That’s a Biblical allusion to Ecclesiastes: “Of the making of many books there is no end.” But it’s a fitting statement for tonight’s announcement that Israel has declared a unilateral 72-hour ceasefire concocted with the help of the Likud’s best pal in the Arab world, Egypt. There is word that Hamas too has agreed to the ceasefire though I have no idea why they would.
This is an odd development considering that only two days ago Hamas succeeded in one of its boldest military successes, the ambush of an IDF tunnel unit with the death of two officers and the capture of another officer, who subsequently was killed by the IDF after the Hannibal Directive was invoked. Israel isn’t used to backing down in the fact of such defeats.
But the ceasefire, while it may not be an explicit admission of defeat is, in effect, a tacit admission that Operation Protective Edge has failed. Israel began the attack on Gaza saying that the goal was to stop Hamas rocket fire. The missiles never stopped. Then the IDF changed course and said its mission was to destroy the tunnels. It now claims it has completed the destruction of 30 tunnels, which is describes as “most” of them. Another report claiming to originate with U.S. intelligence says that there are at least 60 tunnels. If this is true, and I cannot authenticate the report myself, then the IDF has also failed in this mission. At any rate, even if the IDF has destroyed the tunnels, they can be rebuilt. It took three years to build the network they have now. It will take less to build a new one.
So where is the vaunted “quiet,” concerning which Bibi has told the world Israel will settle for nothing less?? Where is the guarantee that the IDF has struck a fatal blow against “Palestinian terror?” Just as Israel’s military mission in 2006 (Lebanon), 2009 (Cast Lead) and 2012 (Pillar of Cloud) failed, so will this one.
This report in the NY Times by Steven Erlanger is full of hot-air blown his way by the IDF. The Times reporter claims that Hamas has been struck a severe blow, when there is no evidence of the sort. He goes on and on about how Israel recoginzes that Gaza needs to be reconstructed. Imagine that a country which just killed nearly 2,000 people and rendered the homes and infrastructure of 1.8-million non-existent has the generosity to conceded there needs to be an effort to fix the mess? Of course, Israel won’t do the reconstruction itself. Not a red penny will come from Israel. It will “allow” Egypt to do so. Imagine the money this will funnel into the pockets of the larcenous Egyptian generals. Before Hamas could tax what came through its tunnels. Now much of that lucre will go to the Egyptians.
Erlanger allows the Israelis to say they’re ready and willing to talk about a ceasefire with Hamas at some vague point in the future. They’re ready to return to the provision of previous ceasefires which they never implemented (of course Erlanger leaves that inconvenient fact out of his account)…sometime.
Essentially, the IDF is leaving after failing to achieve any of its objectives. Hamas has proven its mettle on the battlefield. It only proves once again that Israeli invasions, whether of Lebanon or Gaza, don’t work. They merely “mow the grass” leaving Israelis and Palestinians to wait another year or two for a new round of sacrificial victims on the altar of Likudist folly.
There are those who make the mistake of believing my “intent” is to celebrate Hamas or the killing of Israelis. That’s not true at all. My intent is to get Israel to accept that it is a nation bound by the same rules that bind other nations. I believe that nations that are invaded by others have a right to defend themselves. I believe that the invaders have no right to declare themselves victims. Nor should they be immune from responsibility for their actions. If they invade a sovereign country, then the victims will defend their land. They have a right to do so.
If the same thing were to happen to Israel and it was invaded by an enemy, I would say the same thing on its behalf.