How should we react to the cease-fire agreement that went into effect on Wednesday night? This is not a simple question, because our brains support the agreement but our stomachs are uneasy about it.
Our brains are fans because Hamas took a major hit. Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari left the arena forever and most of the long-range rockets Hamas could launch were destroyed.
Our brains say yes because the West, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, supported the operation and reiterated Israel's right to defend itself. Obama spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu daily and worked with him in full cooperation, despite predictions that after the U.S. elections Obama would take his revenge on Netanyahu.
Our brains support the agreement because Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program and the centrifuges continue to spin. It's good to know that Washington and Jerusalem know how to work in conjunction.
Our brains support the agreement because the world media covered recent events in the Middle East in a balanced way. The Israeli victims, sitting in shelters, suddenly had a face for the world, while Hamas was displayed exactly for what it is, a terrorist organization. Our brains support the agreement because the Israel Defense Forces accomplished their mission and the reserve forces demonstrated as much enthusiasm as newly enlisted young soldiers.
Our brains support the agreement because Israeli citizens demonstrated courage, brotherhood and an understanding of this operation's vitality. Israelis were ready to pay the necessary price of sitting in protected rooms for long periods of time. Just for those people, we must return to our normal daily routines.
But our stomachs are churning because even if we won, it was not a decisive victory. In the world of imagery in which we all live, the sense of victory is no less important than the win itself. We must admit that the operation ended with Hamas raising its head. We would prefer to see the operation end with a headless Hamas.
Our stomachs are churning because Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has suddenly taken charge of the lifeguard's tower in the Middle East. Despite the enthusiasm of many in recent days, we don't expect many surprises from Morsi. He will not join the Lovers of Zion. We can assume that the Egyptian president, now the new leader of the Arab world, did everything he could to prevent an IDF ground operation in Gaza. Even those who didn't want Morsi elected president of Egypt now have to accept him as regional security guard.
Operation Pillar of Defense proved conclusively that a new Middle East really was born. We now have the full cooperation and almost complete trust of Obama as well as Morsi, the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey chose a side and preferred to maintain its cool detachment from Israel, even at the expense of giving up its dominant position in the region. Most of all, we have the IDF, which sees how its room to maneuver is shrinking due to declining channels to the Arab world.
No doubt our national pride cracked a bit when Tel Avivians ran into the bomb shelters, Jerusalem heard warning sirens and communities in the south took major hits. The number of victims was small, though, thanks to the incredible Iron Dome.
So it may be true that Gaza celebrated. But, between us, where would you rather have been during the last week: in Ashkelon and Sederot, or in Gaza? For a change, perhaps the brain really won out. Our stomachs may have heaved but hopefully they will now be able to settle down and digest matters.