There is talk once again of a ceasefire. I suggest Prime Minister Netanyahu go on National and International Television and say the following: We accept the ceasefire. However, we want everyone to know that this is the last time. If one more missile falls on Israeli’s soil, or if one more Israeli is attacked, we will end the war – and we will end this war by ending the Hamas rule in Gaza.
Last night I asked my lifetime friend and mentor, who lives on a Hashomer Hatzair Kibbutz in the South, what it means to be a leftist at time like this. His uncertain answer was the willingness to make sacrifices for peace. So, I guess I am still a leftist, but a leftist that believes the time has come to go all the way and overthrow Hamas regime in Gaza. Only if we overthrow this vicious, murderous regime will there ever be a chance for peace. I wrote an op-ed piece on this site, Our Choices in Gaza as the current war was beginning, that we had two choices: 1) Ignore Hamas and rely on Iron Dome to protect us, (my preferred solution), or 2) Go all the way and overthrow Hamas. Though I further stated my fear that half measures would be a disaster for Israel. Unfortunately, we have a Prime Minister who has been given very high marks for his steadiness, for not making rash decisions.
As a historian I can not help but remember a general in history who reminds me of Prime Minister Netanyahu. That person is Union General McClellan, who headed an army that was far superior to the Confederate army he faced. However, his failure to take decisive action, and his overall unwillingness to take risks resulted in Union defeats – and was ultimately responsible for extending the war much longer than it should have. While our situations are not the same, (e.g. McClellan did not have to worry about world opinion), Prime Minister Netanyahu’s failure to make decisive decisions will cost Israel dearly in the years ahead.
Hamas has declared war on Israel. We could have choosen to laugh at them and ignore them, but when we responded, we should have responded like a country going to war– and when you go to war your goal is to defeat your enemy. Yes, there is a chance that if we unseat Hamas something worse could take its place. Having patrolled in Gaza in the early 1980’s I do not think that it would be a good idea for us to end up reoccupying the Strip. Still, right now we have a government in Gaza who is continues to plan our destruction, and will take no less. Furthermore, that same government started a war with us. This war was not some sort of mistake. This war was not an event where both sides misjudged the other. This is a case where only one side has made misjudgments – and that is us. Our government and analysts repeatedly said that Hamas does not want a war. Well, they do. And if it’s a war they want, we should respond as if this is a war we go out and win. It is tragic that so many civilians are that word collateral damage, and seeing the pictures of the dead in Gaza is terrible. But our Prime Minister, in all of his caution, has wasted at least two weeks of world support amidst his indecision.
It may be too late to take the action needed. I surely hope it is not. I do not write these words lightly. Ringing in my ears is a conversation I had with a soldier who was wounded in this war. When we were discussing the options before us, he asked: “Is it worth 40-50 of us dying to make a point?” The answer to that question is, to make a point – No! Sadly, to change our strategic situation, I am afraid sacrifices will be needed and thinking of them brings me to tears. As someone on the Left, I know there is no choice of making peace, if our enemies know we might withdraw, and allow them to continue to fire. Our enemies must learn that if we withdraw, and they fire, they will lose power. They must knowif we withdraw it is not a sign of weakness – We must do what we have to do from a position of strength otherwise we have no future.