Rulers take refuge under dome

March 13, 2012
Sarah Benton

War in Israel’s south will not defeat Gaza terror

Was it really necessary, after a long period of calm, to embroil Israel in a war that paralyzes the lives of a million civilians?

Haaretz Editorial

The war in the south has introduced a new, illus[ory] item to the conventional statistics of casualties and fatalities. The technological wonder Iron Dome has become, justly, the hero of the hour. The cause for the war has become marginal and the central index for success or failure is now the number of missiles the Israel Defense Forces intercepts.

But was it really necessary, after a long period of calm, to embroil Israel in a war that paralyzes the lives of a million civilians? Is the assassination of the Popular Resistance Committees’ secretary general worth the disruption the state is undergoing? Worth the economic damage, the halt of studies and, especially, the danger of plunging into a military ground operation in Gaza?

On the face of it, the chronology is in Israel’s favor. The defense minister’s version is: “This round began with killing Zuhair al-Qaissi, one of the Popular Committees’ leaders, who were apparently involved with preparing a large-scale attack. I cannot say yet whether this attack has been thwarted.”

If indeed we’re dealing with a “ticking bomb,” there’s no argument it had to be defused. But Ehud Barak is not sure this is the case, and it is not clear if the attack itself has been thwarted. In this situation, one may well ask whether all the consequences of killing al-Qaissi had been taken into account. Even more critical, wasn’t the killing an excuse for a much wider offensive – in view of the chief of staff’s statement from a few weeks back, that Israel will ultimately have to carry out a wide-scale attack in Gaza?

The people living in the south have understood, as they are always forced “to understand,” the implications of the war against terror in Gaza. Now it is the decision makers’ turn to understand that Iron Dome is not a substitute for policy making or, better yet, freedom from making policies.

The war in the south must end immediately. It will not defeat terror nor reduce the Gaza threat. The notion that a wide-scale operation, like Cast Lead, will create a long-term change is also an illusion.

The solution is elsewhere, around the negotiation table, from which the government is seeking refuge under Iron Dome.

Some 200 rockets hit Israel since start of latest Gaza escalation

The Israel Air Force carried out 37 airstrikes in Gaza, 26 Palestinians have been killed as a result of strikes since Friday; Chief of Staff Gantz: IDF will stop activities when Gaza rockets stop; Barak: Iron Dome has proved itself.

By Gili Cohen , Reuters and DPA

Nearly 200 rockets have exploded in Israeli territory since the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza broke out on Friday.

Responding to rocket fire, the Israel Air Force carried out 37 airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, 19 strikes targeted rocket-launchers and 18 targeted weapons warehouses in response to rocket attacks.

26 Palestinians were killed as a result of IAF strikes on Gaza. Out of these 22 were militants and 4 were civilians who were in the area of IAF strikes, but were not involved in the rocket fire.

Overnight Monday, Israel and militant factions in the Gaza Strip reportedly agreed to an Egyptian-mediated truce to end four days of cross-border violence, but on Tuesday morning, five mortar shells were fired toward southern Israel. They exploded in open areas and there were no reported casualties.

Speaking on Tuesday morning at a Kfir Brigade recruitment ceremony, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that the civilian deaths were the result of Gaza militants operating in civilian areas.

“This is because the enemy operates in civilian areas,” he said, adding that the IDF does not use force without cause, and that, depending on developments, “we will know when to use force when it is needed.”

“We are following developments in the South, and we will see in the coming hours whether the terrorist organizations stop the fire, and then the IDF will stop its activities accordingly,” Gantz said.

“It’s not over till it’s over. Quiet will be met with quiet, and fire will be met with fire,” he said.

The chief of staff said there is still a danger that a terror cell can carry out a “strategic” attack against Israel, adding that, “all of Israel is under a potential threat.”

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