Shooting fish in a barrel...
The Israeli media marked the one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the war on Gaza, almost as a celebration. The operation is recognised almost unanimously in Israel as a military triumph, a combat victory over one of
As combat soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), we have serious doubts about this conclusion, primarily because hardly any combat against Hamas took place during the operation. As soon as the operation started, Hamas went underground.
Most casualties were inflicted on Palestinians by air strikes, artillery fire, and snipers from afar. Combat victory? Shooting fish in a barrel is more like it. Operation Cast Lead consisted essentially of bombing one of the most crowded places on earth, striking civilian targets such as homes, schools and mosques, and ultimately leaving a trail of more than 1,300 casualties, mostly civilians, over 300 of whom were children. As soldiers of the IDF reserves, we bow our heads in shame against this hideous attack on a civilian population.
As for the goals of the operation, these too are questionable. Allegedly, operation Cast Lead was intended to stop the firing of missiles by Hamas. But the Qassam missile problem had been solved before the operation started. The ceasefire agreement between Hamas and
The true goal of this operation was different from the one announced by Israeli officials. The real objective was not to stop the Qassams but to overthrow the Hamas government. As such, the operation failed. Hamas in
A year after this brutal war, a change of strategy is needed.
First, because Hamas was democratically elected in
Second, Hamas has proven capable of delivering peace and quiet to the citizens of southern
Third, a prisoner exchange deal is our only chance to bring back the abducted IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit. In return,
Hamas is currently
• Arik Diamant and David Zonsheine are the founders of Courage to Refuse, a movement of Israeli reserve soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied territories. In November 2009 they launched an initiative calling