Operation Cast Lead has far reaching ramifications than just the fighting to bring back calm to Israel's south. It has shown the true nature of the beast "" Anti-Semitism is alive and well, has spread the world over with a magnitude and strength not seen before and is threatening the continued sanity and wellbeing of the world itself. The Jews, after all, still have a safe haven called Israel.
Anti-Semitism is evident in violent protests, media broadcasts, articles and postings in the internet. Anti-Semitism has spread to every fabric of society, from sports to culture to science and technology "" none was spared. Reason and logic are ineffective to treat the spread of this disease. Facts and figures remain useless. Reality notwithstanding, in the fight against Israel and the Jews today, dogma, fantasy and propaganda rule.
Irrespective of what Israel does, or attempts to achieve, it is found guilty a priori: Israel is the "occupier,"- "aggressor,"- "Nazi war machine,"- "guilty party."- It has put Gaza under siege and has started a disproportionate response. It is targeting innocent women and children in schools. It is hitting mosques, where the Believers come to pray. It is causing a humanitarian crisis among a million refugees. Israel is the source of all evil and the Jews must thus be eliminated, Israel obliterated off the map of the earth.
It is sad in Israel. Ten soldiers have died thus far. Two IDF officers and one soldier were killed during operations today, one soldier severely wounded, one soldier was moderately wounded and 11 soldiers were lightly wounded. The dead will be brought to rest tomorrow.
Yesterday another soldier was brought to rest. 21 year old Alexander Masheviski, full of life and laughter, is now buried in Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev. He was part of Israel Ground Forces Combat Engineering Special Operations Yahalom (Diamond) Unit. Less than a month ago I had the privilege of visiting with the commanders and soldiers of Yahalom. Their readiness level, knowledge and expertise and devotion to the task were enhanced only by their commanding officer constant reminder: Remember who we are, remember for what we fight.
Israel mourns the fallen soldiers: pictures of smiling young men who gave their lives willingly in defense of the country. Young men at the prime of their youth, gone one by one fighting one of the most merciless of enemies humanity has ever known. "Swifter of Eagles, Stronger than Lions"- (Samuel II, 1:23) they went to the task to protect their country, their family and friends, you and me. Why did they have to die? Why does the world not understand Israel's fight is its own fight?
Let there be no mistakes, Operation Cast Lead is a defensive operation. It did not come into being "" as many seem to think "" because Israel has decided to put an end to Gaza after holding it under siege.
Nothing can be further from the truth: Israel's southern towns and cities were subjected to seven years of deadly rocket attacks launched from Gaza. Three years ago Israel unilaterally pulled out of the surrounding areas of Gaza. Following this disengagement, the number of rockets launched against Israel more than quintupled. The rockets used had longer range and were more accurate and more powerful than those used before.
Control over the corridor between Gaza and Egypt, nicknamed Philadelphi (an IDF computer generated name), was turned to Egypt, an arrangement that necessitated a very careful look into the Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt from 30 years ago. A flourishing industry developed "" smugglers brought in ammunition, weaponry and people, anything short of tanks. A city-beneath a city was built, from the Egyptian town of Rafa into Gaza. Toilet seats covered the openings of some tunnels according to the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel: innocent visage during day, active operation at night.
Had the roles been exchanged, Gaza would have been obliterated into non-being at the first opportunity, especially had such an action served a greater purpose. Instead, Israel sacrifices the lives of its sons and daughters "" the future of the State "" protecting the lives of the Gazans, respecting the sanctity of life "" including the enemy's - paying an enormous price. For what does Israel pay this price?
On Friday, three weeks ago, a long period of negotiated "calm"- between Hamas and Israel came to an end. Hamas decided not to maintain the calm, and intensified both the rocket production and launching operations and its rhetoric against the Jewish State. Israel had no choice "" two things had to stop: the firing into Israeli cities and towns and the smuggling into Gaza. Did Hamas not expect Israel to react and go into Gaza or did it purposely lure Israel into a trap?
For several years, Hamas "" following the example of Hizbollah in Lebanon "" built and fortified its holdings in Gaza. The area is completely booby trapped, traps are set at every corner "" false floors and collapsing ceilings, exploding doors and secondary and tertiary explosion mechanisms, tunnels that are meant to become cages and other means whose purpose is to murder Israeli soldiers in order to use their bodies and body parts as negotiating chips or to capture Israeli soldiers to demoralize Israel.
There are no bounds or boundaries. Hamas has been holding a soldier it had kidnapped in an attack on a military post inside Israel, using tunnels dug for this purpose, without allowing anyone to visit him for almost three years. Hamas has warned Israel it will kidnap other soldiers, and is trying very hard to achieve this goal. Hamas is using the Gazans as human shields, operating from (or beneath) mosques and hospitals. It indoctrinates children to become soldiers in the holy war against the Jews and naturally uses them as part of the war effort.
Ignoring all the above, the world has set up its mind to fight Israel. Hamas terrorists are referred to as "democratically-elected members of society"- or "militants fighting the "-siege' of Gaza and Israel's military might."- Hamas has been elevated to a rescuer, freedom fighter, David in its war against Goliath, the spokesperson and frontline for Iran. Nothing Israel does would satisfy the world or abate its criticism of Israel.
For 13 days Israel has been fighting to bring about quite to its citizens. If Israel enters a cease fire forced on it by the world, and the status quo continues (production facilities in Gaza, launching of rockets and missiles, the constant threat of kidnapping soldiers, the continued call to the annihilation of the Jewish State, the smuggling into Gaza), then Hamas will rightfully declare itself the victor.
Israel will hardly be able to convince itself that it achieved the objectives of the Operation. Looking back at the 2006 Second War in Lebanon, Israelis remember that self-supporting-declarations are as meaningless as United-for-Nothing-resolutions.
It is only if Iran will feel that Israel is advancing to a point that it threatens the continued presence in Gaza (vis-à-vis Iran's crony Hamas) that the front against Israel will expand to the North and possibly elsewhere. As long as Hamas continues to lead and the world continues to fight Israel, Iran is the main beneficiary of the status quo.