On Sunday, 15 July 2007, Israel installed her ninth state president, Shim’on Peres. Yediot Ahronot, on the front page of its Sunday edition (the Friday edition of the newspaper is the weekend edition here – the Sunday paper is analogous to the Monday edition elsewhere), carried a photo of Peres, presumably taking the oath of office, with the Hebrew headline, yomó hagadól (his big day). Congratulations poured in from throughout the world, from the American president to the pope on his accession to what is likely his final role in the history of the country. But while for Shim’on Peres, it was a big day, for the rest of us in Israel, it was just one more day being cut by the shards of shattered illusions.
When a writer for the left wing Haaretz, which continuously attempts to erase away the existential threats facing the nation in the smoke and mirrors of pseudo-intellectuality, admits for example that, “this society, whose ties of solidarity had already been eroded, now appears to be falling apart. When sentiments like ‘There is no state’ reflect the feelings of residents of both the North and the South, when the State of Tel Aviv has cut off its bilateral relations with the State of Israel and makes do with collecting donations for that other, poor country, every man is left to his own fate,” a truly bitter recognition of reality is in the offing.
To get a feeling for why, let us go back to the 2005 expulsion of Jewish residents from Gush Qatif in the Gaza Strip. This expulsion was supposed to bring a measure of security to the country by reducing the exposure of troops to terrorist attack, and pulling soldiers and people out of an “indefensible position” amidst “millions of Arabs.” In addition, by removing our “occupation” over Gaza, we were supposed to obtain for ourselves the right to carpet bomb the place if the terrorists dared raise a hand against us. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon got plenty of slaps on the back from our “allies” in America and Europe. But the residents of S’derot and the kibbutzim around the Strip got nothing but increased rocket attacks; the former residents of Gaza got nothing but the back of the hand from an arrogant, smirking secular elite from the “State of Tel Aviv” that had “stuck it to the Jews” but good, depriving them of homes, schools and livelihoods all in one shot, making them internal exiles in their own country for being stupid enough to believe Ariel Sharon when he told them in 2003, “Gush Qatif is as much part of Israel as Tel Aviv.”
In short, the withdrawal from Gush Qatif gained Israel absolutely nothing, the Qassam attacks continued and there was no energetic response from Israel. Indeed, Shim’on Peres, now hailed as “our number one citizen”, commented sarcastically, “Qassam, Shmassam” when Qassam rockets hit S’derot. The Arab criminals empowered to rule Gaza by the Israelis, the PLO, did little or nothing to stop these terror attacks against the State of Israel. Indeed, the importation of arms increased while the Israelis did nothing but wave their hands in the air. Hamas, the rising power in Gaza, got bolder and bolder. In January 2006, they won formal control of the legislative assembly of the “Palestinian” Authority, for what little it was worth, and in June 2006, they demonstrated their determination to embarrass Israel by kidnapping and holding Gil’ad Shalit.
In essence, Hamas went to war against Israel, and by the time the IDF finally figured out what to do in response, HizbAllah attacked the country from the north, effectively driving the Israeli government out of the northern third of the country. Considering how the morale of the IDF had been trashed in the previous year by the kinds of assignments it was forced to carry out – driving Jews out of their homes – the soldiers gave a good accounting of themselves in battle. Their leaders did not. There were inadequate forward supplies, the attack plans were drawn up with no eye to reducing casualties or actually winning, and Olmert, in the middle of the campaign, reiterated his intent to withdraw from Judea and Samaria. Ten percent of the casualties came from Judea and Samaria, a disproportionate amount considering the population here. A lot of soldiers were wondering what the hell they were fighting for. They couldn’t see why they should put their lives of the line for the “State of Tel Aviv”. No one has given them an answer yet, either.
And, in the end, we lost. Even though our army was winning on the ground, the losers in the government sued for peace. And they got garbage.
It’s pretty damned embarrassing when the fourth most powerful military in the world gets beaten by second rate terrorists firing Katyushas and Qassams. But what is even more embarrassing is when the idiot responsible for the disaster, Ehud Olmert, refuses to accept responsibility and step down. Thus we are brought back to Lili Galili’s screed about the imprisoned audience here watching “Reality TV” – “The Survivor,” Ehud Olmert, lasting week after week while almost all around him fall.
Most of this article has dealt with shattered illusions. But the real issue, to be addressed in Parts II and beyond, is waiting for war. Have a listen to this video to get an idea of what we could be facing…
It leaves the taste of ashes and wormwood in the mouth. Just in time for the Fast of the Ninth of Av.