The Gaza Cease-Fire Fiasco

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - As Israel's ground incursion into Gaza enters its third week, the goal of America's foremost ally in the region is clear. It must degrade Hamas as a military and political force to the greatest extent possible. That means destroying the rockets the terror group hasn't yet fired at Israel and especially collapsing the network of tunnels used for smuggling weapons and infiltrating into Israel. The irony is that Israel's immediate Arab neighbors privately want it to succeed. Jordan wants no part of a Palestinian state run by Hamas, and neither do the Saudis or Egypt's military government. The Fatah Palestinian faction that runs the West Bank also wants Hamas to emerge weaker. Surely the White House knows this. Yet over the weekend Secretary of State Kerry blundered into the conflict promoting a cease-fire floated by Turkey and Qatar that was close to the terms demanded by Hamas. We're told Mr. Kerry is upset about being criticized publicly by an ally, but Israel is a free society and the U.S. doesn't get to impose a gag order. The upshot of the Kerry-Obama plan is that Hamas feels it has even less reason to agree to a cease-fire because sooner or later the Americans will force Israel to stand down. If the President and Mr. Kerry really want to roll back the tide of war, here's a suggestion: Forget the chatter about a cease-fire. Issue statements that support Israel's right to defend itself and that make clear that the way Hamas can stop Israel's incursions is by stopping its terrorism against civilians in Israel and Gaza.

2014-07-29 00:00:00

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