Gaza Operations: For Naught for Lack of Will to Win?

       



   


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Commentary:

The two editorials beneath say it all about the lack of will to win and lack of clearly defined objectives, goals and day-after plans by a corrupt political governance across the board which won’t let the IDF win — including Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, etc. .

In this context, Moshe Feiglin has written and spoken repeatedly;

If Israel cannot define a real goal for this war, it cannot win. All the IDF’s professionalism and the arduous training with which the new Chief of Staff has equipped the army are ineffective if Israel’s leaders cannot define the goal of the fighting. He who cannot define the goal cannot win. And if you can’t win – it is best not to start fighting. And if you have started fighting nevertheless, you quickly find yourself entrenched in the heart of Gaza in the worst of all positions: You can’t win; if you retreat you admit another defeat and a stalemate turns your soldiers into easy targets for kidnappers, suicide bombers and hate-filled murderers.

And why can’t Israel define her goals in this war, as it was also unable to in the Lebanon conflict 2 1/2 years ago? The answer seems to be that the current Israeli governance, out of all touch with Jewish Torah spiritual and historical context and perspective, is ill-equipped to deal with the day-after, the implications of winning — the fundamental, unalterable Jewish truth — that Gaza, that Yehuda and the Shomron, that the Golan are ours, Divinely designated as integral parts of the Jewish legacy; Eretz Yisrael. Such principle is totally alien to the Oslo defeatist mindset and regimentation of elitist “state of all its people” dogma. (MB)

Editorial: On the Way to Defeat (Israel National News)

Excerpts;

Operation “Cast Lead” seems about to turn into a classic Israeli military experience: Victory on the battlefield, defeat in the war. Israel’s dailies sport headlines claiming “Ceasefire is Imminent” and “We’ve Won for Sure!” How ironic. This juvenile, premature celebration illustrates how little Israel’s elites—journalists, commentators and especially its political leaders—understand what defeating the enemy requires, or that it is necessary to defeat him at all.

The objective of the present military operation is to put an end to the flow of arms to Hamas. Israel is unlikely to realize this objective because nobody really wants Israel to achieve it—and that includes Israel itself. Ending the flow of arms to Hamas means, at the very least, permanently blockading the southern border of the Gaza Strip. If Israel lacks the will to do so, it’s unreasonable to expect some other country to risk a future confrontation with Hamas and volunteer to do the job in Israel’s place.

The Egyptians and the Turks will promise to block the flow of arms into Gaza across the Philadelphi corridor. Hamas will promise a long term “tahadiyya”—truce—before, concurrently with, or after Israel’s withdrawal, it matters little, so long as Israel goes. As soon as Israel agrees, it will, of course, cease shooting. The rest of the cease-fire package will promptly begin to unravel.

Hamas has been hurt badly by “Cast Lead”—but, it has survived. Its morale is beginning to recover, as demonstrated by Thursday morning’s coordinated rocket salvo against Israel—and Hamas’ morale is the key factor in this whole war. The IDF continues to operate in Gaza and to kill terrorists, but has not done anything during the past ten days to change the balance of power between the two sides. Hamas cannot be unaware of the signals coming out of Israel: The quarrels among its top leadership, united in nothing but a deep desire to end the Gaza operation and get out as soon as possible. Hamas’ objective now is to keep on surviving, to buy time and let time work in its favor. It can afford to hang tough; indeed, it has no other choice.

Here’s how things are likely to develop: While negotiations over an international monitoring regime for the Philadelphi corridor drag on inconclusively, tractors and tunnel excavating devices will emerge from Rafiah to reopen the tunnel mouths sealed by Israeli bombs. Hamas will reestablish uneasy control over the local population—after all, it still has weapons and is not about to hold free and fair elections by secret ballot. The Egyptians may hate and fear Hamas, but for that very reason they will once again turn a blind eye to weapons smuggling into Gaza once it is clear that Hamas has survived the war. Hamas and its allies within Egypt, the Moslem Brotherhood, can hurt the Egyptian regime far worse than Israel can. Once stationary, the IDF’s forces in Gaza will become the target of sniping and terror attacks, ceasefire notwithstanding.

Once the smuggling into Gaza resumes without the IDF being able to do anything about it (short of breaking the ceasefire and going back to war), time will begin to run out on the IDF’s presence in Gaza. Pressure will mount to withdraw the troops. Israeli public opinion will become Hamas’ ally, as it was in the run up to the skedaddle from Lebanon in 2000. Sooner or later, rockets will start falling on Israel again.

In his monumental work On War, the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz wrote:

“The aim of warfare is to disarm the enemy… If the enemy is to be coerced you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of that situation must not of course be merely transient. Otherwise the enemy would not give in but would wait for things to improve.”

Disarming the enemy in this war means, at the very least, establishing a permanent Israeli presence in the southern part of the Gaza Strip and establishing an airtight blockade of the Hamas terror regime. Decisive victory entails physically cutting off the smuggling routes for arms into Gaza, and preventing the entry of anything but the minimal food, fuel and medicine required by the population—nothing that might serve for the manufacture of weapons. Achieving this objective… requires a strong political will.

