Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Israel Should Just Say No to a Ceasefire

As I right this, it's just been officially announced that Israel has rejected the ceasefire terms from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.  It's thought that this rejection is temporary as Hillary Clinton has just arrived in Tel Aviv and will likely be able to get Israel to agree.  I'm writing this with the hope that they don't allow themselves to be bullied.

I know that a ceasefire would be welcomed by many Israelis who are currently living in fear, for themselves and their loved ones in the military.  I share some of that feeling myself as I have a number of relatives in the IDF currently and even more currently worried for their safety, whether they will openly admit it or not.  However, I think that from a logical standpoint, a ceasefire would be the exact wrong thing to agree to right now and Israel needs to finish the operation that it started.  Anything else grants Hamas a victory as well as the ability to fight another day, when it will be even more ready than it is now.

It's also very clear that both Hamas and Islamic Jihad are DESPERATE to have a cease fire signed as soon as possible.  How can I tell?  Because they publicly scheduled a press conference with Egyptian President Morsi before one was agreed to and kept telling people that an agreement was coming very soon.  I think they were trying to create a groundswell that would effectively "deem" a ceasefire a fait accompli no matter what the exact Israeli demands were and whether they were met.  Israel would just be too wary of looking like a warmonger not to agree to one.  Luckily, the gambit hasn't worked.  Yet.  We'll see what threats Hillary Clinton uses against the Jewish state to coax them into laying down their arms.

If Hamas and Islamic Jihad (as well as Egypt, Turkey and the Obama administration) are so desperate to have a ceasefire, doesn't that tell you that one is just not in Israel's interests?  That it should just press on because it has those genocidal terrorists on the ropes?  A ceasefire at this time would be bad for a number of reasons:

1.  It would allow Hamas and Islamic Jihad to rearm and regroup.  After all those targeted assassinations and attacks on communications networks, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are probably in relative disarray.  That would quickly go away as any terrorist can always be replaced and communications networks can be rebuilt.

2.  It would further improve Hamas' standing relative to Fatah.  Now, I'm no lover of Fatah but they are fat, corrupt and lazy terrorists, who I find preferable to the more crazy and radical Hamas.  The fact that Fatah has been almost completely silent while Hamas has faced the brunt of Israeli military power will not be lost on the Palestinian populace.  Neither will the fact that, once again, Hamas will have survived such an encounter while taking shots at both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

3.  It will erode Israeli deterrence further.  Hamas has launched hundreds of rockets, including some at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and all that happens are some airstrikes?  And then the international community shuts it down before Israel actually does anything meaningful?  Seems like a process that would incentivize Hamas to do this again, over and over in fact.  Haven't the million Israelis who have had to run into bunkers for much of this year, suffered enough?  Don't they deserve a definitive solution?  Or are they supposed to continue being 15 seconds from a shelter as the status quo is reinforced?  This entire operation could be a relatively huge waste of time.  It started out nice, a bit of shock and awe that erased a key Hamas military figure from human existence.  That would have been a great time for some blitzkreig tactics, while Hamas was organizationally in disarray.  But instead, there was a lot of waiting around.  And the rockets keep coming.  If the ceasefire is agreed to, what exactly will have been achieved?  Nothing.  Millions of lives affected, an economy disrupted and absolutely nothing achieved.

4.  I seem to remember an IDF that played to win, now they seem to play to tie.  Or are just going through the motions.  If I am thinking that, other people are too.  That would be disastrous for Israel longer term.  A ceasefire will only make the IDF look unserious, at least in comparison to its former self.  IDF of the Six Day War, of Entebbe, of the Suez Crossing in 1973. Not the Israeli army that was sitting in the shade in the 2nd Lebanon war waiting for orders that never came.

So am I suggesting a ground invasion?  I would want everything to be done to avoid one.  I think the assassinations should become more aggressive.  I think that no building, be it mosque or hospital should be spared if it houses terrorists.  Any terrorists that they spare will only cost Israeli lives down the line and protecting Israelis is the primary responsibility of the Israeli government.  I'd rather have some bad press rather than a ground invasion because some weapons or terrorists couldn't have been taken out because of their proximity to civilians.  And finally, how about a complete embargo of all supplies into Gaza.  No more humanitarian aid.  No more water. No more food.  No more electricity.  Again, I prefer bad press to a ground invasion.  Then, if Hamas refuses to comply with Israeli demands after all that, then there should be a ground invasion to completely obliterate Hamas and all their arms.

Look, I do understand the desire for peace.  But if Israelis want to live in Israel, they will just have to fight for it, the neighborhood is only getting tougher.  They simply have no other choice.  Otherwise they should just move to New Jersey and forget about the promised land.

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