Cairo 1973– Despite his military advance being pushed back to the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal, his third army being captured, and a complete Israeli siege of Cairo, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat actually had the gall to declare victory over Israel despite suffering an obvious defeat. His tactic worked like a charm as he managed to pull one over on the Egyptian people. They celebrated in the streets from Cairo to Alexandria. Last week, Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu tore a page out of Sadat’s playbook declaring Israel’s “victory” over Hamas in Israel’s latest conflict with the genocidal jihadi terrorist organization on Israel’s southern border. Unfortunately, Bibi forgot that Sadat enjoyed ruling as a dictator in 1973 Egypt where media was censored and his citizens had no choice but to take his word for it.
In 2014, Israeli citizens live in a robust democracy filled with a free flow of real-time, round-the-clock information and news. This means that unlike living in an authoritarian Muslim dictatorship in the 70’s, Israelis knew exactly what went on during the conflict (especially those living on the Gazan border). Compound that with internet and social media, Netanyahu’s pathetic declaration of triumph wasn’t fooling anyone, especially the Israeli people. Every Israeli citizen knows that it’s just a matter of time until Hamas rearms, reloads, and terrorizes Israel with another deadly barrage of rocket attacks. Netanyahu’s arrogant victory speech not only insults our intelligence, it gives us the impression that he is completely out of touch with what had just taken place this summer.
As a result, Israelis have lost confidence in his leadership capabilities come the next round of Muslim aggression from whichever Israeli border. This is evidenced by a Channel 2 poll which found that 50% of Israelis were dissatisfied with Netanyahu and only 38% were satisfied, a dramatic plummet in popularity since his approval rating of 82% on July 23 (when ground troops entered Gaza). The daunting uncertainty plaguing Israel’s atmosphere is compounded with the realization that Al Qaeda has recently replaced the evil yet rational Assad on the Israeli-Syrian border.
Like Olmert’s handling of the Second Lebanon war in 2006, Netanyahu’s zigzagged approach to the recent Gaza conflict doesn’t instill Israeli citizens with much confidence in his ability to lead Israel into its next battle. As any military expert (or martial arts expert) will tell you, one devastating knockout is better than a thousand half-assed jabs. And that’s exactly where Netanyahu failed. Some of Bibi’s pathetically bizarre ‘fighting’ tactics included dropping warning fliers on the very buildings Hamas mortar men were firing from giving them ample time to evacuate before Israeli retaliation. Another is the daily “humanitarian” ceasefires which only served as a window of oxygen for Hamas to regroup and reload. And most importantly, a lack of an operational strategy, vision of how the day after should look like, and a clear goal of toppling Hamas. Unlike Olmert, this notion was especially hard for many Israelis to swallow since many of us considered Netanyahu to be on the right wing of Israel’s political spectrum. At least in 2006, Israelis understood that when Olmert was too soft to beat Hizbullah, they could rely on the more hawkish Netanyahu to take care of business in the upcoming elections. But this disappointing summer taught us that we can’t.
Every day Netanyahu didn’t make a decisive resolution to neutralize Hamas was a day that Israel paid for dearly. Netanyahu’s allowing the war to drag on only enabled further devastation and damage to Israel including non-stop rocket attacks which caused the inevitable Israeli civilian death of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman.
Outside of Israel, the prolonged battle enabled Obama to cancel US bound flights to Israel and the pro-Palestinian anti-semites reared their ugly heads during their usual violent protests. The bigoted anti-Israel festivities continued throughout the duration of the conflict. Jews were the prime target of physical assault and hate crimes from Paris to Oakland.
Despite the tragedy inside and outside of Israel, there is a silver lining. Outside of Israel, the pro-palestinian riots have struck a disturbing chord in Europe’s Jewish communities. They are finally internalizing and realizing the dangers of living as a Jew in Europe. French Jews in particular are learning from the lessons of pre-Holocaust Germany as they are seeing the anti-semitic writing on the wall and are leaving in droves to return to the Jewish homeland. French Aliya (Jewish emigration to Israel) is expected to surpass 5,000 this year alone.
Inside Israel, Gaza border communities as well as the Tel Aviv area have served as a bastion for left wing Israelis who are largely proponents of the failed “land for peace” mantra. With help from Israel’s left wing mainstream media, the ‘land for peace’ rhetoric has set and led the national agenda projecting the message that Israel’s only chance of obtaining peace with its Arab neighbors, is via continued withdrawal of land liberated by Israel in 1967. This summer’s war truly threw a wrench in it. In what was once a conflict-immune Tel Aviv, many center and left-wing Israelis felt the terrifying result of abandoning Israel’s God given land first hand with a rude awakening of non-stop rockets raining down on the coastal city. Thankfully, many of them have come around to realizing that perhaps replicating the ‘land for peace’ tactic in Judea and Samaria (which borders almost every major city and international airport in pre-1967 Israel) may not be the wisest idea after all.
The demand to restore Israel’s deterrence will have to come from the Israeli people either via popular protest or at the next round of elections because as we have now learned, it will not come from Israel’s leadership.
David Sidman is a correspondent for Shoebat.com in Israel.