Israel's Unilateral Move: Preferable to a Bad Agreement with a Terrorist Organization

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Amos Yadlin - Israel chose an alternative that, at least in the short term, places Hamas in a difficult strategic position. Israel regained international legitimacy for its actions; Hamas was again cast as a terrorist organization lacking all credibility that for the sixth time violated a cease-fire that Egypt and the international community initiated and Israel accepted. Israel decided to deny Hamas veto power over cease-fires and took the initiative back into its own hands, clarifying that it was not negotiating with Hamas and not granting it any achievement, neither in terms of a cease-fire nor in terms of an agreement. By its action, Israel establishes four premises that present Hamas with a new strategic situation: 1.The demands for which Hamas went to war are no longer on the table. Hamas is left without the siege being lifted, without an airport or seaport, without salaries, without prisoner releases, and without the reconstruction of Gaza. 2.Hamas is left with a Gaza in ruins, a humanitarian crisis, hundreds of dead, thousands of wounded, one-quarter of a million refugees - and no way to deal with it. 3.If Hamas continues to fire at Israel, despite Israel's vastly superior firepower, Israel will continue to pummel Hamas. Its political and military leadership will continue to live in underground bunkers. 4.Unlike in previous rounds of fighting, Israel and Egypt will ensure that Hamas will be unable to rebuild its force - Egypt by continuing to prevent smuggling and Israel by the freedom of action it has reserved for itself to prevent Hamas' force build-up. Should Hamas continue the current level of rocket fire at Israel, this will force the Israeli government to reconsider the option of expanding the military operation - one that enjoyed a greater element of surprise, and was free of the need to deal with the attack tunnels. Should Hamas choose the "drizzle option," i.e., returning to the situation of limited fire on the Israeli communities bordering Gaza, Israel will have to make it clear that the policy of response preceding Operation Protective Edge is no longer valid and that any fire will be met with an extreme response. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, director of INSS, served as the IDF's chief of Defense Intelligence.

2014-08-04 00:00:00

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