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More this am from Israel's Press...the voice of reason?

Opinion | Israelis Must Reject Government's False Promises of 'Perfect Security'

by Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz News

Dec 14, 2023


We can already discuss a victory image, because there won't be a greater victory than what we're seeing now in Gaza.


Even if we kill a few thousand more Gazans, destroy hundreds of additional tunnels and serve up the head of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on a silver platter, the situation that has been created in Gaza is the "trophy" that we will continue to grapple with.


We can keep trying to decide how to define Hamas' situation – '"crushed, "exhausted," "burned out," or simply "beaten" – but the major threat that will replace Hamas is already at our doorstep.


Israel should know by now: The perfect victory image doesn't exist


Israel is at war, and Netanyahu just launched his re-election campaign

Netanyahu is the last person who could de-radicalize Gaza.


In Gaza, over two million people with nothing to lose are about to explode, because the population in Gaza can't be defeated any more than it has been.


No security buffer, international force or messiah can stop them from becoming a breeding ground of the threat that will develop against us if it is not dealt with immediately.

But Israel, which is immersed deep inside the Hamas tunnels, has no plan for handling Gaza's upper echelons. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided that the Israel Defense Forces will remain in the Gaza Strip as long as necessary, and firmly rejects the possibility that the Palestinian Authority will administer the Gaza Strip. After all, "It also wants to destroy us, like Hamas," as he put it.


Nor can Israel rely on an international force to do the job for it, and justifiably so. Lebanon has already proven how useful such a force is Netanyahu's solution is a buffer zone deep inside Gaza, which means in practice that the entire Gaza Strip will become a security zone and that the Israeli military will remain there for years.


The same is true of Lebanon. In order to distance Hezbollah from the border to the other side of the Litani River and leave it there, Israel will have to occupy the historic "security zone" once again and hold onto it for a long time to come.


According to the "zones" strategy, Israel will directly rule over more than six million people who live in three extremely hot territories – the West Bank, south Lebanon and Gaza – that will bear most of the brunt of the IDF's strength and suck up the state budget. There is not and cannot be any other practical translation of the government's false promises of "perfect security."


But it's impossible to continue to sell illusions to the residents of the Gaza border communities and those of the northern border. They already know that they'll have to decide whether to return to their homes, their farms, their schools – to start rebuilding the ruins and continue living under a permanent threat, as they have done for decades – or to uproot themselves once and for all to homes deep inside Israel or abroad.


Their rational working assumption is that this government, which has lost its legitimacy and is composed of spare parts and irreparable dysfunction, won't keep its promises.


A possible solution is for the war cabinet to make way for a real political-economic cabinet which will draw the road map that will serve as the basis for a renewal of normal life, from the understanding that some threats will continue to exist.


This understanding obligates us to recognize that the PA, even in its present state, is an essential support structure for administering civilian life not only in the West Bank but in Gaza too, while the IDF continues to operate alongside it to prevent the renewal of Hamas military activity, as it does in the West Bank.


Bringing calm to these two arenas could also affect the northern front, which was ignited due to the war in Gaza. It's a front that isn't going anywhere, because even if Hezbollah is distanced beyond the Litani River, long-range missiles will continue to pose a threat.


But at least in the immediate future, it's possible that bringing quiet to Gaza with extensive humanitarian aid would also restore the Lebanese border to the relatively quiet, mutual-deterrence balance that has characterized it since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.


The problem is that any rational solution requires the immediate removal of the dream seller who is running the country with the help of a crystal ball.

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