There has not been such unity of purpose in Israel in more than forty years.
That unity of purpose in Israel stems from the current intolerable situation which finds one million Israeli citizens who now hunker in their homes and shelters, ready to run for their lives in the few seconds that they have when a siren warns that a Gaza rocket has been fired in their direction.
The people in Israel demand an end to that Gaza rocket threat. That is why polls show an overwhelming 85% of Israel’s population who demand a total military victory in the Gaza war.
Over the past three weeks, Gazans suffered hard blows – Indeed, the Gaza army of 20,000 lost at least 500 of its best fighting men – yet the Gaza army remains in tact.
The Israeli military operation leaves much work to be done.
Yet the Israeli prime minister and defense minister convened a press conference on Saturday night, to announce that Israel would declare a self-imposed cease-fire and enlist the world to stop future arms for Gaza, without uttering one word about disarming Gaza – leaving Gazans to pounce on Israel once again.
The unkindest cut of all came the next day, when the head of Israeli intelligence told the Israeli cabinet that it would only take the Gazans another two months to develop new ways to import new weapons.
Even worse, Israel’s self-imposed cease-fire occurred without the return of the one POW in the hands of Hamas, without control over the smuggling routes from Egypt, and without the disarmament of Israel’s most lethal adversaries
It therefore came as no surprise that after the Israeli government declared its unilateral ceasefire on Saturday, that Gazans fired 17 times into Israeli civilian communities on Sunday.
Contrary to the illusion that Israel is only at war with a terror group, and not with the Palestinian population, it is that very terror group which was chosen by the Palestinian people in Gaza AND in the west bank in the January 2006 elections that were encouraged and overseen by the American government.
What that means is that one people is fighting another people. For the first time in Israel’s sixty year war for independence, the Jewish state faces an enemy that is embedded in a genuinely popular movement.
That contrasts with 1948 until 1973, when Israel fought off totalitarian states.
That contrasts with 1974 until 2004, when Israel coped with a terrorist outfit operated by a corrupt pedofile.
Israel now copes with Islamic movements who operate with a popular power base, from Hizbullah to Hamas.
Israel must now cope with a civilian army that operates under the cover of a civilian population which has also trained combatants among women and school children.
In this war, it will not be enough for Israel to defeat those who are formally defined as fighters.
Sadly, this reality conflicts with solid advice given to Israel by PR people who advise Israel to always project an image of peace and reconciliation
Yet any Israeli cessation of hostilities with an ideological adversary will find still find that adversary at war.
There is no greater tenacity than the tenacity of a people who are ready to sacrifice thousands of their people in order to defeat another people.
The lesson of World War II is that when a nation wants to achieve peace with a fanatic ideologue, it must insist on total victory and unconditional surrender – and not rely on the wishful thinking of a unilateral cease fire, under the illusion that other side would stop fighting because of heavy casualties.