Thursday December 18, 2014
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18.12.2014
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MK Otniel Schneller

Toward a Pillar of Fire against Iran

Full disclosure: On the eve of the cease-fire decision, I believed it was important to carry out a limited ground operation. It would prove our determination and readiness for a broader operation in Gaza, improve the cease-fire conditions, release the "spring" of the reserve army's power and create a positive feeling for most Israelis. Despite this, however, I am happy about the political echelon's decision to stop the operation when it did. The purpose of a military operation is to improve the strategic situation of this country.

The measure of deterrence achieved will be tested only in the future, when the "price" the enemy is really willing to absorb becomes clear. Commentators, and all those who claim to be such, analyze the impact of the operation on Hamas' military infrastructure, but they don't have the full intelligence information required to do so. That is not the crucial dimension, however, by which to examine the level of implementation of our strategic goal to lead to a desired reality.

So what really has changed? Our main goal is to eliminate the Iranian nuclear option and to ensure the existence and security of Israel. Ending Operation Pillar of Defense, with its many achievements and the conditions that prevailed after, improves our reality in the face of the Iranian threat. The international support we received from the West and from the president of the United States stemmed not only from Gaza's terrorist aggression, but also from the nature of the diplomatic dialogue that Israel conducted, which took into consideration the interests of its Western allies and assurances not to damage them. Thus we created a new and more convenient starting point to realize the U.S.'s and the Western world's commitment to taking necessary measures against Iran's nuclear program. Moreover, Egypt, to date, has established itself as the "kingpin" of the Sunni axis in the face of the radical Shiite axis led by Iran.

The Muslim Brotherhood's pressure to bring about an "Arab Spring" of great importance in our neighboring country, the Kingdom of Jordan, has been restrained to a certain extent. Direct and indirect dialogue between Israel and moderate Islam, based on common interests, is grounded and becoming stronger, especially important on the backdrop of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' petition to the United Nations for international recognition. It should be clear that if we find ourselves in the foreseeable future in a regional conflict, the threat to Israel's south will be significantly lower due to Hamas' reduced military capabilities and subject to the internalization of Israel's power of deterrence.

Regrettably, there are many among our glorious politicians who don't see all this and damage Israel's national interests with their words. Most people in the country fully understand that using this cease-fire opportunity now, at a peak in the diplomatic-security realm on the one hand, while maintaining the IDF's maximum strength and ensuring quiet in the south for an extended period on the other hand, is an important and unparalleled strategic decision. This decision allows Israel to use the necessary "pillar of fire" against Iran and, thereby, ensure Israel's status and future.

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