(Republished November 2016)
The Gaza War (Miv’tza Tzuk Eitan, lit. “Operation Strong Cliff”) was a military operation launched by Israel on 8 July 2014 in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in retaliation to the kidnapping and murdering of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists. What started as a limited response to the terrorist attack, was quickly escalated into a seven weeks of continuous rocket launches from Gaza to densely populated areas in Israel, and Israeli invasion into Gaza to put a stop to it. In many ways this war was a continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it was also a first of its kind and a game changer in the way battlefield will look like in the future, not just in Israel, but worldwide.
The war started on 8 July 2014, just at the beginning of the summer vacation in America when the country was full with tourists. Many of them young American Jewish students, some of them were my immediate family. I have a large family in Israel. Some of my relatives were with the IDF forces in Gaza. My daughter, my sister-in-law, and two of my nieces were visiting Tel Aviv when the war started. They spent many hours in improvised bomb shelters, I was glued to the radio. I called often to check on them. On weekends, I participated in events in the Miami area in support of Israel. During the war, Israeli TV channels covered the funerals and personal stories of fallen Israeli soldiers and civilians. It got to a point that it became too painful to watch. I still have memories of many of these sad stories as if it happened yesterday.
As soon as the war ended, I published the article Why Israel won – The seven mistakes Hamas made in the Gaza war. It became popular very quickly and was republished by many websites. At the same period I also published the articles:
When read together, these shade a light on f how the war was experienced by Israelis.
I’m sure that a lot of pain was also inflected on innocent Palestinians, who were trapped in the Gaza strip, caught between Hamas terrorists, who used them as human shields’ and the Israeli forces who tried to stop the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. I hope that one day I’ll be able to share their stories as well. If you’ve been in the Gaza strip, or Israel, during the war, and you want to publish your personal story, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Israeli border with Gaza has been mostly calm since the war ended. Many feel that it is just a matter of time until rockets are fired again on Israeli cities from Gaza. Let’s hope that the lesson from the last war was learned and that in the future conflicts will be resolved in other means.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Gaza war of 2014, I would think that it would be that violence accomplishes nothing, accept for inflicting tremendous pain on innocent people on all sides.
The cease fire that no one trusted at the time is still holding. Perhaps the lesson was learned. I truly want to believe it. However, I have the feeling that it has more to do with the change in the geopolitical landscape: The end of the Arab Spring, the Iranian nuclear deal, the US election, the resumption of diplomatic relationships between Israel and Turkey, the war in Syria, the global fear from a potential ISIS expansion, and most of all, the joint effort by Israel and Egypt to end terror attacks on their cities from the area around the Gaza Strip.