With careful timing the government has decided to deal with the missile threat from Gaza in the same futile way as so many times before: First by executing a dramatic and successful opening blow, followed by a low to mid intensity aerial campaign executed with maximum care and now a measured crawl towards a negotiated agreement using the good services of the Egyptian government. One could, conceivably ask if this could not have been done without the preceding military action since, after all, Hamas in Gaza is most likely painfully aware of Israel’s capabilities and the new government in Egypt almost certainly would have lent a hand.
The answer to this question is likely to be found in the realm of election politics. Elections are close and to the detriment of the ruling coalition in the polls, the public has been rather agitated over a long term erosion of social services, working conditions and salaries. There was an urgent need to remind them what the real issues are: We live in a bad neighborhood. Yes, the people in the South know and feel it almost daily but they are already, by and large committed to Likud-Beiteinu. Now the rest of the country has to be reminded that this is a dangerous place and we must be governed by a strong, forceful government whose only aim is to protect the citizens (and get reelected). The economy be damned. Passing ruthless budget cuts in the Knesset will be a lot easier when the public is grateful for the protection provided by the military.
The targeted killing of Achmad Jabari stirred an already active hornet’s nest and certainly did the job. Hamas’ response sent more than one million citizens in the center of the country into shelters – what a great reminder. We need a strong government. We need protection. We need missile defence. We need targeted killings. We need resolve. Netanyahu and Lieberman at your service. What a cool arrangement – the government does what has to be done, what actually should and could have been done long ago and possibly without the use of force, gets the support of the loyal opposition, reminds everybody who is doing all this great protecting and cashes in on election day, only to perpetuate the same useless policies. Hey, it works !!
Let’s hope that the public won’t buy it. Not this time, not ever.