Marking the changes…writes Dr Ron Weiser

July 27, 2014 by Ron Weiser
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Even at this point it is possible to assess that this time a number of things have been different from what some people expected and to what happened in the past.

Dr Ron Weiser

Dr Ron Weiser

Of course some things have not changed at all – such as Hamas’ determination to attempt to terrorise and destroy all of Israel whether inside or outside the Green Line; and its continuing desire to maximize Palestinian suffering and casualties for public relations benefit.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “Here’s the difference between us. We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated what his critics have never been able to see, that rather than being an aggressive leader looking for a chance to retake Gaza or to harm Palestinians, he is as he has always been, a cautious leader very uneager to take large scale military action.

In November 2012 (Pillar of Defense) despite calling up reserves, PM Netanyahu did not send troops into Gaza unlike in Dec 2008 (Cast Lead) when Israel was led by the so called “dovish” Ehud Olmert.

The first major change this time was the ability of Hamas to launch so many rockets and with such a range so that virtually all of Israel was under attack.

In the first 10 days, Israel responded largely with aerial attacks – and make no mistake, these attacks, as in the past, were preceded by warnings no other army on earth has hereto employed to attempt to avoid civilian casualties on the other side.

Netanyahu was aided in this of course by the really miraculous success of Iron Dome – the second major change.

Iron Dome, paid for by the United States under the financial initiative of President Obama and an Israeli invention, has achieved many things including:

– the outright saving of life, of many many lives

– the strengthening of the belief that Israel can protect her citizens, with the consequent uplift in morale

– enabling Netanyahu the “luxury” of patience and caution

Iron Dome could also have avoided the necessity for the ground incursion had Hamas agreed to a ceasefire.

It is clear now that Hamas wanted to bring Israel into Gaza itself. This was done by not accepting the Egyptian cease fire – which Israel did – and with Hamas’ gross violation of the 2 humanitarian truces requested by Hamas itself.

Hamas was prepared for this ground operation and perhaps surprised Israel with its ability to continue to not only fire rockets, but to infiltrate Israel repeatedly via the incredibly extensive and sophisticated tunnel system.

A tunnel system largely built with Israeli and aid organization supplied concrete and materials that should have been used for the welfare of the Palestinians in Gaza.

A tunnel system that seems to have been gearing up for a multi pronged mega terror attack not too far down the track.

Another big change of course is the leadership in Egypt which is openly hostile to Hamas and has no interest in seeing Hamas survive with its operational abilities intact.

But it is not only Egypt.

The Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, individual Arab countries, the European Union, the United States and all western governments generally placed the blame squarely on Hamas and at least until the ground incursion, mostly praised Israel.

Of course yet another big change was the unity that initially appeared at the time of the kidnapping of those 3 poor boys Naftali (16 years old), Gilad (16) and Eyal (19) – the cry that was heard all over Israel that there was “no difference between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.”

The symbolism of these 2 cities is generally used to describe the divisions within Israeli society, not the unity, so it’s a powerful statement.

There was great unity of feeling over that atrocity – whether they wore kippot or not and whether they were kidnapped and murdered over the Green Line or not.

And this has continued in terms of the current war.

Unity is one of a democracy’s greatest strategic assets.

There is unity within Israel that this is a necessary war. That the sacrifices are necessary to avoid even great sacrifices in the future, that this is a moral war and that Israel is behaving – even with all of the ugly pictures – with maximum restraint and yes, with maximum respect for human life – no matter how willing Hamas is to sacrifice Gazans.

The Hamas leadership expressed its frustration when asking: “where is the Goldstone Report this time?????”.

This time extremist Jewish groups in Israel are not yet crying out for international pressure on Israel and this time Jewish funded Israeli Arab advocacy organisations are almost silent as well. For how long is the question.

This time groups like J-Street and others have been completely sidelined and exposed by Hamas for the unrealistic views they hold.

It is no longer pc for such groups to undermine Israel’s actions.

And this is a direct result of the unity of Israelis and of the way in which PM Netanyahu has managed the situation, possibly the best job he has done from virtually all aspects, in his entire career.

Notwithstanding all of the above, as the civilian death toll mounts, world pressure on Israel increases.

However it is clear that ultimately it will be Hamas who will determine when a cease fire will occur.

As I said previously, Hamas seems to have wanted to lure Israel into Gaza, the question is at what point in time will Hamas feel that the damage and suffering it has brought upon Gazans will be worth the price or be able to spin that it was?

Ridiculous and one sided resolutions such as that of the UNHRC last night is an example of precisely what Hamas is waiting for in the public relations arena.

