The Events in Israel and Gaza – A Reaction
What does Hamas want to achieve by sending over one thousand rockets into Israel? It knows Israel has an “Iron Dome” shield that intercepts those rockets and destroys them in mid-air. So far not one Israeli has been killed.
It knows that eventually Israel will enter Gaza and destroy whatever little is left of the infrastructure. It knows Israel will respond with air attacks that will kill many Palestinians. Among them little children. Not that Israel aims to do so. Hamas is using the children as a human shield. Hamas knows Israel is powerful and that it cannot overcome the Jewish State. None of this is secret. None of this is unknown. So why do it?
Because the more Palestinians are killed, the stronger are the emotions; and then the more the Palestinian people will vote for Hamas. The more they will vote for those who supposedly will seek revenge for the death of their children, brothers, and daughters…
And Hamas sees to it that the suffering of the children, that the number of casualties is broadcast as widely as possible. But Hamas has another reason for upping the ante, beyond staying in power.
The pictures stop us from breathing. Our blood boils with anger that it is happening. I believe there is a strategy here: Hamas knows it cannot defeat Israel by itself. But if the whole world turns against Israel, if the world isolates Israel first culturally then economically, and eventually refuses to sell armaments to Israel, the isolation will cause many Israeli citizens to leave the country.
It is not a far-fetched idea. Thousands of Israelis have already taken foreign passports. They are entitled to them because they were originally born abroad. Israel is a country of immigrants.
So, who is winning this war? Hamas, I believe.
On the surface, of course, it looks as if Israel is winning. There are 300 Palestinians dead. Israel has five casualties so far. Buildings in Gaza are destroyed. Tunnels are shut off. Fewer missiles are being fired into Israel. But it looks that way if you count casualties and missiles fired as the measurement of success.
I believe that is not how Hamas looks at it. The more children killed, and the more wounded children are shown on TV, the stronger the anti-Israeli sentiment around the world becomes. And the stronger is Hamas’ political position in Gaza. That is what their political leaders aim to achieve.
These days’ wars are fought less with guns and more with TV cameras. Israel may be winning the battle but losing the war. But what else can Israel do?
The government had to do something to stop the missile attacks. It would have been irresponsible if it did not act. It would have been voted out of power in no time. But how do you fight an enemy that is not frightened of death? That celebrates the death of their children because they died as martyrs and went to heaven. How do you fight an enemy that wants you to kill as many of their people as possible? Hamas has put the launching sites in hospitals and schools. Doing its best to maximize civilian casualties; the more children, the better.
Could Hamas be so cynical? Put its own people in harm’s way?
It is not that rare. There are precedents in history. There have been earlier leaders with an ideology, a dream, and vision, for which they were willing to sacrifice their own people. Hitler did it. Stalin did it. Napoleon did it. A whole generation of young French men died for him to achieve his vision of the French Empire. Milosevic did it. So did the Croat and the Bosnian leaders in 1991. And, as we speak, is not Assad killing hundreds of thousands of his own people in order to stay in power?
In the case of Hamas, they have one more excuse for their action. Those that die for the cause go to heaven. They are martyrs. So the sacrifice is not a real sacrifice. Dying provides a prize, a reward.
In my opinion, Hamas is calling the shots and Israel is reacting. Responding exactly how Hamas wants it to react. And in doing so, in the long run, Israel is losing the war. Could something else be done?
I believe there are intelligent people in Gaza who realize what is happening. But they cannot speak. Cannot stop what is going on and start negotiating with Israel to reach peace. Gaza could be an incredible economic success. It has gorgeous beaches. A cheap labor force; an intelligent and well educated population. But these people cannot reverse the flood of hate and destruction provoked by Hamas. Because like all totalitarian regimes, opposition is cruelly silenced in Gaza.
Hamas came to power democratically; they were elected. Now they silence any dissenting voice and destroy democracy. Hitler functioned the same way.
In Israel, many people want to stop the endless ongoing war that constantly requires human sacrifice. They are demonstrating, asking for “peace now.” But nothing is happening. In their despair, the population is becoming increasingly belligerent. Emotions are taking over. Hate is more powerful than reason.
But, presumably if Israel had stopped construction in the West Bank none of this would have happened. Do you believe it?
Presumably if Israel would remove the settlers and allow the Palestinian state to emerge, there would be no Palestinian aggression.
Maybe, but most Israelis do not believe it. They believe Palestinians want them dead and the sooner, the better. The memories of the Holocaust are still fresh in people’s mind and the slogan “never again” is not an empty phrase.
There is no trust in the Middle East. The prevailing belief is that only power works. Where does it lead?
To the destruction of both nations. Analyze the history of the conflict. It is getting worse and worse. It is like a frog in boiling water. The heat only increases.
Can this disaster be reversed? I doubt it. Not by Kerry or whoever comes after him. It is a scenario that has to play to its end. And I fear that it will eventually become a tragedy studied as part of history for generations to come.
My sister lives in Israel. My nephews. My cousins and their children. Some are serving in the army. Some are right now fighting in Gaza. My best friends. The loves of my life.
I am deeply worried about the future of the Jewish homeland. For the Jewish people who choose to live there. For the Palestinians who lost their homes. Who have no future for their children, and whose suffering is heartbreaking.
The situation is not good, and the future looks even worse.
I pray to God that I am wrong.
Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes