Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, it has fought several wars, and concluded (and broken) several truces, with the Jewish state. Jerusalem has hoped to prevent it from rearming by joining with Egypt in imposing a blockade, to punish violence with force, and—as the favored term of the security establishment goes—reward “quiet with quiet.” What it has not done is try to dislodge the group or reoccupy the Strip. Pnina Shuker argues for a more proactive strategy, without embracing such radical measures:
There is arguably no greater symbol of Israel’s reluctance to go on the military offensive than the Hamas observation and sniper tower which overlooks the Israeli community of Netiv Ha’asara. This simple structure, erected around half a year ago, was built to threaten by its presence hundreds if not thousands of Israeli civilians—men, women, and children—going about their daily lives. Its continued presence is an affront to the security that the state of Israel is supposed to provide to every single one of its citizens.
After rocket fire from Gaza into Israel [on June 18], Israel responded with a few strikes, including on the cabin of the observation tower, destroying it but not the structure itself, meaning it could be easily and speedily rebuilt. Which it was only a few days later.
Unfortunately, this episode sends another clear message to Hamas and other enemies of Israel that they are winning, and the Jewish state will only react to events lightly and not take the necessary steps to defeat them.
What Israel and its citizens need is an offensive policy, a strategy which does not wait for the other side to threaten or strike, but that puts it constantly on the run and fearing for its existence. . . . Israel must take out the observation tower once and for all, without warning or care for those manning it. This is a relatively minor action, but can signal the start of a new strategy that will change the equation and lead Israel towards victory.