even what Palestinians claim as theirs.  The latter have no agency, no claim.  They are tenants allowed to remain by Israeli sufferance.  When the landlord goes crazy it only reinforces just how tenuous is their small claim of residency even as tenants.

Demagogues like this don’t understand that every military attack on Hamas makes it stronger in the eyes of Palestinians. Every victim killed is another martyr who proves to them the evil that is Israel and its army. Every home ransacked and child blindfolded and arrested destroys the credibility of the PA in the eyes of its public. But perhaps that’s what Israel wants. It wants an empowered radical Islamist movement and a discredited secular political center. That way Palestinians can never coalesce around a viable stable leadership.

Another irony in Elkin’s statement is that no Palestinian needs to be persuaded that the Israeli landlord has “gone crazy.”  Every Palestinian knows this is true.  And operations like this only prove that fact before the entire world as well.  So a term that an Israeli extremist politicians uses for dramatic flair before his Israeli public exposes more than he could ever know, the pathology of Israeli policy towards Palestine.

For regular readers, I apologize for using a Biblical reference I’ve used before here: Israel has resorted to acting like Samson, who toppled the walls of the Philistine palace in one last outburst remaining power.  If Israel can’t exist in the Middle East on its own terms, then no one will get to live in peace there.  Until and unless someone more powerful takes Israel to task and tells it that’s not the way it’s going to be, then Israel will proceed like a mad landlord making all the residents of the region live in fear of the insanity it might wreak.