Shaul Amir

Summer 2014 Diary of an Israeli – Part 5

Shaul Amir
Shaul Amir

August 1, 2014

First post for August. This one is starting with difficult news. The people I reported yesterday as wounded, were soldiers and unfortunately five of them did not make it. We lost 61 soldiers, petty officers and officers during this operation and have hundreds of wounded, 132 still in hospitals.

Ceasefire catered by Kerry started half an hour ago. Still holding. We are still working on the destruction of the tunnels we discovered. This might be a prelude for a longer ceasefire that will lead to a political solution. As to the type of solution, it remains to see. We know what we need and I hope that we will be strong enough to negotiate without fear and defend it.

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When we went to bed last night, we were hoping that we will have a quiet Shabbat with the agreement of all sides to Kerry’s ceasefire. We were woken up by the sirens at 1:00 am still hoping that this is a knee jerk reaction of some rogue organization and that the ceasefire will hold. At 9:30 this morning when we heard about the fierce fighting in Gaza, I told Kika that I am afraid that one of our soldiers was kidnapped. My fear, to my sorrow, became reality. In this attack that started by a suicide terrorists exploding himself on our soldiers, two of our soldiers were killed and in the confusion the terrorists grabbed Second Lieutenant Hadar Golding and escaped through the same tunnel they came from which led to a Mosque. Our forces are now surrounding the area and working hard to find him.

A few posts ago I compared the Hamas to the scorpion who rode the back of the frog to cross a creek. Half the way he stung her and in answer to the frog’s question, why did you do it? both of us will die now, he answered: it is my nature, I can’t help it. The same is with the Hamas, as much as it’s people needed the ceasefire, they couldn’t help but break it by kidnaping our soldier.

Our Cabinet is going to meet at 5:30 pm our time. It remains to see what they will decide. The sad part of all this tragic incident is that maybe now the world will understand who the Hamas is. Now that the world, including the US, received their Israeli “pint of blood”, may be we will receive more “sympathy” for our actions. More to come.

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Surprised for the better from President Obama’s declaration. I predicted it earlier on. We had to pay a heavy price to get this change of mind by the US and the UN Envoy to the area.

August 2

It looks like the world is accepting Israel’s point of view more than it did before. We had to pay a very high price to get that little bit of recognition.

It seems that we are heading towards a one-way withdrawal without any negotiation with Hamas. In essence, this is what Hamas feared. First we destroyed the Hamas’s most important strategic weapons, the rockets ability to wreak havoc in Israel and destroy most of the tunnels. Now, if and when we withdraw, every rocket fired at Israel, will be answered by severe punishment of destruction of the area which the rocket was fired from after a warning of the citizens to clear the area.

I believe that the political negotiations will start with Egypt leading the negotiation, the Palestinians led by Abu Mazen, representation of the US and Israel of course. The Hamas lost on all fronts but as we all know, will pose a picture of victory which means absolutely nothing in the long run, when looking at the distraction and suffering of the uninvolved Palestinians and what lays ahead of them which is an absolute tragedy.

Its leadership will have to stay in hiding from now on (like Nassarallah), below ground or never more than one night in one place.  What have they gained????

August 3

We have now entered a new phase and the war on terrorism will take a new direction. The main objective of the ground offensive, as declared by the Cabinet was achieved. We destroyed most if not all of the “attack tunnels”, we weakened their rocket systems and reduced their numbers and launching ability, dramatically, their leadership is still hiding and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The leading power in the world, the US is now justifying our actions and lost any little faith in Hamas and Qatar (see President Obama’s declaration of August 2nd). We have now entered a new era with a huge strategic opportunity to turn the costly and bloody war into a political game changer.

In Astronomy, certain positions of stars and their alignment, happens once every so many years. Some time in politics, alignment of opposing political powers usually happens after an earthquake-like event that shakes and changes old concepts, prejudices and beliefs which can create a new horizon and change the future of many people.

If we do not seize the moment while this rare alignment is still in existence, we might have to wait many more years as the cosmos of opportunities will keep on revolving and move on.

The Egyptians, the Palestinians, The Saudis and Emirates and of course Israel can sideline the Hamas, impose their will and create a new pact which will include the rehabilitation of Gaza in exchange for demilitarization of Hamas. Full International control over moneys and materials, which will assure that the money and materials will be used in accordance to the agreement. Every rehabilitation step will be accompanied by another demilitarization step of the Hamas.

Once this happens, Hamas will lose its grip on the population which lives in fear today and the Palestinian Authority will gradually take over. All of the above is a question of timing and I believe that now is the time.
I may be a born and unrealistic optimist, but what do I have left after the weeks we have been through? If I love my country, as I do, and if I want to continue to live here, as I do, I need an optimistic horizon to hang on to or else….

 

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About Shaul Amir

Shaul Amir has served two terms as Shaliach to the Denver area from Israel, the most recent combined with directing Allied Jewish Federation's Israel Center from 2002 to 2007. He and his wife Kika now live outside Tel Aviv and enjoy welcoming visitors from Colorado to Israel.

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