To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas

(New York Times) Amos Yadlin - Until now, Israel assumed Hamas was the "devil we know," capable of attacks that were mostly a nuisance; accepting its rule over Gaza was preferable to risking a vacuum of governance like what we see in Somalia and Libya. But Hamas' reckless violence in the current round of fighting severely undermined this thinking. The latest round of warfare showed that Hamas had become more dangerous, and its offensive capacity stronger, than we had known. Its ability to threaten Israeli towns through its tunnels and to rain rockets on Israeli cities raised what had been a nuisance to a challenge of strategic proportions. For these reasons, Hamas' rule over Gaza must be brought to an end, its military wing disarmed. Any cease-fire must carry the condition that Hamas cannot rearm. What led to this outbreak was a willingness, in previous cease-fire agreements, to let Hamas rebuild its offensive capabilities. This reality must not be repeated. Gazans know that Hamas is to blame for their staying in neighborhoods about to be bombarded, for hiding rocket depots in their children's schoolyards, for digging tunnels under mosques. A political solution is always better than a military one. But to achieve that political solution, Israel must first arrive at cease-fire negotiations from a position of strength. For that, a significant price must be extracted from Hamas. Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, the chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2014-07-27 00:00:00

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