There is no doubt that Hamas is a problem. And although it is possible to make short-term arrangements with the terror group, in the long-term it is the malignant tumor on our border. Short-lived cease-fires with Hamas will more likely worsen the disease, not cure it.
The problem is that for more than a decade, Israeli governments have preferred calling in Egypt as a trouble-shooter for Gaza, rather than deal with the threat Hamas poses. And now the current Israeli government has willingly sacrificed the security of residents along the Gaza border in return for a fantastical goal of the extreme right-wing – the annexation of the West Bank. It is an agenda that is driving the governing Likud and the whole country to the brink of disaster.
The never-ending concessions Israel has made and will make to Hamas – essentially protection money that only serves to strengthen the terror group – are all for one purpose, and that is to avoid any future agreement with the Palestinian Authority. For such a deal would, of course, require a moratorium on settlement construction outside the major settlement blocs.
The current Israeli government, however, does not want any agreement and is therefore happy with maintaining the status quo. When Hamas is kept alive by Israel, the ensuing Palestinian division creates a diplomatic deadlock that in turn facilitates the slo-mo disaster of annexation. And it is for this that the Israeli government has sacrificed its residents in the south.
Massive rocket fire on a civilian population should have triggered a deadly response, including massive air strikes. Even the Geneva Convention does not condone firing from densely populated areas, a habit of Hamas and other Gaza organizations.
Israel though is a peculiar entity, it has showed tremendous restraint and never mentioned the fact that Hamas has rejected every arrangement that would end the siege on Gaza, not to mention that it essentially allowing Hamas to continue ruling the Strip.
Restraint and moderation are a form of strength, and trying to reach a deal is legitimate. But when these cease-fires are exploited by Hamas to gear up for the inevitable next round, which each time has greater consequences for Israel, even restraint has its limits.
Following the elections, the number of lawmakers who support annexation has grown, probably making the new coalition government even worse in this respect than the outgoing one. That means that for the sake of building yet another isolated settlement, Gaza terrorist organizations will be immune to consequences for battering Israel.
Saying Hamas cannot be dealt with is the greatest lie of all. We could offer an end to the Gaza siege in return for disarmament – the general lines of proposals made by the international community.
If Hamas replies positively, we have gained. If Hamas refuses, Israel will have justified cause for a military campaign aimed at ending its rule in Gaza.
But none of this has happened, because the government wants that diplomatic deadlock so that it can continue building more isolated settlements.
And thus one big country was slowly created. And thus Hamas was able to keep battering Israel’s south.
Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News