Jonathan Zausmer

Precipitous Edge

There are three parts to this narrative. One is how we got to the precipitous edge. The second is, now that we stare into the abyss, how we proceed. The third part is where we are headed.

The urgent matter to be addressed however is not how we got here. And as to where we are headed, is a matter to be discussed and planned but at this time it remains an azimuth for the current way through the labyrinth.

Right now, the question is how to proceed.

This article will not discuss the countless opportunities thrown away by the Netanyahu government, nor the skewed peace process based on prisoner release rather than the common-sense solution of a settlement freeze, nor the absurd and wild agenda cynically driven on the back of three innocent boys. It will also not take us into the long-term future, which clearly must present an arc for hope and peace.

This article will deal with the here and now.

At this time and for several weeks in growing intensity, the Hamas regime in Gaza has been targeting Israeli civilians with rockets on the basis of a premeditated plan to kill, wound and maim as many people as possible. For those who posit that these rockets are no more than comical sewage pipes and cannot be matched by a nuclear Israel, my answer is come to Southern Israel and when the siren sounds, rather than huddle into a shelter go outside and wait for the explosion. My bet is that you will scurry into the protected zone. So much for crude pipes with some dynamite. In the second intifada, more than one bus was forced off the road by terrorists, killing many people in the ensuing disasters. So a bus, a plane as we all know and yes, also pipes aimed in parabolic precision and filled with explosives and shards aimed to kill, can be fatal.

The use of rockets has been refined considerably. Tens of thousands have been fired over Israel for more than ten years, and during each crisis, more capability has been achieved. Today, the entire state of Israel is under attack from Gaza, ranging from Beersheba in the South to Nahariyah in the North and Jerusalem in the East. If there is another war in the future, no doubt Hamas’s precision will be more accurate, explosive drones may be deployed and the threat will grow.

It is possible, that in El Paso, that may go down well. I doubt it though. It is possible that in London, people may simply say that frustrated immigrants easily incited by their mullahs due to wide discrimination, are driven to violence. Judging by reactions to 7/7, I doubt it though.

Here in Israel we are faced with a Hamas regime whose prime and single motivation is to destroy the state of Israel and the people within it. Its core philosophy within its charter is to establish universal Islamic supremacy. Its underlying written charter is racist. Its leaders hallow the memory of Bin Laden. Its leaders celebrate the abduction and death of the three kidnapped children, even though it now appears, they were not aware of the localized messy plan forged in Hebron at the time. The regime is a police state in every respect. Within that regime, people live and work and do the best they can as they would in North Korea or Iran or Syria. They are the victims who always pay the greatest price.

For Israel, it is intolerable to allow the current situation to continue. In the light of complete refusal by the Hamas regime to stop the onslaught, to reach compromise and who hold only their eternal “myway” as the highway not many options are left. Previous shaky cease-fires have ended in worse confrontation at a later time. An “arrangement” based even on a ten year cease-fire will clearly end explosively, and likewise after twenty years or more.

We are thus in a state of all-out war. All-out war means victory or nothing. It means death, horror and destruction. It means that those societies deemed as civilized are under the human rights microscope while others deemed patronizingly uncivilized such as Syria or the DRC or Sudan or for that matter Hamas, are basically ignored and continue vast abuse on a vast scale unchecked. It means that large powers such as Russia got away with the death of 100,000 in the Chechniyan war and that most people don’t know about it. All this does not preclude the clear necessity now arising for Israel to put an end to the Hamas regime or demilitarize it. The latter, I believe will only be achieved by the former. Neither negotiation, nor temporary compromise nor half a million UN troops (presuming such a thing exists, which it doesn’t) can do this.

My thinking is that this time, the government of Israel will not back down. To those who theorize that a national movement of liberation cannot be suppressed I refer you to what I believe to be a seminal piece of journalism written by Sever Plotzker in 2008. The axiom that terrorism cannot be suppressed by force was thoroughly disproved in the second intifada. And since then, one need only to refer to the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, one of the fiercest terrorist organizations in modern times, in the space of less than a month in 2009 by Sri Lanka.

We are in for the long haul here. Hamas will be disempowered. Whether by the application of force alone or, hopefully by diplomatic intervention derivative of that force. There will be blood. And as we say in Hebric “Allah Istor”



About the Author
Originally from South Africa, Jonathan made aliya in the seventies, and lived and worked on a kibbutz for several years. He has a graduate degree in business from Boston University and is a managing partner of an Israeli based business. He was a co-founder of the Forum Tzora peace action group and participates in the Geneva Initiative workshops. He is the author of the book “Valley of Heaven and Earth”.