The Israelstreet Post-Mortem on the Israel-Hamas War (Part 1)

UPDATES 9:00 am Israel time, Monday, August 11 2014:

As of this this morning, we are exactly back to where we were before the Israel-Hamas war started.  This time we have a 72 hour “temporary” ceasefire–the 7th ceasefire so far–but for all intents and purposes, it is probably a “permanent ceasefire” this time.

What does a “permanent ceasefire” mean? It means that southern Israel, especially the Gaza border communities in the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon regions will almost immediately continue receiving regular missile and mortar fire at a rate of 2 or 3 per day (perhaps even by this afternoon or tomorrow) adding up to 10-15 per week.

Absurdly, for PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and IDF Head Benny Gantz, 10-15 missiles and mortars per week is a “reasonable” number and means that “quiet” has been returned to the South, again. But what is different this time, is that many residents of the South will not be moving back to their homes–and will, in fact, be moving on to other locations in and out of the country. 

Your humble servant is not going to angrily devolve again into how we in the South are completely disgusted with being in this situation again. But when we have a war come to an end like it did last night with yet another flurry of missiles easily flying out of Gaza in all directions in advance of the “ceasefire”and all of us in southern Israel running for our bomb shelters, we in the South realize that we will never be able to rely on the Netanyahu government to provide us with any security.

All told there were 29 launches of missiles by the terrorists in Gaza yesterday–involving 98 missiles. Apparently more tunnels were discovered, but since we have no more troops on the ground, the IAF was reduced ineffectively bombing them. Whatever else happens, Israel will not be sending soldiers into Gaza again–at least for two years.  

Israelstreet today reverts to our usual format of one set up updates and a main blog.


There are so many points to make about the current fiasco that your humble servant hardly knows where to begin, but today we will present Part 1 of 2.

1. Israel has awakened to a new reality this morning–the reality of permanent vulnerability. No matter where one lives in this country, everyone knows that we live our lives at the whim of terrorists in Gaza. If they decide to shoot at us, we must run to our bomb shelters; if they decide to shoot at Ben Gurion airport, we must suspend flights or close it down; if they decide to send terrorists through a tunnel to massacre us, we have to wonder if there will be any IDF soldiers around to protect us because we certainly do not know where the tunnels are.

2. The Netanyahu Security Cabinet is an unmitigated disaster that is hamstrung by indecision and political correctness. It is entirely a reflection of PM Netanyahu himself.

A.  For whatever reason, Netanyahu is wracked by indecision. To launch aerial strikes on Gaza or not?  To send soldiers into Gaza or not? To accept a ceasefire or not (7 times now)? To take soldiers out of Gaza or not? and on and on and on–with each decision taking days to form while Israeli citizens become missile and mortar fodder, and Israeli soldiers become sitting ducks.   

And by having a so-called “Security Cabinet” that consists of almost equally divided ideology, Netanyahu has guaranteed indecision. Bennett has his Livni; Leiberman has his Lapid; Erdan has his Aharonovitch . . . In the end, it always comes down to Ya’alon who will do whatever Netanyahu says, and Netanyahu who won’t say anything.

B. For whatever reason, Netanyahu is obsessed with what the international community thinks. On a daily basis, there may be some justification for this obsession, but in a war the situation is ridiculous. No one here in the South can understand how we can supply our enemy with electricity to launch the missiles at us, with laundered money to finance their terror operation, or with “humanitarian supplies” such as concrete, food, and water.

But worse than this, the continual starting and stopping of the IDF with ceasefire after unilateral ceasefire, undermined the wonderful momentum that the IDF had when ground troops entered Gaza.

3. The IDF General Command is an unmitigated disaster that is hamstrung by useless and outdated  military strategy.  The goals of the war were to stop the missile fire from Gaza and destroy all the tunnels running from Gaza into Israel.

Despite an overhelming edge in manpower and firepower, the IDF has not come close to accomplishing either.

A. At the outset of this war, the IDF (in conjunction with the Netanyahu Security Cabinet) announced that it would not try to eliminate the leaders of Hamas even though we knew exactly where they were bunkered, but would instead bomb their empty houses.

Bomb their empty houses? Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Ismail Haniyeh are billionaires courtesy of Qatar–and the rest of the Hamas leadership are multi-millionaires from the smuggling tunnels coming into Gaza. You can be sure, dear reader, that these men could care less if their homes are destroyed–it simply means that they will be rebuilt on grander, more palatial scales.

The IDF strategy from the beginning should have been to cut off the heads of the snake.

B. More than this, the IDF strategy of bombing empty buildings and open areas of land is pathetic. In essence, the strategy is merely an amplification of what took place under former Defense Minister Ehud Barak who first developed the deeply flawed “tactic” of bombing empty areas in so-called “responses” to missile fire on southern Israel and the infuriatingly passive and ineffective “silence will be met with silence” non-strategy.

Just this morning, Sami Turgeman head of the IDF Southern Command was crowing again about how southern Israelis should feel more secure because, according to Turgeman, Hamas infrastructure, including weapons production facilities and launching sites, have been significantly destroyed.

But here’s a news flash for Turgeman and the IDF: virtually all of Hamas weapons production and missile launching takes place underground–deep inside the “tunnels” (actually an underground city) that the IDF never reached. 

C. Why did the IDF never reach them? To begin with,  the IDF decided to rely on an aerial bombardment to accomplish its goals--even though aerial bombardments failed in the last war with Hezbollah and in the 2012 war with Hamas.

Why aerial bombardments?  Because the IDF has a distinct and potentially fatal vulnerability that Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorists in the region do not possess. Simply put, we are afraid to lose soldiers. Once the death toll started mounting, it was clear that the land operation was doomed. 

And when the land operation ground to a halt so did any hope of ferreting out the tunnels and eliminating Hamas’ weapons supply. 

Tomorrow, we move on to part 2.





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