Israel Must Be Permitted to Crush Hamas

(Washington Post) Michael Oren - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of Great Britain and France all are rushing to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Their motive - to end civilian suffering - is noble. The images of the wounded and dead are indeed agonizing. However, these senior statesmen can be most helpful now by doing nothing. To preserve the values they cherish and to send an unequivocal message to terrorist organizations and their state sponsors everywhere, Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas in Gaza. This is the lesson of previous rounds of fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and terrorist strongholds. In Lebanon in 2006 and in Gaza in 2008 and again in 2012, Israel responded to rocket attacks on its cities with fierce counteroffensives. Israel's best efforts to avoid civilian casualties invariably proved limited. Incensed world opinion compelled Israel to back down. And the terrorists, though badly mauled, won. Under the protection of cease-fires and, in some cases, international peacekeepers, they vastly expanded their arsenals to include more lethal and longer-range missiles. They created a warren of bombproof bunkers and assault tunnels. Such measures enabled Hamas, as well as Hizbullah, to mount devastating attacks at the time of their choosing. Responsible world leaders can give Israel the time it needs to create an outcome in which Hamas is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all, thousands of innocent lives will be saved. And by letting Israel regain its security with regard to Gaza - with all the pain it entails - the U.S. and its allies will be safeguarding their own. To ensure that the current fighting concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world's fundamental interest. The writer, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, is a fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

2014-07-27 00:00:00

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