For the Sake of Peace, Israel Must Rout Hamas

(New York Times) Bret Stephens - Gaza is often said to be utterly destitute. Yet Hamas, which rules Gaza, seems not to have had too much trouble amassing the 1,750 rockets it has so far fired at Israel. The usual rule in life is that if you throw the first punch, you can't complain if you're counterpunched. It can't be emphasized enough, especially among those who think of themselves as pro-Palestinian: If you want a Palestinian state to exist and succeed, you must also want Hamas to be humiliated and defeated. Hamas' sole aim for over 30 years has been to turn a difficult, but potentially negotiable, conflict into a nonnegotiable, zero-sum holy war. That strategy has to be proved a loser before Palestinian politics can move in a better direction. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the U.S. does not have a vital national interest in creating a Palestinian state: It's on the "nice" but not "necessary" list of America's Middle East priorities. But we do have a vital interest in nurturing and sustaining an alliance of moderates and modernizers, people who can offer a plausible alternative to the politics that have dominated the region and spread their pathologies worldwide. When it comes to Gaza, the goal of U.S. policy is to support Israel's efforts to defang, deflate and ultimately disempower Hamas, not just for the sake of Israelis living under threat but also for Palestinians living in fear. Moderates only thrive when the shadow of terror lifts.

2021-05-14 00:00:00

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