Thursday, November 22, 2012

Success Of Operation Pillar of Defense Sends Message To Hamas And Iran

One could argue that Hamas won this latest war with Israel -- after all, they survived to fight another day.

Well, most of them did.
A number of high-ranking Gazan terrorists did not.

  • Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas' military wing - targeted on November 14
  • Hab's Hassan Us Msamch, senior operative in Hamas' police - targeted on November 15
  • Ahmed Abu Jalal, Commander of the military wing in Al-Muazi - targeted on November 16
  • Khaled Shayer, senior operative in the anti-tank operations - targeted on November 16
  • Osama Kadi, senior operative in the smuggling operations in the southern Gaza Strip - targeted on November 17
  • Muhammad Kalb, senior operative in the aerial defense operations - targated on November 17
  • Ramz Harb, Islamic Jihad senior operative in propaganda in Gaza city - targeted on November 19

In fact, based on the blow Israel delivered to Hamas, Dan Margalit argues that there is No need for ground operation:

First, Hamas has taken a body blow. Senior operatives have been killed, rocket arsenals have been pulverized, terrorist infrastructure has been destroyed and the Iron Dome has been largely successful in protecting the Israeli homefront. The media hysteria over one apartment in Rishon Letzion that was hit by a rocket in fact highlighted how successful Israel's defense of the homefront has been and how smartly Israeli civilians have responded when the warning sirens have sounded.

Second, for the first time in many years, Israel has struck a heavy blow against terrorists in Gaza without losing the support of the world's enlightened nations. The Palestinians and their supporters have been futilely trying to stoke the flames by presenting horrible images on television. Those who remember the discomfort in Israel when criticism began coming in from capitals throughout the world, and committees such as the one led by Judge Richard Goldstone, understand the significance of this achievement.
Those are no small accomplishments -- especially the issue of civilian casualties in Gaza.

There will be no Goldstone Report this time around.

And that is a key point that cannot be emphasized enough. The Christian Science Monitor notes that Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense is enjoying an unusual degree of international support:
Usually the target of criticism in Europe when it goes to war with Palestinians, Israel has seen the European Union stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the US this time in support of Israel, and in placing blame on Hamas.

...But even as international pressure has been mounting for a cease-fire, the US, the UN, and the European Union have been careful to emphasize that Israeli citizens cannot be expected to live under a barrage of rocket fire.

“One thing is clear: The cause of this escalation is the rocket fire from Gaza to Israel’s south. That cannot be justified,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said yesterday in Jerusalem. “The Israeli government does not have to live with this; it has the right to protect its civilian population.”
The key has been the incredible accuracy of Iron Dome and the high percentage of incoming rockets from Gaza that it intercepted.

But no less impressive is the incredible accuracy Israel demonstrated online in social media
For Israel, taking the war to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest is a natural outgrowth of the Israeli government’s public diplomacy initiatives, from helping organize seminars to train Israelis to advocate on the country’s behalf over social media networks to underwriting a campaign to improve the image of settlers among bloggers.

The goal, as Dratwa explained it, is twofold: to get Israel’s narrative out in real time, as people read about red alerts in Tel Aviv and rocket landings in Gaza on Twitter, and to cut out the middleman of “old media” in communicating with pro-Israel activists. “What we try to do is to be fast and get information out before the old media,” Dratwa told me. “We believe people are getting information from social media platforms and we don’t want them to get it from other sources—we are the ones on the scene, and the old media are not on the scene as are the IDF.”
As a result of this newly energized approach to the new media, one issue this time that was not as prominent during Operation Cast Lead was the propensity for Hamas terrorists to fire on their own people:
Bloggers, such as Elder of Ziyon, were able to catch Hamas mourning casualties of Israeli missiles that were actually killed by Hamas themselves.

The majority of Israelis oppose the ceasefire that Israel has agreed to, but the fact remains that even without a ground invasion into Gaza, Israel has accomplished a lot -- and as a result of its success in Gaza, Israeli Attacks in Gaza Also Serve as a Warning to Iran:
Israel is fighting a “war within a war,” said David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to then-vice president Dick Cheney and founder of the Washington-based Delphi Global Analysis Group. Israeli officials, he said, are simultaneously tackling Hamas rocket fire, demonstrating the effectiveness of the new “Iron Dome” missile defense system and degrading the Islamist group’s ability to retaliate for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

“I don’t believe this is an indication that Israel is about to strike Iran, but it’s certainly part of the preparation,” Wurmser said in a telephone interview. “They shut down an extension of Iran that can strike Israel, and that’s a major geo-strategic move.”
At the end of the day, Israel's accomplishments in Operation Pillar of Defense have sent a strong message to Iran as well as to the terrorists it supports.

We can argue about the pros and cons of the ceasefire, but the operation itself will give the terrorists plenty to think about.

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