Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Returning to Normal

Speaking to people in the States, many wonder what the attitude here is about the conclusion of the Gaza war. Should we have stopped so soon? Why didn't the IDF continue to pound Hamas? I especially hear a lot of chatter from more right-wing Americans about how the IDF should have taken over all of Gaza. I've got a few comments:
  1. The army had pretty much destroyed everything that it could find, from tunnels to weapons caches to any Hamas installation or building, without actually entering the highly populated areas in Gaza.
  2. Hamas had basically stopped fighting, and would not even send me to go attack. The soldiers that I spoke to said that they were not that impressed with the way that the Hamas fighters fought. They expected differently, but did not encounter that much civilian resistance.
  3. Hamas fights through terror. Many of the battles were calculated to capture soldiers, which thank God did not happen. But entering populated cities greatly increases the likelihood of another Gilad Schalit, which no one wants.
  4. Finally, and most importantly, while Israelis were incredibly patient about the war, it's hard living under the constant threat of missile attack. The army knew that a cease-fire had a great likehood of stablity, and that the rocket attacks would stop - which thus-far they have. I suspect that many people who wanted the war to continue don't live close enough to Gaza to have had to run to their safe-rooms whenever a siren sounded; they didn't have to sit in the bathroom with their children who were too frightened to shower alone, fearful that they wouldn't hear the siren; they didn't have to run through the grocery store, frightened to be caught in an attack, unable to shop at a leisurely pace.
In other words, most people wanted things to return to normal. I know that's how I feel. I can only imagine how the citizens of Sederot and Ashdot and Netivot and Ashkelon feel.

We pray for the families that lost loved-ones, for the injured soldiers, and also that the calm continues. Until the next war.