The murder of four innocent Israeli citizens by Palestinian terrorists near
Hebron, and the attack near Ramallah in which two more were wounded, have proven
that PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not have the ability to rein in terror.
Once again, we are getting ahead of ourselves by trying to resolve the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the Palestinian-Palestinian conflict has
been properly addressed.
As the world focuses on Washington for yet
another round of talks, we should ask ourselves if it would perhaps be more
productive to take advantage of this meeting and work together with all the
parties present in Washington to resolve a more immediate problem. Hamas, the
terrorist organization which took responsibility for the recent deadly spate of
terror, controls the Gaza Strip, where Iranian-supported terrorists are plotting
to plunge the entire region back into the Dark Ages.
indifferent gaze of the West, a brutal, Taliban-style Islamist regime is
emerging in Gaza. Having forcefully taken control of the area following
unilateral disengagement in 2005, Hamas has intensified its reign of terror,
first and foremost against the innocent Palestinian people living
Following the disengagement, in which Israel voluntarily left
every inch of the territory in the hands of Abbas’s PA, Hamas took control of
Gaza in a bloody coup that has derailed any chance for peace in the region.
Hamas’s continued, unequivocal refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist
while actively calling for, and planning its destruction renders the possibility
of compromise a completely unrealistic option.
WHEN WE left Gaza, it was
assumed that those claiming they were trying to liberate the territory from our
yoke would cease attacking the Jewish state and instead focus on building a free
and prosperous home for the Palestinian people. Instead, with the help of their
Iranian sponsors, missile attacks from the Hamas-controlled territory increased
by 500 percent.
From different published reports it is well known that
Hamas’s arsenal now stands at more than 5,000 rockets – including long-range
missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.
Even more worrisome are the
reports that since Operation Cast Lead, Iran has invested millions in rebuilding
Hamas’s ground forces, and is sending a steady stream of men to training camps
in Syria and Lebanon, and even to Iran, to learn advanced military techniques
from the Revolutionary Guard.
It is US President Barack Obama’s stated
hope for us to reach an agreement with Abbas within one year. But even if we are
able to achieve this unlikely goal, and even if he is able to rein in the
terrorists throughout Judea and Samaria (a seemingly unlikely scenario based on
last week’s attacks), Hamas would still be able to hold our major population
centers hostage from Gaza with the threat of rocket attacks.
WHILE international flotillas are sent to break the naval blockade on weapons
smuggling into Gaza, the real siege continues as the Hamas government
intensifies its holy war against its own people.
Stringent and oppressive
Islamist doctrine is being forced upon the people of Gaza . Hundreds
arrested for having the courage to speak out against the system, while
perceived as collaborators are routinely executed.
Leaving aside the
question of whether it is possible for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
succeed in achieving a true and lasting peace with this partner, how do
Obama intend to reach an agreement while the issue of Gaza is largely
We must instead focus – together with our American and Egyptian allies
international community – on tightening the restrictions placed on the
regime. At the same time, we must consider all other options – with
inherent risks – that will lead to this terrorist organization’s
We cannot bury our heads in the sand any longer and deny that
this terrorist theocracy exists along our southern border, repressing
people while threatening the innocent citizens of Israel. Let’s solve
problem of Gaza first before getting ahead of ourselves and hastily
half-baked agreements which cannot be realistically implemented.
writer is deputy speaker of the Knesset and the chairman of World Likud.