As usual, when a new cycle of violence approaches, the papers are full of prophecies by this military analyst and that political pundit on how long it will last, who will blink first, is Hamas interested in escalation, can Islamic Jihad be curbed, can Israel afford this and will it do that.
After only a few tense days, it looks like we’ve got a green light from almost everyone.
The Prime Minister is ready:
“In the last two weeks there have been parties attempting to disturb peace and security,” said Benjamin Netanyahu prior to Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “We don’t want to escalate the situation but we will not hesitate to activate the strength of the IDF,” he added.
“Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Shaul Mofaz said at a meeting held at Beersheba Municipality on Sunday that Israel must return to the policy of assassinations in the Gaza Strip. “We did it with Rantisi and anyone who decides to harm civilians needs to know that there will be consequences,” Mofaz said.”
“Islamic Jihad Spokesman Khalid Al-Batash stressed Sunday that Israel’s strike was unacceptable and that the group reserves the right to retaliate to “Israel’s crimes.” He added that “Gaza was not a sandbag where Israel can test its capabilities, we shall not accept this and sit idly by as aggression continues.”
The citizens of the south are ready:
Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich said that continued rocket fire targeting the city was unacceptable. “We cannot live with uncertainty and gamble our residents’ lives away. We all understand the cost of another operation, but if there’s no choice – then there’s no choice.”
Great! So, now that we have everybody’s OK, we can get this round of bloodshed on the road.
The current round has begun slowly, with a few rocket attacks – all the way to Beer Sheva – and some Israeli bombings in the Strip. Sort of how boxers sniff each other out in the early rounds. The pundits, so far, are split – some say the fight could go either way: cool down, or blow up.
But what you usually don’t read in the media is pundits even try to explain how we got here. Again. For the umpteenth time. Apparently that doesn’t sell papers..
Allow me. What got us here – again – is lack of leadership. And when so called “leaders” do nothing, they create a vacuum, which is eventually filled by events on the ground.
In the U.S., you have a weak president. A president who should have come and visited the Israeli people the minute he left Cairo, and told them what’s right for them. A president who should have been able to get more than a 10 month settlement freeze out of its ally. And a president who should not have even attempted to disgrace himself by bribing an Israeli prime minister with war planes, just so he could get 90 days free of building in the West Bank.
In Israel, you have a weak prime minister. One who doesn’t lead, only reacts. A prime minister who only moves on any issue once the public pressure kicks in. A prime minister who only thinks suddenly about drawing up a peace plan because he’s been reprimanded by Europe’s most powerful leader over the phone. A prime minister who actually breathed a sigh of relief when terror hit Jerusalem – for him, it meant the perfect excuse to stall even longer.
When leaders do nothing to change “the situation”, “the situation” proves to have a life of its own.
When no one does nothing to fill the vacuum of leadership, that vacuum is quickly filled. Much sooner than you think.