August 7, 2014

In Blog


How will Israel deal with Hamas’ secret weapon?

Unless Israel completes the aerial attacks and ground fighting with a diplomatic move, all its achievements will be endangered.

By Ari Shavit Aug. 7, 2014 | 6:00 AM |  1
Indian protesters

Indian protesters burn Netanyahu and Obama in effigy. Photo by AFP
In the July war Hamas fired 3,356 rockets at Israel, some of them short range, some long range, some medium range. But the most dangerous rocket Hamas launched in Operation Protective Edge was the 3,357th one. This invisible rocket was intercontinental. It struck hard at Israel’s most important support bases in five continents. It reached every home in America, caused huge damage in every European state and brought its deadly cargo even to South America, East Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Iron Dome failed to intercept the secret rocket. The air force did not succeed in diverting the destructive arrow head from its course. Neither the government nor the army knew how to block the blow that this rocket delivered toIsrael’s strategic home front. They allowed the terrible sights of dead children, bombarded schools and shattered mosques to hand Hamas the biggest achievement – creeping delegitimization of Israel.

We should not be confused. Israel was and remains in the right in this awful war. Hamas is a fascist organization, which attacked the neighboring democracy without justification, in a criminal attempt to kill Israeli citizens and cause the deaths of Palestinian residents. Israel did its best not to be embroiled in the violent struggle and to reduce to a minimum the harm to innocents during its course. So there’s no room for moral comparison between the two entities – one of them is moral and enlightened, the other tyrannical and murderous.

But, regrettably, Hamas planned the campaign and prepared for it better than Israel in certain ways. It developed a malicious strategy intended to make Israel implement its terrifying power against itself. Since Israel had no decisive intelligence, it acted as Hamas expected it to act – it implemented its fire power in a way that harmed its international image.

Hamas cannot operate long distance intercontinental rockets, but by the ingenuous use it made of the IDF’s planes, rockets, guns and mortars – it struck the IDF on every television set in the United States.

Hamas created a distorted image of Israel in the minds of billions worldwide. Now, after searing us with a deep image burn, it will try to completely disrupt our shaky relationships with advanced America and reasonable Europe. It will try to write another Goldstone report and generate a third Durban Conference and drag our best people to The Hague. Hamas will probably not fire any more rockets at Ashkelon and Ashdod, but will use its secret rocket to try to turn us into what we’re not – South Africa.

So Operation Protective Edge is not over. The next few weeks will determine the campaign’s final result. While the top brass boast, justly, of Iron Dome and bombarding the tunnels, it’s clear today that Israel has no diplomatic Iron Dome and the Palestinians are digging a strategic attack tunnel under its international status.

Israel’s real Achilles heel is the gap in ideology and outlook between it and its Western allies. This gap has never been as deep as it is today, in view of Gaza’s horrific destruction. So Benjamin Netanyahu’s role is to do now what he hasn’t done in the past – initiate a Marshall plan that will rehabilitate the Gaza Strip and formulate a strategic plan that will rehabilitate the peace process. He must also show generosity.

Unless we complete the aerial attack and the ground fighting with a diplomatic move, we will endanger all our achievements. With our own hands we might grant Hamas the victory that has so far eluded it.