The Israeli government has been at a loss of what to do as rockets reigned down from Gaza for eight years. Three years ago the government decided to blame the attacks on the Israeli's living in Gaza by forcibly removing them from their home. The following summer 3 soldiers were kidnapped and Israel responded by going to war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The government drew public support from the belief that they intended to bring two of the soldiers home.
Under international pressure Israel agreed to a cease fire. The management of the war was an embarrassment and PM Olmert took most of the blame. Israel eventually traded the most disgusting of Lebanese prisoners and captured Hezbollah fighters in exchange for two dead soldiers. The government ignorantly claimed the deal would not factor the ability to bring Gilad Shalit home who was being held by Hamas.
The air raid sirens kept wailing, as the rockets kept falling. A six month truce was put into effect, although it did not stop all of the rockets fired at Israel. Even under attack Israel begged for the agreement to be extended. Hamas rejected the request and increased their attacks in order to draw Israel into a war. Israel caught Hamas by surprise by hitting them hard.
The government finally showed that they were going to protect their citizens. Israeli's were supportive of the decision and rallied to support the troops. The government showed courage by standing up to world pressure and refusing to halt operations in the early days of the war.
The IDF spent a great deal of effort to minimize civilian casualties. Phone calls, text messages were sent to warn civilians to retreat to safety. The response to these calls usually resulted in civilians rallying to the target point to stop the destruction. The IDF had a special missile called a door knocker that would do enough damage to scare away the civilians without causing any really damage. Humanitarian Aid was allowed to flow while the world complained that it was being blocked. Pressure from around the world grew as the death toll climbed.
On Saturday night the Israeli government decided to announce all their goals were met and declared a unilateral ceasefire. Israel would wait up to 10 days for Hamas to stop shooting and pull out of Gaza. The border crossings would be open. It took less then 19 minutes from the time the ceasefire went into effect until the IDF responded to a rocket launch.
Hamas launched a dozen rockets towards Israel to show that ceasefire meant nothing before declaring their own ceasefire. This one would last only 7 days and had the additional requirement of all IDF soldiers to once again leave Gaza.
What has the war accomplished? The IDF has left Gaza in haste in preparation for the inauguration of Obama. Gilad Shalit is still a prisoner. While the UN calls for Israel to be investigated for war crimes, he has been denied visits from the Red Cross without any notice from the International community. The borders will be opened as Hamas has always wanted. Olmert has said that Israel can always go back in, if rockets are fired again. So Hamas will send 3-6 rockets a day. The world community would not tolerate an Israeli response to such a 'minor' threat. The government promised a new reality on the ground. Instead they declared, things should go back to the way it was.
PM Olmert has now botched two wars. Israel needs a better system to get rid of incompetent politicians.