The underlying reason for Israel’s incipient defeat in Gaza lies in the unwillingness of Israel’s political leadership to fight and win. From the start, Israel’s objective has been to “restore deterrence”—to frighten the enemy rather than to prevent him physically from attacking us. The very fact that Israel’s leadership thinks in terms of “deterrence” rather than compulsion shows the large gap in political willpower between them and our adversaries in Gaza. If Hamas hangs tough, if it refuses to be deterred, it matters little that its fighting ability has been damaged for the present. It will be back.

Refusing to Win, by Daniel Doron (Jerusalem Post)

Excerpts;

Imagine that at the outbreak of World War II RAF bombers had managed to bomb Berlin by surprise and inflict enormous material damage, but had deliberately refused to hit sites that housed top Nazi brass. Imagine that only after several days of bombing, the British finally attacked the German headquarters, after warning of the impending attack.

How would the British public have reacted?

How would it have reacted if its government willfully missed the chance to kill many Nazi leaders? Would it have accepted the explanation that every leader can be replaced, that one must warn enemy leaders of a planned attack to prevent hitting innocent neighbors? Wouldn’t the killing of many Nazi leaders shorten the war, it would probably ask. Is it not moral to save hundreds of thousands of lives and prevent the terrible suffering of a prolonged war even if this requires hurting some innocent civilians?

Such questions were not raised in Israel. Only after three days of bombing did the IAF finally bomb Hamas headquarters, and it took 16 days before it bombed the residence of Hamas’s top commander. This country did not exploit the surprise it achieved to kill as many top Hamas commanders as possible (just as in the past it has neglected to do so) – even though this would have most likely led to the collapse of its war machine and shortened the war.

Exploiting the surprise of the attack to the fullest would have also made unnecessary the land incursion and the many casualties it involves. Hamas could be destroyed as an effective war machine by simply killing or chasing away, in short order, many of those who operate its war machine. When we forgo such effective action, we are forced to take other, less effective actions, such as massive closures and bombardments and prolonged land incursions. These cause much greater humanitarian damage without securing victory.

SO WHY is our government so reluctant to win? Some claim that politicians become more risk averse on the eve of elections. Others blame sharp internal divisions, confusion and lack of determination that inflict the unholy trinity governing the country. Still others claim that leaders who believe that “peace must be made with enemies” make sure they survive so as to have “partners” for a deal after “teaching them a lesson.” Finally there are those who claim that a crushing victory will be a great embarrassment to our leaders. “If victory was possible,” the public will say, “why did you wait almost eight years before liberating us from Hamas’s terror?”

There is a kernel of truth in these explanations. But every terrible mess in Israel originates in “a conception.” Against all historical evidence, and against common sense, most leaders, egged on by the media, have sold themselves on the conception that “there are no wars in existence anymore that can be won like the wars of yore” (as stated by a headline to a special Ma’ariv supplement “Not By Force” preaching against seeking victory); in other words that “terror cannot be vanquished by force.”

This is nonsense, of course. Almost every terrorist movement was vanquished by force, from the 11th century Assassins to the 1936 Arab Revolt, from the post World War II communist insurrections in Greece or Malaya to terrors groups in Italy, Germany, Japan, etc.

It is also absurd to claim that the IDF, which is supposed to fight several Arab armies simultaneously, cannot vanquish a ragtag guerrilla force of 20,000 fighters lacking armor or airpower. The IDF cannot win only if – like in Lebanon – it fights without a clear plan for victory and under a leadership that does not enable it to win.

The goal of the “plan” annunciated by the Olmert-Barak-Livni government is “to stop the firing of Kassams from Gaza and to stop the smuggling of war materiel into it” (not, God forbid, to win a decisive victory over Hamas). It is based on relying on the Egyptians to stop the huge volume of arms smuggled from the Sinai into Gaza.

IT SEEMS likely that Egypt does not want an Iranian- controlled Hamas, and that it therefore welcomed Israel’s beating Hamas enough to make it seek Egyptian protection again. But Egypt will do all it can to prevent us from finally vanquishing Hamas. Since Egypt has realized that its chances of beating us by direct military confrontation are not great, it has used Hamas for a proxy war of attrition, as the Syrians do with Hizbullah. Egypt hopes to gradually bleed us to death and then get rid of us when an opportunity arises.

This is why Egypt resisted all efforts to make it stop the massive arming of Hamas (does anyone still believe that moving thousands of tons of war material and digging hundreds of smuggling tunnels could take place without Egyptian cooperation?) and this is why it will rehabilitate Hamas once Israel accepts a truce, so that Hamas will be able to resume bleeding us, albeit more cautiously.

Since our war against Hamas – an Iranian proxy – is part of the worldwide war against terror, our failure to vanquish Hamas will also have grave repercussions for the stability of Egypt and Jordan, besides negatively affecting our deterrent capacity and international standing.

The upshot is that if you do not seek victory in war you become the loser, even if the spin doctors convince you, like they did during the Lebanon war, that defeat is actually victory.

Related reports, commentaries:

[Justice Minister] Daniel Friedmann: Any Gaza Agreement Must Include Schalit’s Release [and What about Jonathan Pollard?? MB]

Politics Start Spilling Out of War Room, By Herb Leinon (Jerusalem Post)

What Constitutes a ‘Victory?’, by David Horowitz (Jerusalem Post)

Will IDF Withdraw With or Without Shalit?, by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (Israel National News)

Fighters’ Jewish Spirit Returns (Israel National News)

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