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Part 1 presented the problem yesterday.
Except for Israel, no country on Earth would have allowed its residents to live under enemy rocket fire for years on end. The Palestinians, in particular those in Gaza, are making full use of Israel’s timid approach. This is the case of rocket-based terrorist attacks. Israel has lost its stick, and the hand that is supposed to swing it has grown weak.
Part of this erroneous perception stems from Israel’s over-protection. We have in place a multi-tiered anti-missile system, as well as protective systems for schools and public buildings. This is hardly a solution. The equation will change only through real proof of deterrence. Israel has lost its deterrence in recent years due to its leaders’ concerns over all sorts of investigative committees. Does anyone remember the Goldstone Report, which used to fill the newspapers for weeks? Does anyone really have to be concerned by an inquiry over Operation Protective Shield? Rather than be concerned, they ought to clarify that Israel has at its disposal a great big stick, ready to be swung over the enemy at any time.
So the IDF continues to rearm with exorbitant weapons systems it is hardly likely to make any use of – rather than make it clear that Israel would not tolerate a war of attrition, neither with a terrorist organization like Hamas nor with countries like Iran and Syria.
One would have expected Israel’s leadership to stop placating the US and adopt a tone more understandable to our enemies: a language of power. Take any Arab village, the bully with the stick is in charge.
The IDF has the means to deal with countries like Iran and Syria, but instead, they are preparing for a protracted conflict, complete with missile strikes for months at a time. Israel also the means for dealing with Hamas rockets, whose threat has not subsided in the wake of Operation Protective Shield, it actually intensified.
There is no wonder that those who sent the Special Forces to deal with the Mavi Marmara armed with paint balls, seriously considers protective means are substitute to hitting the enemy hard. What the enemy needs is a serious, debilitating blow.
The technological means are there, but the problem lies with the leadership. It fails to see the threats have changed, and they call for different measures. I sincerely hope that after a third round in Lebanon or after “Operation Protective Shield II”, I would not have to reproduce this Op-Ed and show it to those who fear international inquiries, whose conclusions carry no weight – aside from a few articles in the press and empty rhetoric by politicians.