It is to be hoped that this time some well meaning but naïve Jewish groups do not play into Hamas’ hand and join the Israel bashing brigade on the premise of humanitarian concerns.

Those really concerned for the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza, rather than looking for yet another excuse to attack Israel, need to place the blame where it belongs.

Hamas is directly and deliberately responsible for the civilian deaths – rarely have events been so blindingly clear.

Hamas does not want a truce as yet because it is hoping for world pressure on Israel, because it is hoping that the West Bank will ignite if they can continue the war and because they are still hoping to succeed with an event large enough to depress and demoralise Israelis.

In these time more than ever our thoughts and prayers are with those risking their lives on behalf of Jewish survival.

Israeli journalist David Horovitz put it into perspective when he wrote:

“Often, at times of conflict, Israel is preoccupied with how “the world” is reporting and understanding events. We are bitter that we are misrepresented — that the international community doesn’t realize we are defending ourselves against aggressors (rather than being the aggressors).

We’re frustrated about all that now too, but it’s not our preoccupation. For we find ourselves at war with an Islamic extremist group utterly committed to killing us, at whatever cost, delighting in the evil it wreaks upon us, indifferent to the devastation it brings down upon Gaza.

But far too much of Hamas’s capacity to do us harm remains intact. And it is relentlessly seeking to do us murderous harm. So what preoccupies us right now is one simple, essential imperative: to prevail.”

Ron Weiser is the Immediate Past President of the Zionist Federation of Australia and Hon Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW.



3 Responses to “Marking the changes…writes Dr Ron Weiser”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Speaking of advocacy groups outside Israel, did anybody see film of the ultra-orthodox Jews against Zionism in London a few days ago, demonstrating as a large, voluble group against the Israeli bombing and fighting in Gaza, praying for the Palestinians killed and calling for Israel to cease its military actions?!! How the media love it! What alien and distorted world do these idiots reside in?

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Lovely words Peter, but too many of them are way off track.

    Firstly, Gil’s comment. It is spot on. Purity of arms is pure BS, when that same purity is simultaneously turned against Jews and denied by enemies of Jews. Jews need to act ethically and lawfully for our own self-respect, but we are downright stupid for exceeding those constraints. And Israel is stupid as well for not clamping down on subversive Israeli media and not expelling journos who report hostile views instead of news. No country at war would tolerate hostile propaganda.

    And that takes me to your point about J-Street and others being side lined. You know as well as I do that B’Tzelem wanted to place and ad on radio reading the names of Arabs killed in the battle against Hamas. B’Tselem is a prime NIF fundee and it seeks to undermine the morale of the Jewish state.

    Finally, Netanyahu is hopeless and you seem unable to differentiate between prudence and paralysis. As soon as Hamas started its bombardment it should have had its power cut off and its water should have been rationed for drinking only, but of course the lefty legal lads who are really in charge of Israel would not permit that. When Hamas damaged high tension lines to Gaza, it should not have been repaired. The terror tunnels should never have been built if the Israeli government had kept an accounting of the cement it was pressured to providing for “humanitarian” purposes. And when the terror tunnel near a kibbutz was found, there should have been a general mobilisation to retake Gaza and to clean the Gaza gutter of jihadis.

    Whatever harsh action Israel would have taken, the criticism would have been as loud and as unjustified.

  3. Gil Solomon says:

    As in the above article we hear that word “restraint” as an admirable quality in reference to Israel’s military conduct. This much vaunted “Purity of Arms” policy is something I find insane.

    Below is an extract of comments made by one Yonit Gefen in respect to an article by Dr Inna Rogatchi in Arutz Sheva titled “The Hate-Wave All Over the Islamicized West”.

    1. This bizarre “purity of arms” policy does not gain any world approval for Israel. IT DOES ACCOMPLISH THE FOLLOWING:
    2. It kills Israeli soldiers.
    3. Protects people who collaborate, sympathize and protect terrorists.
    4. Makes eradicating Hamas virtually impossible.
    5. Robs Israeli soldiers (and population) of the single-mindedness of purpose they need.
    6. Values Palestinian lives above Israeli lives.
    7. Lowers the morale of Israelis.
    8. Lengthens wars/campaigns thereby encouraging third party involvement, pressures Israel to stop operations, return land and make agreements that are bad for the country.
    9. Trains terrorists to gather more and more civilians around them producing a vicious cycle of increased Palestinian deaths.
    10. Compromises military goals.
    11. Leads the world to expect this and even more of Israel.

    When are Jews in general and Israel in particular ever going to wake up?

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