A ceasefire with Hamas is only possible when the IDF makes the threat of escalation crystal clear
“A great wind is coming,” in the words of one of Israel’s founding paratroopers, Yoel Palgi.
For a long time, perhaps too long, the government chose a policy of restraint, known as “containment” in modern parlance, absorbed the rocket fire toward Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip and tried each time to restore the calm by reaching an agreement with Hamas. Until it was pushed, and then pushed a little further.
When the safety pin was finally switched off and the fighter jets took off, a sigh of relief could be heard across the country which in essence expressed the feeling: It’s about time.
At sporting events the crowd rises to its feet and sings the national anthem without requiring instruction. Those called to emergency reserve duty — many of them from homes in range of the rocket attacks — report with the sense that they are being drafted to defend the country.
The common sense of purpose is absolute. Solidarity in Israel is almost across the board. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz haven’t lost control. Operation Pillar of Defense is going as planned, both through the expansion of the air force’s targets in Gaza and through the dramatically exceptional protection of civilians. If the residents on the fourth floor of the old apartment building in Kiryat Malachi would only have left their apartment as instructed, the number of Israeli deaths would be zero. Regardless of the painful and regrettable loss of life, the achievement has still been remarkable.