By Sig Demling
One of my favorite bromides goes like this: With friends like these who needs enemies?
After reviewing the results of Operation Cast Lead, I was inspired to do a take-off on the above. To wit:
With "victories" like those, who needs defeats?
I'm specifically alluding to the crazy-mad Gaza celebrations that followed announcement of an Israeli-Hamas truce.
Judging by the cartwheels of joy, random shooting in the air and over the air announcements from Tehran, Beirut and other Arab points East and West, you actually would get the impression that it was Israel that took it on the chin and not the other way around.
Now before I go on, let me say unequivocally that Israel took lots and lots and lots of heavy blows via the rocket blitz; there's no minimizing that grim fact of war life. When a nation such as Israel is confronted with a1,600 rocket barrage that's nothing to take any way but grimly serious.
But in terms of winning and losing; look at it this way; for the first time in a genuine wartime situation the Iron Dome system worked as well -- if not better -- than expected. Granted, Israeli lives were lost, homes were destroyed and portions of the Middle East's only democracy were traumatized as would be expected from such an assault against innocent civilians.
However, stacked up against what the IDF did to Hamas and its affiliated terrorist groups -- well -- it was no contest. Israel Hayom columnist Zvika Fogel did ten days of reserve duty and returned home persuaded that the average Israeli has minimized the victory achieved by more than 1,600 precise and unexpected attacks against Gaza.
"The IDF," says Fogel, "obliterated dozens of years of cumulative Hamas and Islamic Jihad experience. It dealt a devastating blow to Hamas force-building efforts in which the group had invested all the Palestinian people's money, obtained by enacting a 'smuggling tunnel tax.'
"The IDF destroyed terrorist infrastructure on and under the ground that had been built since Operation Cast Lead."
In a sense Hamas' so-called "victory" was about as effective as Hezbollah's which produced destruction of Lebanese structures that gave even Nasrallah a momentary case of lockjaw.
I'm not predicting anything like a long-term truce with Hamas?nor will I even dare suggest that Israelis in the South will be free from air raid sirens for any appreciable length of time.
But this much is certain: Hamas & Co. took a beating, physically and psychologically despite the physical damage done to Israeli cities by the rockets.
Fogel: "When Hamas officials emerged from their bunkers they saw there was not a single victory they could present to their people. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now banging their heads against the wall -- how did Israel know? How did they managed to attack the terrorists at every hideout? How did they manage to prevent almost every attempt to hurt Israeli civilians and soldiers?"
We shall see how Hamas and Islamic Jihad handle the truce in the days and weeks ahead. As of Saturday night it appeared that the residents of Sderot and all the other Israeli sites that came under attack were able to get a couple of good night's sleep. Hopefully this pleasant state will last and last and last.
But what if Hamas breaks the truce?
As I've said before, the Arabs should get a hundred-fold response. I agree with Fogel's thinking:
"Disproportionate force should be unleashed on terror mongers if they dare violate the cease-fire agreement. Then, calm will be preserved for many years to come."
In the meantime, let the Arabs celebrate their latest "victory."
At the expense of being redundant, let me reiterate, with "victories" like those, who needs defeats?