There is nothing wrong with being critical of one’s government during a time of crisis. Quite the contrary, properly directed criticism and public pressure can be a positive force in national decision making.
As I type these words, while listening to yet another red alert warning (Let’s see who it is this time. Ah yes, Hof Ashkelon, again), I too wonder what exactly is in the minds of our leadership as we begin pulling forces from Gaza.
However, unlike certain Knesset members and government ministers, I am not yet willing to lash out at our national leadership on the unfolding events in Gaza until we get a clearer picture of exactly what is going on. It is not yet clear that a troop withdrawal or redeployment is not the right thing to do at this stage of the operation.
The stated goal of the ground operation was to destroy the parts of the Gazan tunnel network that were capable of being used for offensive purposes against Israel, particularly those that crossed into Israeli territory. If that goal has indeed been achieved, and there is no new goal that cannot be achieved by air and artillery power, then a force redeployment is the logical next step.
My personal view is that we should indeed be moving into a withdrawal of forces from the strip, followed by a lengthy targeted assassination campaign of Hamas leadership and a continued heavy bombardment campaign against terror targets in the strip. Hamas cares about one thing and one thing only, its own survival and continued control of Gaza, and that is the one thing that Israel has not threatened to take from them.
If the Israeli government continues its air and artillery campaign against rocket launching/storage sites and terror dens, as well as launching a targeted campaign against the Hamas leadership, then in my own admittedly limited estimation, they would be doing the right thing.
If, on the other hand, our government has decided to end the offensive part of operation and return to “tit for tat” reprisal attacks, then they have made a grave error.
If you’re like me though, you don’t currently have a seat on the security cabinet. That means that you just don’t have enough information to know which of the two outlined realities we are dealing with. And so, I would humbly suggest that we all (except for Tzahal) hold our fire until we get a clearer picture of what is happening right now. We’ll know how to react soon enough.