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Archive for January 18th, 2009

Cease fire

Last night we called a unilateral cease fire and now Hamas have called theirs. We say our troops will pull out if the multilateral agreements are put in place and if they don’t shooting at us. Hamas say that they don’t agree to any agreements and that they give us a week to get out or they’ll start shooting again.

If we pull out, then they won because they chased us out. If we stay, then we become responsible for the continued fighting that will follow. If the multilateral agreements on the Rafiah border crossing don’t progress or become a farse, there still will be no way not to pull back. Hamas will regroup, rearm and start killing us again

They’ll fire the odd rocket into Israel, send suicide bombers. Nothing drastic enough to justify going to war again.

Maybe I’m wrong and we’ve got our deterance back. Maybe they’ll have learned a lesson and won’t dare to mess with us. However all the pointers seem to show otherwise. The global Jihad doesn’t speak that language. Their dead are holy martyrs. An ideology that sends suicide bombers to their deaths doesn’t care for a few more martyrs on the road to salvation.

Back to square one.

Some of our best young men and women and way over a thousand of the enemy have died. Thousands more have been injured and billions of dollars of damage inflicted. I have no problem that the enemy took heavy casualties. I also have no problem and have no reason to apologize that our casualties were so few.

However when so many people have died and suffered, I would have hoped that at the end that there would be something of tangible value to say that it was worth it.

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Unfortunately it sometimes takes for people to be killed for us to realize who are the people living around us.

Anyone living here in Israel we are familiar with the public ritual that follows the death of civilians in a terrorist attack or of soldiers in battle. The news flashes on the radio, the number of injured that rises from report to report and then the number of the dead. A few hours later come the names “the following names of the killed have been permitted for publication…”. We hear the names, listening closely to hear if it is someone we know, someone who lives somewhere that we are familiar with, and then come the stories of who those people were.

Why does it always seem that the most special people get killed? The idealists, the people with such human qualities? I have two answers.

Firstly I do believe that this is proof if we need it, that everyone is special. There is no other explanation that a random sample of the victims of terror could otherwise be so selctive. Hidden among us are thousands and millions of good people, special people, people with ideals, aspirations, myriads of good deeds, thoughts and wishes. It’s just a shame that they need to be killed for us to notice.

But secondly I do think that among the soldiers, we do have selection here. The group of soldiers killed in battle is not a random sample of society. It is our best. These are the highest quality young men that we have. The intelligent, the idealistic, the selfless, the motivated. These are the young men who risk their lives for their families, friends and country. This is the tragedy of our life here, that we need to train our best men to be warriors and send them to pay with their lives for our existence.

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