Ceasefire, winners & losers.

As we move in to yet another ceasefire I can’t help thinking that only in Israel can winners also be losers. And that losing can be very dangerous…

How can Israel accept a ceasefire an hour after a citizen is killed by Hamas rockets, others critically injured forcing paramedics to give emergency care under rocket fire (another died of his wounds a few hours later)? Paramedics had to dodge missiles to get to the wounded and treat them while being bombarded with missiles. Struggling to prevent the wounded from bleeding to death, they were repeatedly interrupted – over and over they had to hit the ground in hope that the missiles exploding all around them wouldn’t hit them or re-injure the wounded. The wounded and dead were evacuated under fire. Then, one hour later Israel was told that yes, now there is a ceasefire.

Can you imagine 1 missile in your country? In a single day Israel was hit with 182 missiles. After 50 days of bombardment, thousands of missiles and other attacks. And then Hamas says they are willing to stop.

Thanks a lot.

Hamas leaders crawled out of their holes, bleating that they won, they beat Israel. Middle Eastern logic says that the last man standing wins, (even if his arms are cut off and his eyes are gouged out) so to them, not being destroyed by Israel means they won.

The suffering of the people of Gaza means nothing to Hamas. To them, having no infrastructure and no ability to rebuild without charity from other nations is meaningless.  In fact the opposite is true. Images of suffering people, they have learned, help them get exactly what they want… particularly if Israel can be blamed.

Hamas is still standing but severely weakened. We are told that they no longer have the power to rule Gaza on their own and will need the assistance of an external country that can condition financial support on Hamas’s good behavior. If political pressure can prevent Hamas terror that would be a good thing… Israelis do not want to have to fight, the question is – will this work?

The IDF has eliminated much of the Hamas military and strategic strength – attack tunnels destroyed, weapons caches found and destroyed, leaders and numerous fighters killed. But they are still standing. Hamas has not given up their demands, they only agreed to a break in fighting. Ceasefire does not mean peace, it only means stopping to fire for a while. It doesn’t even include weapons being put down much less “beaten in to plowshares”.

Each and every one of the goals defined by the Israeli government at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge were met. All the tasks given the IDF were completed successfully.

Hamas is still standing only because Israel has not decided otherwise.

Israelis see the IDF’s actions not only as victory against terrorists but also a moral victory in the face of heinous abuse and war crimes committed by Hamas – against Israeli civilians and against the residents of Gaza. To us it is disgusting and reprehensible that the supposed leaders of a society advocate using women, children and mentally handicapped as human shields. The lack of respect for life goes against every grain in our society… Around the world many (who have not studied the facts) accuse and blame Israel but we know the truth. Israel has won a clear cut moral victory and has mountains of evidence to prove it. It doesn’t really matter what people around the world say, we insist on maintaining the moral high ground for ourselves, not so that others will like us or give their approval.

Israel achieved exactly what the government planned. Hamas accepted a ceasefire without attaining their stated goals. So who won?

Our victory will be a peaceful future for our children...
Our victory will be a peaceful future for our children…

The Western mindset says, of course Israel won. The powerful country continued her daily activities while under attack. Military action was kept to a minimum in order to minimize casualties and avoid being drawn into a sweeping military operation. Israel proved that the IDF can destroy Hamas terror infrastructure and could have wiped out the organization had they decided to do so. The IDF clearly targeted Hamas terrorists and their weapons and not civilian residents of Gaza to the point where Gazans learned it is a good idea to adhere to IDF instructions and neighboring Arab countries began blaming Hamas for endangering innocent people in Gaza. Israel and neighboring Arab countries are cooperating in unprecedented ways as many are beginning to see that it is no longer an issue of the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, it is a conflict between jihadists and people who want to live modern, western-style lives. Egypt is, once again, a stabilizing factor in the region. These are all important accomplishments.

The problem is that Israel is in the Middle East. Here it is the Middle Eastern mentality that counts, not the Western mindset. It is popular to say that everyone is the same and has the same ideals and desires but this is simply not true (Hamas explains this well in their statement: “As Israel loves life, we love death.”).

What has Hamas learned?

They attacked Israel and survived. They sent millions scuttling to bomb shelters. Thousands of Israelis evacuated their homes because of the Hamas threat. Their few fighters managed to scare the goliath Israel, teaching all Israelis that no one is safe. 70 Israelis were killed, hundreds wounded. Homes and businesses were damaged, the economy badly hit. Air travel was threatened due to attacks on Israel’s international airport. They proved that the “resistance” still exists, giving those that prefer terror to negotiations an avenue to channel their hopes and desires.  Glorious accomplishments!

Hamas never expected to win. On the other hand, it seems that what they achieved is a step towards actualizing their dreams of annihilating Israel. They attacked and survived. They will live to fight another day. This is their version of winning.

Worse, Hamas can be considered a test case. Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Islamic State and Iran are watching and learning…

Hamas still has missiles. Hezbollah has many more and theirs are more powerful and longer range.

IDF destroyed all the Hamas tunnels they found. What about the tunnels they didn’t find? The idea of using tunnels to fight came from Hezbollah. Israelis in the north of country have reported hearing digging sounds under their homes and people looking across the border have seen trucks moving large piles of earth. It’s not a question if there are tunnels, it is a question of how far they have already dug and finding them before it is too late.

A day after the ceasefire was announced “rebels” (Al Qaeda and their affiliates) captured the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and Israel.  Supposedly “stray” fire has seriously injured an IDF officer in Israel.

Israel’s reaction to attacks on her people, violation of borders, war crimes etc. are carefully scrutinized. The choices made by our government may seem rational, calculated and right. We know that they have information the general public does not. And that the pressures put on them by the world, particularly Mr. Obama have a significant effect. It is just as easy to see their choices as dangerous and irrational considering the “neighborhood” we live in.

The winners seem the loser, the losers are the winners. Maybe. Or maybe not.

The one thing I do know for sure is that a ceasefire isn’t peace. It is only a temporary cessation of fire, a break in the fighting. There is more to come…

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