On the surface, Israel’s justified war of self-defense against Hamas terrorists has been successful. It has destroyed much of the tunnel infrastructure leading to attacks against innocent Israeli civilians along with much of the arsenal of rockets raining down on Israeli cities, particularly in the country’s south.
But with these successes comes a gnawing feeling that this war will inevitably lead to yet more armed conflicts between Israel and its enemies in the future. Here’s why:
Not long after the Netanyahu government launched its retaliatory defensive measures against Hamas’s incessant rocket attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself orchestrated a 6-2 security cabinet vote to halt the fighting. (Only Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett dissented.) With the dismantling of the aforementioned Hamas threat nowhere near its conclusion, Netanyahu gambled that Hamas would reject his offer to end the hostilities before suffering greater damage. Luckily, despite Israel’s aversion to partake in war, Hamas indeed rejected the overture - giving the Jewish state a renewed chance to fully debilitate the Hamas threat.
Netanyahu’s unwise gamble was generally overlooked by the pundits. But ponder for a moment the ramifications of a Hamas acceptance of Israel’s offer of an early cease-fire before Israel destroyed the Hamas threat. Israel’s opportunity to fully destroy the terrorist menace from Gaza would have been negated.
With more luck than resolve, Netanyahu continues to have the chance to destroy Hamas once and for all. Unfortunately, he persists in squandering that chance.
By returning time and again to the Egyptian-sponsored Israeli-Hamas indirect negotiations, almost without doubt due to pressure from Washington, Netanyahu does a disservice to Israel’s citizenry on two fronts.
First, by weakening but leaving Hamas standing, he delays - but doesn’t prevent - another war against the terror group. Since there is no possibility that Hamas will back down from its vow to destroy Israel, it will simply bide its time to regroup and fight the Jews another day.
(On this score, Netanyahu is modeling his “soft” policies after then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose indecisive war against Hizbullah in 2006 will permit that terrorist group to fight the Jews another day as well.)
Netanyahu’s second disservice to Israelis is his and his government’s gift to his nation’s enemies - the gift of being emboldened to fight Israel, a nation that inexplicably refuses to win a war by thoroughly defeating a beatable enemy.
The first lesson professional boxers learn is to knock out their opponents. In this fight, Benjamin Netanyahu should heed that lesson.