There is a general feeling of frustration in Israel. Operation Protective Edge has not brought peace to our country. Approximately 119 Hamas rockets have been fired on Israel today. (The figure increases as I write these words) One hit a school, and fragments of another fell in the playground of a park in Ramat Gan.
More than 60 soldiers have been killed and many hundreds more wounded, some critically, in a so-called “Operation” that is far from being over.
The government prefers to call it an “operation”, because, were they to call it a war, it would have financial implications in terms of the compensation that would have to be paid to those whose livelihoods have been severely affected over the past month.
Life along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip has virtually come to a standstill. When you have only fifteen seconds to reach a bomb shelter, many have preferred to leave their homes and kibbutzim and seek refuge further to the North.
Even if the war were over, there is still considerable anxiety as to how many Hamas tunnels still remain undiscovered only to be used to attack Israel’s civilian population at a later time. No one wants to live and bring up a family under such conditions.
While Operation Protective Edge may have uncovered and destroyed tunnels, rocket launchers, arms caches and weapons workshops, there is a feeling that there is much that is still left undone. No less than 73% of Israelis believe that Israel’s power of deterrence has been damaged rather than strengthened by this war, which is far from over.
In a thought provoking article today, Shahar Ilan, who is far from being a Right-winger, argues that we should recognize that the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005 had failed and that the time had now come for soul searching.
“When the war is over, the Left and the Centre will have to do some intensive soul searching and formulate peace initiatives that are appropriate for the Palestinians we have rather than for those we would prefer to have.
“Just as we expect the Right not to be messianic and not to rely on prayers and miracles when it comes to Israel’s fate, so we too must demand of ourselves that we be rational.
“The entire peace process will have to ensure that the Islamic Movement will never, but never, assume power along our borders. True, it’s not easy to come to terms with the fact that our enemies are so problematic, but nobody chooses his enemies.”