Israel has won

Nobody should be fooled by Hamas’ shouts and shoots for “victory”, followed, in the last few hours, by the sneers of terrorists all around the world. In 1967, when the Six-Day War ended, Egypt was crying victory after a memorable defeat. Hamas has lost and Israel has won, not only through the use of a valiant army, people which fought with their hands tied, but also through the spirit which animates it.

Israel has won because Hamas did not achieve any significant advantage: on the contrary, some of its top leaders were killed, its weapons stockpiles have been devastated, most of its tunnels have been destroyed; Gaza suffered very serious damage, lost a great number of citizens, and ultimately simply accepted the Egyptian proposal Israel had accepted from the start, that is to negotiate only after the ceasefire. A large part of Abu Mazen’s power in Gaza’s territory comes, or so it seems, from his control over border crossings; Hamas is isolated in the Arab world: only Qatar and Turkey are still on its side, while an alliance of moderates inclined to draw closer to Jerusalem’s positions is being established.

On the other hand, Israel suffered very limited damages on its territory. Its extraordinary ability to defend its citizens’ lives has won: although its territory has been hit by four thousand five hundred missiles, only six Israeli citizens were killed. People have been saved by an amazing protection system intended to protect every human life in every house through bomb shelters and, from the sky, through the precious anti-missile system “KipatBarzel” (Iron Dome).

Despite the asymmetrical warfare where Hamas used its elderly or sick citizens, women and particularly children as human shields and cannon fodder, Israel’s army kept a restrained attitude, always looking for containment and never for revenge, even though Hamas was keeping on firing rockets and violating truces, together with every rule of war.

Israel, hit by a wave of disinformation and slander that infected Europe with anti-Semitic demonstrations, used ground forces with great moderation; the losing of sixty-four soldiers was caused, in the majority of cases, by deceitful and cowardly means, with soldiers being lured into explosive traps or kidnappings being carried out using terrorists’ tunnels. The country did mourn those dead soldiers, one by one, for what they actually were: young men full of life’s expectations, full of talents which are now unfortunately lost, as their parents said in tears, funeral after funeral, never uttering a single word of hate, always remembering their sons’ lives, their hope and love for their country as a democratic and peaceful homeland.

Hamas can get drunk with shootings and victory announcements, but its slogan remains the one enunciated over and over during this war: “We love death more than you love life”. Israel’s philosophy is just the opposite, and its patience, its acceptance of truces, its ability to resist something no other people would tolerate, with hope in the future, all of this makes it the only reliable stronghold against the wave of jihadist terrorism which Hamas is part of.

The image that bestrepresents Hamas is the one with the hooded men who executed eighteen Palestinians, no face them too, and no trial, no mercy, kneeling in the middle of the road. The one for Israel shows a teacher with one of the children from her kindergarten. They are standing in front of the ruins of their school, which was destroyed by a rocket, and she tells him: “You are right, the school ‘has gone boom’, but now we are going to rebuild it more beautiful than ever”.

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.