Next week the Security Cabinet will discuss schemes that would allow Hamas and the other groups in the Gaza Strip continue doing literally everything and anything in preparation to attack Israel at a time and place of their choosing.
Yes. Anything and everything.
Sure, we will dutifully add military sites we manage to identify to our ever growing target bank. But we won’t destroy any of them except within the framework of some tit-for-tat exchange of fire.
And even then we might avoid destroying really important sites in order to prevent having a tit-for-tat exchange get out of hand.
To date, for example, we have apparently yet to destroy any site in our target bank associated with the longer range rockets that can reach Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport, and beyond.
It is extremely difficult to assess what capabilities Hamas and the others may develop under a quiet for quiet arrangement extended over a number of years.
So far we’ve done a miserable job assessing their capabilities. We only realized they had rockets that could reach Tel Aviv when they actually launched them and we were clueless what Hamas could do with the tunnels.
I frankly fear that the projections of the potential costs of quiet for quiet are being tailored to support it.
Gaza is not Lebanon.
We talk about evacuating the population near Lebanon in the even of war.
There’s too many people within range of Gaza.
And a huge number of strategic sites: ports, industrial facilities, military facilities etc.
If you took five smart Israeli reserve officers and gave them a month to plan what they would prepare to do if they were running Hamas and had three years of quiet for quiet they would come up with a program that would stun everyone.
Can we afford to be so smug as to assume that Hamas can’t put together and execute a similar program?
A reminder: there is absolutely no guaranty who or what will be in power in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or Saudi Arabia three years from now.
We could find ourselves facing a multi-front nightmare with Gaza serving as a strategic forward position in a battle to destroy the Jewish State.
Quiet may indeed be a nice thing for a couple of years.
But can we afford to pay the potential price?