Monday, December 08, 2008
The Qassam dilemma
Eitan Haber says it may be impossible to end Gaza rocket attacks once and for all
Published: 12.08.08, 00:42 / Israel Opinion
Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, and Gabi Ashkenazi are well aware of what needs to be done in the Gaza Strip in the wake of a weekend that saw some 20 Qassam rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel. As all of them are experienced military and political officials, they know that under no circumstances can we assume that as there were no casualties in the latest attacks, we can return to routine following this massive fire.
On the contrary, as opposed to members of the media and other people who claim to understand the issues, these three figures – as well as all IDF officials – must view the 20 Qassams as if they hit their targets and left casualties in their wake. This is how the IDF should be thinking; indeed, this is how IDF officials are thinking.
Well, if this is what they think, we should operate in line with this realization, one would imagine. Yet the opposite is true. Olmert, Barak, and Ashkenazi know well that a military operation in the Gaza Strip would not constitute the end; rather, it would merely constitute the beginning.
Therefore, as opposed to political leaders on the eve of the elections, these three figures do not rush into battle; rather, they weight their steps cautiously in order to ensure that we do not reach a situation whereby we pay a heavy price, without reaching our objectives. Or in other words, they seek to ensure that we do not pay with too much blood, and a day later watch the Qassams flying at Sderot, Ashkelon, and other Gaza-region communities. What would be the advantage of a military operation if this would be the "new" state of affairs?
And for the time being, the tens of thousands of Israelis living in the shadow of the Qassams are forced to cope with an unbearable life: They are trying to create a unique way of life between one Color Red anti-rocket alarm and another.
One needs to be particularly cold-hearted in order not to show understanding to their plight. They are waiting for the IDF, Olmert, Barak and Ashkenazi to solve the problem once and for all.
Yet this is the problem, summarized into four words: Once and for all? Even political magicians on the eve of elections, who forgot what they said yesterday and do not intend to deliver on what they will say tomorrow, won't dare pledge to bring about this "once and for all".
And so, we are still left facing this problem, hurting, and shaking our heads: What, in God's name, can we still do?