Op-ed: Cabinet ministers are busy putting on a political show, making grand threats to flatten the Gaza Strip. It’s a good thing the IDF and its chief are there to ‘rein them in,’ otherwise they’ll have to launch a war they don’t really want.

What are the Cabinet ministers going to do when the IDF chief finishes his term? Who will be their lightning rod in the coming winter? Who will they project their political frustrations on?

The prime minister visits the Gaza Division, makes threats, but in the end takes a very moderate position on a military solution in Gaza, because the IDF “doesn’t recommend it.” It’s a good thing we have the IDF, otherwise he would’ve made good on his threats, against his own will.

Lieberman and Bennett, who have been squabbling over who will be the defense minister in the next government, have already “flattened Gaza” with airstrikes three or four times over the past few months. It’s a good thing the IDF “opposes.” Otherwise the Cabinet would’ve ordered the Air Force to carry out the dumbest move imaginable: bombing areas of Gaza in response to rioting on the border and incendiary balloons.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman hold situation assessment at the Gaza Division (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman hold situation assessment at the Gaza Division (Photo: Hagai Dekel)


Now Lieberman announces he’s resuming the supply of Qatari-funded fuel to Gaza, because the security services recommended it. Not because it is necessary and important, or to prevent an unnecessary conflict at zero cost, but because the IDF and its heads are all merciful and can’t see the Gaza residents meeting the upcoming winter storm without electricity and heating.

The Cabinet ministers have been playing this game for months. Time and time again the IDF “saves” them from their own declarations, and they in turn present the IDF and its chief as spineless defeatists. No Cabinet before them has ever dared erode the image of the IDF chief and the military just to fuel a dubious political maneuver.

At no point did the IDF claim it was not ready to carry out the order of taking over the strip. The question that always comes up is: what is there to gain from it, on the day after?

And this is where it ends. Even when the Cabinet convened after the rockets that hit Be’er Sheva and the sea off the shores of a central Israeli city, the IDF didn’t have to work very hard to convince the ministers this rocket fire was the result of a “higher power.” The story of a lightning strike that set off the rocket launcher is just one possibility of what happened, and not the most convincing one. But the ministers happily bought it, so they don’t have to make good on their rhetoric, calling to burn down the place.

The Gaza front is ready for a military conflict, and it would only take a spark to light this fire. But the diplomatic purpose doesn’t exist yet. Even the defense establishment believes a conflict is inevitable, and all that’s left is to postpone it to a more convenient timing—one that allows Israel to make some diplomatic gain from it.

IDF chief Eisenkot (Photo: Amit Hoover)
IDF chief Eisenkot (Photo: Amit Hoover)


And so the defense minister’s decision this week to resume the supply of Qatari-funded fuel to the power station in Gaza was not a humanitarian move, but rather entirely realpolitik: Just as Israel reduced its operations in Syria, because the Russians had to be calmed down; just as the IDF is not bombing in Lebanon, for fear of a war in the north; and just as Israel doesn’t take action against threats from other countries in the region, because the Americans vetoed it.

So they put on a political show in the Cabinet room, but outside that room there’s the real world. This dissonance, between the aggressive delusions and the realpolitik—which is a turn off for the national erection—is what they throw at the IDF chief. They turned him into a political trash can, and they expect him to remain silent about it.

This weekend, as well, will see on the Gaza border an event of a similar magnitude to last week. The protests won’t stop, because they constitute an optimal recipe that has been allowing Hamas to display resistance without going to war for seven months now. If the protests stop without a concrete achievement, Hamas would have a hard time recreating the momentum gained.

Hamas also won’t settle for the fuel Lieberman allowed into the strip. The terror group wants the Qatari money it was promised, so it could pay salaries to its members. It is in Israel’s interest for money to go into the Gaza Strip, but Israel can’t agree to serve as a channel to transfer funds to a terror organization. So what can we do? Where’s the creativity? Where’s the “Swedish banker” to come from Egypt with a briefcase full of money?

As reported by Ynetnews