How Wars End

(Israel Hayom) Dore Gold - It became extremely difficult to reach a decisive outcome in the war in Gaza and defeat Hamas as long as it has a link to external sources of supply, like Iran. In comparison, the IDF was able to defeat Hamas and other organizations in the West Bank in 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield, partly because their forces had no external source of supply. Israel continues to seal off the outer perimeter of the West Bank - the Jordan Valley - and did not pull out from this strategic area, as it had withdrawn from the Philadelphi Route along the Gaza-Egypt border. As a result, the war in Gaza has continued since Israel's 2005 disengagement until today, while no such armed conflict on a similar scale erupted in the West Bank. In the present Gaza conflict, the stated goal of military operations was to bring to an end the constant rocket fire on Israel by Hamas and other organizations which received sanctuary in the territory it controlled. If the cease-fire stabilizes in the weeks ahead, then the IDF will have achieved its stated goal. But to preserve what it has accomplished, Israel and the U.S. will have to put in place arrangements for the Philadelphi Route in order to prevent Iran from replacing all the weaponry that Israel destroyed. Closing the outer perimeter to a territory where an insurgency war is being waged has been proven time and again to be a prerequisite for assuring stability in the long-term. Israel demonstrated that nothing would deter it from exercising its right of self-defense, even in the era of the "Arab Spring." Hamas had miscalculated. Essentially, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt felt strongly that now is the time for it to consolidate its control on power and not get drawn into the military adventurism of Hamas, despite its full ideological identification with the latter. Thus Egypt played a constructive role at the end of this round of conflict, but it remains to be seen whether this shift becomes permanent or is only temporary. For the ideological hostility of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt against Israel remains stronger than ever. In any case, Israel will continue to have to rely on itself for its security, backed by the national fortitude that the Israeli people convincingly demonstrated all throughout the Gaza crisis. The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

2012-11-23 00:00:00

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