If ever you needed an example of how misguided appeasement inevitably makes a situation worse, the current terror from Gaza is the perfect proof…writes Michael Kuttner.
Like a festering wound which band-aids and other weak palliative measures fail to heal, Gaza and Hezbollah controlled Lebanon have over the last few years amassed more rockets and offensive weaponry than most conventional armies. This build-up of lethal armaments in the hands of terror groups is designed and intended for only one purpose. They make no secret of their ultimate objective which is the destruction of Israel and the indiscriminate murder of its citizens.
How one can justifiably ask, did this scandalous situation evolve, who is responsible and why was nothing done to prevent it? Moreover, now that we have arrived at this critical juncture what belated steps are being undertaken to rectify the mess we face?
The answer to these questions does not require a genius to work out. In short order the blame lies fairly and squarely with our elected politicians, officials tasked with carrying out policies and of course the international community represented by the United Nations and its associated bodies.
The failure of our political leadership spans many years and encompasses various political parties of the left, centre and right. All of them without exception have been loud when it comes to trumpeting their own non-achievements but silent when their lack of direction produces catastrophic results. Nothing exemplifies this better than the spectacle of previous Prime Ministers and Cabinet colleagues claiming glorious triumphs after previous efforts to subdue terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon. Agreeing to premature ceasefires before the job has been finished and caving in to demands from those who peddle double standards has resulted in disaster. All our “experts” fell into the trap of believing that UN resolutions would ensure a demilitarized and defanged Gaza and south Lebanon.
Instead, the terror groups concerned could hardly believe their luck and used the period of quiet to rebuild, rearm and reorganize. Touting the subsequent cessation of rocket barrages as some sort of victory our ego tripping politicians waxed eloquently about how they had achieved “peace” and tranquillity. Unfortunately, this illusion lauded by sections of the media glossed over the fact that our enemies had been presented with an internationally sanctioned carte blanche to prepare for the next deadlier round.
Not only did we hesitate to complete the job of entirely destroying the terror network we also engaged in “gestures” which according to their proponents would avoid “humanitarian” disasters and guarantee grateful reciprocal expressions of peace and love. Therefore despite foreign donor funds being utilized for the construction of terror tunnels and rockets, our wonderful politicians sanctioned the transfer of millions of dollars sent from Qatar to Hamas so that they could “pay their employees.” Despite the fact these people were engaged in planning and developing further lethal methods to murder us and using the electricity we provided to do so, our decision makers nevertheless flung open the gates and facilitated the daily transfer of goods and services. Any deprivation suffered by those living in Gaza is as a result of deliberate policies carried out by the rulers of that territory. Never in recorded history has a nation targeted for elimination and murder provided the wherewithal to its enemies enabling them to carry out their objectives.
Not removing the instigators and gang leaders from the scene has given them the brazen audacity to flaunt their evil intentions. Instead of making their lives hell we have let them parade around and incite the masses to further violence.
One would think given everything that has transpired, lessons would have been learnt and steps taken to rectify deficient past policies. It is not as though the international community has suddenly seen the light. The Russian Ambassador to Israel encapsulates the continuing hypocrisy when in a statement the other day he confirmed that Russia does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization “because it is part of Palestinian society.” Ironically he admits that our “peace” partners are part of the problem and not the solution, something most level-headed Israelis knew a long time ago but which still seems to escape the logic of our leftist elites. This was vividly demonstrated when in reaction to a reported comment by the PM that there is no diplomatic solution to Gazan terror the leader of the Labour Party berated him and insisted that we should be negotiating with the PA. The fact that Abbas pays murderers of Israelis is seemingly irrelevant and lays bare the idiocy of many of our elected representatives.
As nearly 500 rockets slam into Israeli communities in the latest round of terror from Gaza we are fated to repeat the same mistakes. With the task of eliminating terror and its perpetrators nowhere near started let alone completed once again a fake ceasefire has been entered into. Bombing empty buildings after we warned those inside to vacate them is no way to eliminate terrorists nor is the issuing of meaningless threats which are derisively ignored. Once again we have failed to achieve the return of the bodies of our kidnapped soldiers and civilians still held hostage. Hamas gambles that external pressures will force Israel to stop and that electricity, fuel and cash will once again flow freely into Gaza. That is how umpteen previous ceasefires have ended.
No wonder the residents of the south are furious and fuming over yet another sellout. After months of arson during which no effective steps were taken, months of tire burning on the border which has caused environmental pollution on a huge scale and the almost daily infiltration of the border area they have had enough. As past ceasefires have proven any interim quiet is merely a façade for the restocking of rockets and preparation for the next round of terror.
Netanyahu has miscalculated this time and the political roosters are now coming home to roost. The Defence Minister and his Party have defected and are likely to be followed by the Jewish Home Party as well. The coalition is unravelling and elections are likely to be held early in 2019. No amount of spin will be able to obscure the hard fact that Hamas and its friends Hezbollah in Lebanon need to be totally taken out if peace and tranquillity are ever to be achieved.
Caving in to the hypocritical chorus of the international choir is no longer an option. Holding the residents of the south and north and in effect, the whole country hostage to the murderous ambitions of terror groups is no longer acceptable to the majority of Israelis. Living under the shadow of hundreds of thousands of missiles aimed in our direction is intolerable.
Huffing and puffing empty threats is a failed policy. The current mess could have been avoided if decisive action had been taken years ago when it first appeared.
Like every problem kicked down the road, hard decisions delayed only multiply menacingly.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.