We can understand why Israel doesn’t want to engage in another confrontation and it is a good thing it doesn’t. Another confrontation will lead to the predetermined stages of rockets launched on the southern and central areas of Israel, destruction in the Gaza Strip, many deaths and countless demonstrations around the world against “Israel’s war crimes.”
In the past, international pressure on the street and in the media forced Israel to agree to a cease-fire. The goal of eliminating Hamas’s infrastructure was not achieved, but Israel was portrayed as a country committing war crimes. The same will happen next time. So what for?
We can assume that this is one of the reasons why on Tuesday Israel announced the closure, at least in part, of the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
It is the easiest and most available thing to do. But it is also the worst thing to do. Does anyone up there think that the kite launchers or their launchers will be frightened or deterred? Do they think that the launchers’ goal was to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza? There are already countless reports about the crisis, with fingers pointing to Israel more than to Hamas. It’s annoying, but that’s where we’re at. Hamas defeats Israel in the propaganda war. And what does Israel do? It gives Hamas more weapons of propaganda.
On Tuesday, immediately after the Israeli announcement, Hamas issued a statement on “the silence of the world in light of Israel’s war crimes.” Not that it was ever difficult to blame Israel, but yesterday it was much easier.
Yours truly have already received phone calls from media agencies around the globe. They all want an explanation. I’m sorry, but I do not have a good explanation. After all, the Palestinians, they say, are only flying kites, and Israel, the eighth most powerful country in the world, according to The 2018 Best Countries report and rankings published this week, weighs heavily on Gaza residents.
Hamas sends greetings. That’s what he wanted. That’s what he got. And therein lies the problem. Instead of taking another step that only has negligible effects—the arson attacks will continue—a dramatic offer could have been made to the residents of Gaza and Hamas: Prosperity for demilitarization. Everything, including a seaport, the removal of the blockade of the Gaza Strip (and those who want can also throw in a car for each worker), in return for the demilitarization of Gaza—welfare, labor, and education industries instead of rockets, tunnels, and death industries.
It was possible, even necessary, to recruit the European Union (which had already raised a similar idea) and the UN secretary-general to promote such an Israeli initiative, without having to wait for Trump’s peace initiative.
It is true that Hamas’ sworn supporters of the global left-wing-Jihad coalition would continue to demonstrate against Israel, but many others would understand that Hamas is the problem. If we think that international public opinion will understands this—we are sorely mistaken.
And no, this is not a futile proposal, since if Hamas says yes— Israel will benefit. And if Hamas says no—Israel will benefit again.
But conceptual deafness governs Israeli leadership in general, and Netanyahu in particular. His caution can be understood. He does not want another confrontation. His head is on the northern front facing Iran. But Hamas is leading us to an armed conflict, perhaps with Tehran’s guidance.
Instead of enlisting support for the next confrontation, Israel is doing everything in its power to ensure that the next confrontation will look just like the previous two—more destruction and more international hostility. And so, the time has come for an Israeli initiative. Instead, we took a self-defeating step.
Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News