Hamas has been hit hard. Harder than ever before. It nevertheless needs to be hit much harder, until it is dismantled by diplomatic or military means.
Nothing short of that will do.
Operation Protective Edge has yet to come to an official end. It has moved from ground offensive to diplomatic maneuvering while keeping forces on high alert. The final results and repercussions are still to be set.
The terms and conditions for Hamas’s removal are almost ideal today. The responsible part of the international community, led by countries like Canada and the UK, the relatively moderate Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, have all had enough of Hamas. Above all, almost all Israelis are also fed up. They have already paid a heavy price and are willing to go the distance to put an end to Hamas. Egyptians, Saudis and moderate Palestinians are united as never before in their desire to see Gaza freed from Hamas rule.
Clearly this is not a simple task, but any alternative is unacceptable.
Hamas, an organization established in 1987, regards itself as the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Palestine and in accordance to articles 6, 7 and 13 of its charter it has one overarching objective – the destruction of the State of Israel. It is also a vulgarly racist and anti-Semitic organization, as is evident from articles 22, 28 and 32 of the same charter that among other perversions make reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as “proof” of Hamas’s just battle against the Jewish people that “rule the world.”
Such an organization should not be legitimized or negotiated with. Directly or indirectly. It should be annihilated.
In a recent New York Times interview, US President Barack Obama summed up his policy on conflicts in general and the one between Israelis and Palestinians as “No victor, no vanquished and work together.”
Obama is wrong. Victory must be achieved. Hamas must be dismantled.
And yes, it can be done, Mr. President.
Contrary to the widely held view, terrorism does come to and end. Most terrorist campaigns have. Many and much more sophisticated organizations than Hamas have been eradicated. Peru’s Shining Path, Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, who specialized in suicide bombings well before the Hamas made them its trademark, Japan’s Aum Shinrinkyo that made use of chemical agents in a Tokyo subway and of course the IRA, just to mention a few.
These organizations were once thought by many to be invincible and today are history. Hamas is no different. The IDF is fully capable of finishing the job. Hamas, as an armed organization, can and should be put to rest. This will give hope for peace and prosperity to the people of the region.
That is the duty of any responsible government that sees security as its highest priority.
There are many speculations as to what will follow Hamas. Will they be as bad or maybe worse? Will the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or another organization of its ilk, mistakenly viewed by some to be more radical than Hamas, take over? Will it be a cunningly mild-mannered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas? Or will it be an international force? One thing, though, is certain: The body that succeeds Hamas will know that the last organization that terrorized Israel was terminated. That might deter it from acting in a similar manner.
The author is a PhD candidate at Haifa University and a research fellow at the International Counter-Terrorism (ICT) institute in Herzliya.