If you want to know how short it was, let me tell you about my son. Last Saturday morning he was a happy tourist in Crete. In the evening he flew to Israel and quickly packed a bag. On Sunday he was in Gaza. Well, near Gaza. In uniform. On Monday, he was beginning to look forward to going home.
Operation Breaking Dawn in Gaza started and ended in three days. Last Sunday night it was over, and if you didn’t notice it, or if you’ve already forgotten about it, you shouldn’t feel guilty. Most Israelis have also forgotten that now. And hopefully most Gazans have it too (a note of caution: I’m writing this on Tuesday – and it’s still true unless the ceasefire doesn’t hold.
Why was it necessary? The short answer is simple: Because when it comes to Gaza, once in a while there is no choice but to send a reminder that Israel is watching. The longer answer is somewhat boring: because Islamic Jihad was going to launch an attack on the Israelis and Israel decided to anticipate the attack – and counterattack.
It was a decisive success, and it was short, and therefore the list of victims is also short. No Israelis were seriously injured and the number of Palestinians killed is relatively low. By the way, most of them – including children – were killed by duds of Islamic Jihad operatives. Gaza terrorists killed Gazans, then US lawmakers saved Gazans. Yes, US lawmakers. Not the progressives who continue to hammer Israel for everything it does, but rather the moderates and conservatives who have the wisdom to fund Iron Dome. Thanks to Iron Dome, no Israelis were killed during Breaking Dawn. Thanks to Iron Dome, few Gazans have been killed by Israel. When Israelis are not killed, the government is not under pressure, the army is not under pressure, and a military operation can be carried out with calm and serenity. It saves lives, including lives in Gaza.
Politicians and workers may return to normal, but Gaza remains. This is not just an unresolved challenge; it remains a challenge for which no one seems to have any idea of a solution.
By Monday morning, the operation was over and politicians were back at work trying to score points as Election Day approached. In Gaza, workers whose livelihoods depend on access to workplaces in Israel were also preparing to return to normal. It’s the normalcy between military eruptions, because neither Israelis nor Palestinians assume that Breaking Dawn was the last violent conflict in Gaza. Politicians and workers may return to normal, but Gaza remains. This is not just an unresolved challenge; it remains a challenge for which no one seems to have any idea of a solution.
Try to imagine the future of Gaza – is there a way for you to have hope for its future? Try any “what if” scenario that comes to mind. Can you think of something that is both realistic and optimistic? Hamas clings to power, Israel has no intention of returning to Gaza, Egypt is ready to mediate but does not take responsibility for Gaza, the Palestinian Authority is too weak and incompetent to take control of Gaza and the international community has disinterested, and for good reason. There are bigger, more pressing issues to worry about (like the world war over Taiwan), and there are equally big issues where taking action could make a difference (like food shortages in South Africa). ‘East). Gaza is a problem from hell: not urgent enough to be the first priority, not simple enough to be resolved as a secondary priority.
A few weeks ago, before the operation, I visited the home of historian Anita Shapira for a long interview about books and ideas. She’s an 82-year-old sage of Zionist and Israeli history, and at one point in our interview she said she hopes “one day” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will come to a conclusion. “Can you imagine how this is going to turn out?” I asked him. “No,” she said. She can not. You’re a historian, I reminded her, as if she needed a reminder, so you know that often times such conflicts don’t end until disaster strikes. “Yes, that’s true,” she said. Then she started talking about the expulsions of ethnic Germans from former German territories transferred to Poland, Russia and Czechoslovakia after World War II. And don’t get me wrong. Shapira was not suggesting that expulsion was the way to go. She hinted that there is a great danger that tragedy is the way to go.
Something I wrote in Hebrew
In preparation for the Likud and Labor primaries that took place earlier this week, I wrote this:
Next week we will talk about the primaries. We will talk about it much more than necessary. The political system produces exciting events, and the media echoes these events. What is their real importance? Less than a Maccabi Haifa football match against the Belgrade team that will decide whether Haifa reaches the Champions League. It seems to me that it is quite clear what is more exciting. On the one hand, Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League, on the other, MK Naama Lazimi in fourth, fifth or sixth place in the Labor primaries. No one cares except close friends and family.
One week figures
All eyes should be on this chart: Whether the Netanyahu bloc (Likud, Religious Zionists, Shas, UTJ) comes in at 61 is the most important question in the fifth round, and it’s a close call.
Response from a reader:
Dan Elgar wrote, “I found your description of Israeli polarization very disturbing.” My answer: Same.
Shmuel Rosner is a political editor. For more analysis of Israeli and international politics, visit Rosner’s domain at jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain.