UPDATES 7 pm Israel time Saturday:
*There is a new report today that the Iranian ship carrying weapons that the Egyptians supposedly stopped in the Red Sea two days ago (and which was reported on this blog) was in fact an Israeli ship bound for Togo.
*Thus far, today has been relatively calmer in Judea and Samaria. There have been fewer reports of “rock” and Molotov cocktail attacks. Part of this “calmness” is undoubtedly because there is less reportage coming out of Judea and Samaria on Shabbat.
|Terrorist Event||Army Response||What IDF Tells the Media|
|Mortar or qassam hits empty space: no casualities||IAF drops bomb on "smuggling tunnel" w/o verifying in people inside of not||"Hamas cannot be expected to control every event in Gaza"|
|Mortar or qassam hits Sderot. Grad hits near Ashkelon. A few mortars/missiles hit "empty" spaces.||IAF blows up empty weapons warehouses making sure no one is inside.||"We will not go to extremes because that is what Hamas wants" (send in former IDF commanders in the south to praise the IDF)|
|Mortars/missiles cause injuries in Gaza region or to IDF soldiers close to the border||IDF attempts to kill a "mid-level" terrorist commander, IAF hits Hamas buildings--after verifying that no one is inside and that no important documents are inside.||"Hamas must be criticized; we will react to every hit without being bullies" (our limited reaction shows that we are in control)|
|More than 30 missiles hit southern Israel per day||IAF bombs empty buildings in Gaza, tries to cause "a lot of smoke", tries to hit two or three launchers everyday.||Talk about what actions the IDF has taken, describe casualties inflicted on Hamas, provide pictures of drones and Iron Dome in action to media|
|Massive shooting of missiles in southern Israel; schools closed||IDF tries to kill one Hamas leader, hits 3 to 4 launchers, blows up buildings to produce "a lot of smoke", threatens Hamas with ground invasion with reservists but starts negotiations with Hamas immediately so that ground invasion is not necessary||Talk about "victory" (especially if small number of Israeli casualties); talk about frustration of Hamas because of Iron Dome; do not talk about involvement of Egyptians in negotiations|
[Please disregard the peculiar heading and footer on this graph; this blog server is eccentric in “table” format.]
Yesterday, this blog published the above document that Ehud Barak handed over to Moshe Ya’alon last month as Barak exited the Defense Ministry. The document describes in some detail the process that the IDF has been using to “respond” to mortar and missile fire from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.
This document has received no notice whatsoever in the Israeli media. And while it is on the surface shocking, the document confirms what all of us in the south always knew while Ehud Barak was “defense” minister: namely, that the IDF General Staff displays crass indifference to the men, women, and children of the Israeli border communities who have been virtually living in their bomb shelters.
Let’s take a few minutes today to explore what the document says.
First, notice that there is no recognition of the massive emotional trauma caused by the continuing mortar and qassam fire. Between 25% and 50% of all those living along the Gaza border now suffer from PTSD–children at a greater percentage of the rest of the population. The IDF does not seem to have any problem with families having to run to bomb shelters at all hours of the day and night as long as no “physical injuries” are suffered.
Second, notice the extraordinary fear that the IDF has of Hamas. Even if mortars and missiles hit Sderot or Ashkelon (in small numbers)–and even cause injuries to civilians and soldiers, the IAF must make sure that no Hamas terrorist is inside “weapons warehouses” or “Hamas” governmental buildings before those warehouses and buildings are bombed. The specific order to the IAF in these circumstances is to hit “empty buildings.” Unbelievable—but everybody in the south has known this all along–the IAF always bombs empty spaces and empty buildings, and Hamas always crows that none of their “members” has been wounded.
Third, notice how providing excuses for Hamas has become ingrained in the IDF media routine: “Hamas cannot be expected to control every event in Gaza.”
Fourth, notice how political correctness has infected every aspect of IDF response: “we will react to every hit without being bullies.”
Fifth, notice how the IDF now relies on smoke and threats instead of actual action. The IDF seems to think that if the Israeli public sees “a lot of smoke” it will be happy with what the IDF is doing. More than this, the IDF seems to think that if it threatens Hamas with a ground invasion, it can force Hamas to stop firing mortars and missiles. Of course, the IDF is wrong on both counts. The Israeli public, particularly in the south, doesn’t buy the smoke and mirrors and routine, and Hamas has long since figured out the absurdity of Israeli bluffing.
Finally, in the coming weeks and months–when more mortars and missiles fall (by the way, Hamas reports that it fired missiles at southern Israel this morning)–remember the above chart, and feel the absolute disgust that we in the Israeli south feel over the lack of IDF response to Hamas terrorism.
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