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I’ve already written about the Gaza tunnels fiasco, as did many of my colleagues. That’s a massive failure on the part of the Israeli authorities, and it’s not the only one. Other, recently discovered failures have joined their predecessor.
One of them is the fact that Hezbollah has been digging tunnels beneath the border with Lebanon. There have been several reports by residents, concerning “strange things” occurring in the vicinity of their homes, but as far as I know nothing was done about it.
In this situation our government is faced with a huge dilemma – how can they tell residents of the regions around Gaza that it’s safe to return to their homes with their wives and children, and what should they do about the identical problem in the north.
It’s even worse than that, since the main goal of Operation Protective Edge wasn’t achieved. You may have forgotten, but that main goal was to stop the rocket launches. The number of rockets did go down, but the capability still exists. Meanwhile destroying the tunnels became just as important, and right now both goals haven’t been fully accomplished.
So it’s a double failure. We could have “went all out” and achieved true deterrence for Gaza, so that even if they had any rockets left Hamas leaders wouldn’t have the will to launch them. That also wasn’t achieved. There’s a lot of destruction in Gaza, but the Hamas leadership is unharmed.
In a situation like this its obvious that as soon as they leave their hiding places the Hamas leaders will do everything to prove they can still act. They will have two capabilities at their disposal – the tunnels and the rockets. So we didn’t go all out and the threat only grew. If that was the operational or political logic behind our actions, perhaps the word logic should get a new definition.
Israel handled itself well when this war began, but as always, the longer it went on the more unfocused and hesitant we became, and the decisiveness expressed by our political leadership started vanishing.