Criticism of the government’s handling of the Gaza war is reaching fever pitch. No one seems to understand what direction Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling them in vis-a-vis Hamas. And everyone is getting the feeling that the terrorists increasingly determine the flow of life in Israel.
Hundreds of families from the villages in the vicinity of Gaza protested what they said is the government’s failure to provide security in Israel’s southern regions. The sentiment, which is shared by Israelis across the country, is that the army pulled out of Gaza too early.
A number of cabinet ministers agree. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Gidon Saar advocated fully destroying the Hamas regime and its military infrastructure.
Yesterday, more than 40 rockets were fired at Israel. Although Israel insists it will not negotiate under fire, it nevertheless continues to agree to temporary ceasefires and is once again participating in talks in Cairo.
These repeated ceasefires have become a local joke, as everyone knows that Hamas does not intend to honor its side of the bargain. Israel agrees to these truces, only to be bombarded the very second they expire.
Israelis are taking exception to this bizarre reality. It simply cannot continue, they say.
The former head of the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency, Avi Dichter, said it was time to really defeat Hamas and its terrorist allies. “Hamas must be defeated militarily and the Gaza Strip be demilitarized,” he wrote.
Alex Fishman, a political commentator for Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, called the on-again-off-again negotiations in Cairo “a three-ring circus.”
Dan Margalit, who writes for the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom, said the prime minister needs to tell Egypt, Hamas and everyone “Enough!” Margalit recommended that Netanyahu finally inform the other players that this is the last temporary ceasefire Israel will join.
Israel’s government launched Operation Protective Edge (“resolute rock” in Hebrew) to defend the nation against Hamas. But the war demonstrated that it is the people of Israel, not the government, that is the true firm foundation of this nation.
It is rumored that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon want to push forward against Hamas. But their hesitation to do so is picked up upon by Israel’s enemies, who cynically make, and then break ceasefires.
But the people have no such hesitation, and have made clear, via the media and other channels, that the government has the backing of an overwhelming majority of Israelis to finish the job and eliminate Hamas.