...We need courageous leadership to look at the big picture and understand that the terrorist armies and states around us are an existential threat. The answer is hard and painful to hear. There, without responding tempestuously, without making empty promises and threats, we have no choice but to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, from its leadership down to the very last of its terrorists. No pinpoint assassinations, no increasing our deterrence, no special operation -- a war over our right to exist.
02 July '14..
I have never received so much advice, directly or indirectly. The bombardment of counsel did not pass me over. "Control your temper," "Don't make decisions while your blood is still boiling," "Show restraint," "Count to 10," were just some of the suggestions the pundits have showered upon us. I decided to answer the challenge, and at least heed the last bit of advice by counting to 10:
1. Three yeshiva students, who were on their way home after a day of classes, paid the price for not internalizing, not understanding and willfully ignoring the need to truly acknowledge the vicious enemy, which has declared its goal of destroying us.
2. Two weeks ago, a 12-year-old boy, who on his first day of summer break joined his father at work on the Golan Heights, was killed by a missile fired from Syrian territory. This followed dozens of shooting incidents of various types toward communities, civilians and soldiers in that sector.
3. Since Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in 2012, more than 180 rockets have been fired at Israel, an average of 10 per month. Deterrence was not achieved.
4. In that time, 10 rockets have been fired at Israel from Sinai. One soldier and one civilian have been killed in attacks perpetrated by global jihadists and al-Qaida. Sinai has become a breeding ground and safe haven for vagabond terrorist groups, motivated by a religious ideology resolutely aimed at harming us.
5. The hundreds of underground smuggling tunnels connecting Sinai to Gaza and the dozens of vessels and arms shipments are a testament to the financial aid and encouragement Hamas and Hezbollah receive from Arab states that support the extermination of Israel.
6. In 2000, we frantically retreated from southern Lebanon with the intention of allowing the Lebanese government to assume its sovereign responsibility. By doing so we helped establish the Hezbollah terrorist state, which has built itself an organized terrorist army.
7. In 2005, we disengaged from the Gaza Strip with the intention of allowing the Palestinians to determine their own fate, and two years later they formed a Hamas state which slaughtered Palestinian Authority representatives there and established a terrorist army.
8. In the wake of the Oslo Accords, the PA was given authority and responsibility in the areas evacuated by the Israel Defense Forces, areas which have "exported" terrorist attacks against Israelis every year since, most of them perpetrated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
9. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is inspired by al-Qaida, has declared its goal of declaring an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Jordan has taken up defensive positions and our eastern border could turn into yet another terrorist hot zone.
10. For over 20 years, we have tried finding a way to create two states for two peoples. We have made concessions, compromised, showed restraint, released murderers, gainfully employed masses of Palestinians, granted medical treatment to kin of terrorist leaders, and they do not recognize our right to a state.
I counted to 10. And what now? How do we change the reality, not out of vengeance but out of a determination and sense of responsibility for our children's futures, a sentiment that has never been a component of Palestinian considerations? How do we prevent the next attack and create a chance for progress?
We need courageous leadership to look at the big picture and understand that the terrorist armies and states around us are an existential threat. The answer is hard and painful to hear. There, without responding tempestuously, without making empty promises and threats, we have no choice but to eliminate Hamas in Gaza, from its leadership down to the very last of its terrorists. No pinpoint assassinations, no increasing our deterrence, no special operation -- a war over our right to exist.
Brig. Gen. (res.) Zvika Fogel is a former chief of staff of the IDF Southern Command.
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