(written by Doron Shabti, a social worker and an IDF reservist)
As you are reading this, I'm back reserve duty and going off the grid, so it's time to remind my left-wing friends that I am a Zionist. Or: Why do I think that a permanent ceasefire (not a temporary pause in exchange for the release of hostages, that's fine) is an immoral and unethical idea? Three main reasons:
1. Because of October 7th. It's not about demonstrating strength or revenge or any other nonsense. It's a policy conclusion. In contrast to the image that many (each from their perspective) try to create, Hamas's intentions were not a secret, even if we underestimated its capability to execute them. We knew all too well that ceasefires and truces, obtained time after time in tactical surrender ("arrangements" under fire, for example), do not solve the problem.
The motivation remains the same, the next war is inevitable, and the ceasefire is used by Hamas to concentrate every effort is has and every resource it acquires to improve its ability to slaughter us.
I've had countless conversations and discussions with a variety of people, from left-wing middle-east scholars and academics through government representatives to senior military officials. They all conveyed the same message: we prefer quiet, even if it's tactical. Because Hamas is an actor we can communicate with, because Israel is a Western country seeking order and stability, and because our intelligence and technological advantage will always ensure that our defense is superior.
I didn't agree with this analysis, but it was still a legitimate point of disagreement. After October 7th, seeing the consequences of a successful Hamas attack, this debate ended for me. Israel cannot tolerate a heavily armed Gaza next to it. To see the images and hear senior Hamas officials demanding a ceasefire while declaring that for them the October 7 Masacare is only the trailer, to be repeated over and over, is simply morally objectionable to me.
There is nothing pacifist about giving time and quiet to a pile of murderous lunatics to gather their strength, draw lessons, and successfully complete the job they began in Simhat Torah.
On the other hand, there are those who argue that the story is about the tactical failures. If only the wall was stronger, the intelligence more precise, and the defending units more staffed, then everything would be fine. In my view, this is a continuation of the racist and misguided perception that the other side is a bunch of idiots whose success is first-and-foremost our failure.
Israel has invested significant resources for decades in developing some of the best defense systems. Aerial defense, in the underground, and a physical barrier. On the other side stood a determined, skilled adversary without constraints who learned us for years, conducted experiments (during Gaurdian of the Walls, for example), learned from its failures, and tried again.
What would have happened if we had deciphere the warning signs and prepared ourselves? What happened in the Passover night. Hamas would have delay the plan, drawn conclusions, and executed a better operation next time. When you play bunker, sooner or later, they will score against you; they only need to be successful once.
How does a score look? Feel free to revisit the pictures of horror: parents burning with their children, rape, and dismemberment. That is the meaning of living next to an armed Gaza. That is the meaning of agreeing to a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, which declares that it is only the beginning.
2. Continuing from point 1, because getting addicted to ceasefires only raises the already horrific human cost. In 2008, we could have toppled Hamas, and that likely would have meant the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands more Gazans. We stopped where we stopped. In 2014, we could have done it again. Here, it probably would have meant many more thousands. We stopped. Now we are in the tens of thousands.
Given a heavily armed Gaza led by Hamas, I don't see an alternative path other than what is happening now. However, with each round, Hamas learns better how to defend itself using civilian populations, making the images even more difficult. Supporting a ceasefire now will not lead to fewer deaths, just as taking a loan with interest is not an economic balance. You're buying calm now only to be in double trouble later.
3. Because the success of Hamas's fighting strategy will have destructive and truly horrible consequences for human life in conflicts against terrorism in Israel and beyond. I've talked about this in the past, but it's clear to me and those around me at this stage that for weeks now, Hamas has been building on one thing that will save it - the world. The aspiration to create hills of Israeli corpses in the early stages of the fighting did not work and likely would not have been beneficial. The noose around Hamas tightens. What will save it is an international demand to stop - the ceasefire.
This happens when there are many civilian casualties. So, Hamas directly acts towards that end. I emphasize: it doesn't use them as human shields but directly acts so that its citizens will be killed by the numbers, because that is its salvation. How?
My unit was responsible for the humanitarian corridor. The main work there was to prevent Hamas, in various ways, from creating warfare while Gazan civilians pass through (for example, by explosive cars or mortar shells) to ensure that as many Gazans as possible would be killed.
I'm not trying to absolve Israeli failiures or the spread of Jewish Supremacy and Kahanism here. I'm reflecting my observation and that of everyone I spoke to on the ground. And if this cruel tactic succeeds, the history of dealing with Hamas shows that it will become its norm: to ensure that as many of their civilians are slaughtered so that the world says there was enough killing and a ceasefire is now needed.
Therefore, in my view, calls for a ceasefire are not moral. It is collaborating with Hamas's demand for time to regroup and arm, ensuring that in the next, inevitable war, the price will be even higher and proving to Hamas that slaughtering its civilians pays off and should continue. Oh, and leave me and my children to the bunch of psychos who murder and rape everything that moves.