November 30, 2023

War is very unpredictable. That’s why leaders of the war effort need to be cautious with their statements, as circumstances can change rapidly. As it says in Ecclesiastes (5:4), it’s better not to make vows that cannot be fulfilled.

The recent decision by the government to allow fuel into Gaza exemplifies this. Just a few weeks ago, Israel had imposed a complete siege on Gaza, refusing to allow any fuel or humanitarian aid into the area. However, under pressure from the US and other countries, Israel began permitting humanitarian aid but not fuel, which it viewed as crucial to Hamas’s war efforts.

Allowing aid into Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had initially stated that no gasoline would enter Gaza without the release of Israeli hostages. But despite these statements, fuel began flowing into Gaza for humanitarian purposes.

Netanyahu defended this change, arguing that it was necessary for humanitarian reasons and to maintain international legitimacy for Israel’s war effort.

While this strategic shift may be justified, it does raise concerns about the credibility of Israel’s redlines and the perception of weakness. Setting and crossing redlines can undermine a country’s position during a war.

Crossing the redline

Israel’s decision to cross its own redline radiates a sense of vulnerability, indicating that pressure can lead to a change in position. This can be detrimental in a war scenario.

It’s crucial for political and military leaders to be mindful of their statements and commitments, especially during a war where circumstances are constantly evolving. Setting and upholding redlines is essential for maintaining a strong and credible position during conflicts.

It’s better not to set a redline at all than to set one and then cross it, as this can diminish a country’s credibility and strength in a time of war.