We’ve come this far. We have mobilized 100,000 soldiers. We have suffered many casualties. We have once again learned how implacable our enemy is. We must finish the job. We must destroy Hamas. We must never give them a concession for anything. We must wipe them out so that Iran and Qatar can no longer finance their fight against us. We must have zero tolerance for their continued existence. We must not offer quiet for quiet. We must flatten their strongholds before putting our troops at risk. We must not accept any international guarantees to disarm Hamas. We must do it ourselves. We must present an iron wall. Ted Belman
After two weeks of fighting along the border with Gaza, there is a growing sense that the Israeli government is starting to realize that its assumptions about how to obtain Prime Minister Netanyahu’s goal of “sustainable quiet” may have been all wrong. But if the Israelis are being forced reluctantly to reassess their beliefs about how Hamas could be forced to stop shooting, the question remains whether the Obama administration is up to speed about the changing rules in the conflict.
Up until now both Israel and the U.S. have thought Hamas would eventually stop firing rockets at cities or sending terrorists across the borders if Israel struck back hard enough. That is not to say that the two allies saw eye-to-eye about every aspect of the conflict, since the Obama administration clearly believed that Israel should respond to rocket attacks or other forms of terrorism with limited counter-attacks that would do nothing to significantly impair Hamas’s arsenal or its ability to re-ignite the border if it wished. But both governments were prepared to leave Hamas in place in Gaza since the cost of removing it was considered prohibitively high and there didn’t appear to be a viable alternative. Israel’s standing offer of “quiet for quiet” was usually enough for the Islamists once they had fired enough rockets to show Palestinians that they were still the address for “resistance” to the Israelis.
But now it appears that Hamas is prepared to bank on the assumption that nothing they do—no matter how bloody or unreasonable, such as a continuous shooting of rockets at Israeli cities and cross-border infiltration attempts—would be enough to convince the Israelis that they were not better off allowing the Islamist terror group to remain in power. Though Hamas’s long-range goals remain the overthrow of their erstwhile Fatah partners in the Palestinian Authority and to gain control of the West Bank and to destroy Israel, their immediate objectives in the current outbreak are different. They want to force Egypt to open its borders and the smuggling tunnels to Gaza as well as to get the Israelis to release more terrorist prisoners.
As Avi Isacharoff writes in the Times of Israel, though the Israelis are winning in a tactical sense because its Iron Dome missile defense has frustrated the rocket attacks and their army …read more