The current governing coalition, which is Israel’s most right-wing government ever, does little more than the so-called left-wing governments. Now and then it makes some noise, but nothing more.
The Palestinians always find an excuse to disturb our peace, be it the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount during Ramadan or, more recently, the death of a Palestinian terror convict after an 83-day hunger strike. That’s why Islamic Jihad launched over 100 rockets at Israel. The Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip is keeping a low profile for political reasons and is sending in its terrorist colleagues. A number of things have been developing in recent months that cannot be ignored and are reinforcing this trend. Like a few days ago when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was received in Damascus. The last Iranian president to make that trip was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 13 years earlier.
Everyone knows Iran is behind it. Tehran sees Israel’s weak spot and attacks on four different fronts: southern Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel is responding on these fronts, but only just enough to bring some calm. This hurts Israel’s already shaky deterrence. Even if Palestinian prisoner and jihadist terrorist Khader Adnan had not died in Israeli prison, Iran, in consultation with Hamas or Hezbollah, would have found another reason to attack Israel.
The Arab mind thinks in terms of cause and consequence. “You don’t see the offensive, proactive and cunning Israel, and that is Israel’s biggest hole in our defense strategy,” Middle East expert Zvi Yehezkeli once said. If the goal is rest, we buy rest for another two weeks, but no more. Others call this “conflict management,” a term that has been associated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for years. Instead of solving the problem, the conflict is managed. In its current form, Israel is not capable of resolving the conflict.
Israel’s targeted retaliatory attacks in Gaza in response to the rocket attacks are not helping Israel’s deterrence. As I have already written several times: Israel has to rethink, but unfortunately something bad has to happen in the country for this to happen. Without that, no one in government and the security cabinet will change course. True, on some points Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir is absolutely correct in saying that Israel must intervene more severely. But the thing is, no one really takes this rabble-rouse seriously. Sometimes it takes a bit less shouting and a bit more tact to get your point across.
Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Miki Zohar, declared that there was only one solution to the endless rocket attacks in the south: recapturing the Gaza Strip. “The Gaza Strip must be liberated from the Hamas regime and demilitarized. After that, the strip has to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority,” the minister said. “There is no other solution, we all understand that. The question is when we will do it and whether or not we will do it in accordance with Hamas dictates.” His words surprised many in the country, as Zohar is one of the more dovish ministers in the coalition. But he also said what we all understand. The army, on the other hand, warns that it will requires the lives of hundreds of soldiers to reconquer Gaza, and a majority of Israelis are unwilling to pay that price. And so things will continue as they have in recent years, regardless of who governs the country, the left or the right.
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