Saturday August 2, 2014
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01.08.2014
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Uzi Baram

After the cease-fire, elections

I am happy that Operation Pillar of Defense ended. In my opinion, the way it ended was reasonable, and I wish there had been a cease-fire even sooner. But I must say that even if MKs Nitzan Horowitz and Zahava Gal-On of Meretz had been the leaders, it would not have looked any different. Even the Zionist Left and centrist political circles sang the slogans of "destroy Hamas" or "bring Hamas to its knees," even if these slogans were all created by the Israeli Right.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman patting himself on the back. The same foreign minister, who once suggested bombing Egypt's Aswan Dam and spoke about the elimination of Hamas as an ultimate goal, now welcomes the effectiveness of the Israeli public relations system and the broad discretion underlying this operation against Hamas.

Enough with the political differences among us. There are different camps and conductors as well as members of the media, and the conflicts between them are obvious. It is doubtful whether their rifts can be healed, however, and in such a situation, there is no room for dress-up games and rolling of eyes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pale and weary, appeared before the people and spoke of how the most recent Gaza Strip campaign achieved its goals. As a public relations artist, he also pointed out those achievements one by one. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Lieberman and Netanyahu complimented one another for melting the rockets over the aching south and we all talk about a sense of "victory."

In my opinion, a cease-fire agreement is reasonable and reflects the sad truth about the shifting power relations between us and the Arab world. But anyone who wants to write hundreds of articles to challenge the approach I represent is sitting tight-lipped at the keyboard right now, publishing articles praising the discretion exercised by those in charge of the recent operation.

Netanyahu is highly likely to be the next prime minister. He had the same chance even without the recent military operation, so I am not of the opinion that it was a promotion for him. Regarding the outcome of the operation, it was a win not for any individual but for the common sense and political realism that columnists and speech makers have so mocked in recent years.

The government concentrated enormous power for the possibility of a ground operation, in addition to the forces in the air. This entry into Gaza was hoped to be the oil in the wheels of motivation and belief for forces on the political Right. But I never thought for a moment that the government would actualize the strength and capabilities of the IDF and send ground forces into Gaza. That option didn't really exist, either on a national or international level.

It's too bad Liebermen lauded the achievements of the operation but experienced no change in his consciousness. Neither was there a change of consciousness for the Israeli population. Part of the population is happy with the cease-fire and another part regrets the "missed opportunity." A negative change of consciousness for some in Israel encourages Hamas, the Palestinians and the Arab world, led by Egypt, where bonfires have been lit in honor of the "achievements" and they have raised the flags of "victory."

"So what do we do?" One might ask; and no answer is heard, either simple or complex. We are a Jewish minority in an Arab world in which Islamic power is growing. Our duty is to create the possibility for a shared life. Saying we have "no partner" is a mental and cognitive effort of evasion. We must throw out all the old patterns of thinking and adopt a new way. But it will not happen either today or tomorrow. Why? Because there are elections.

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