Many nations want Hamas to be disarmed, but the Israel Defense Forces will doubtless be left to do the dirty work. It is a task of paramount importance.
By Moshe Arens, HAARETZ | Aug. 4, 2014 | 1:32 AM |
There is a long list of countries that would like to see Hamas in Gaza disarmed. To rid this terrorist organization and its terrorist ally, Islamic Jihad, of the labyrinth of tunnels they have dug under the Gaza Strip, housing its command and control centers, its supply depots, and which serve as launching points for attacks against Israeli cities, towns and villages. To rid it of the thousands of rockets still in its possession, after having launched more than 3,000 rockets against Israeli civilians during the past four weeks, and of the manufacturing facilities for these rockets.
This list is obviously headed by Israel, which has had to deal with this arsenal of weapons in the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and will have to contend with it in the future unless Gaza is demilitarized.
But in addition, there are many countries who realize that the existence of this arsenal in the hands of terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip constitutes a ticking time bomb that may go off at any moment and threaten the stability of the entire region. Among them are many of the region’s Arab countries, foremost among them Egypt. And, not surprisingly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would like nothing better than to see the Gaza Strip demilitarized. But who is going to bite the bullet and demilitarize Gaza?
It is not going to be the United Nations, and it will not be Abbas. The hope voiced here and there that Hamas will disarm, within the framework of a political agreement between Abbas and Israel, is a pipe dream. Or that, in return for large-scale economic assistance to Gaza, Hamas will abandon its war against Israel.
Hamas will not give up its weapons arsenal and terrorist infrastructure of its own free will. And none, except for Israel, is going to come forward to force Hamas to disarm. Only the Israel Defense Forces can demilitarize the Gaza Strip. If the IDF does it, it may well be applauded in many quarters, but it will have to do it alone.
It is a task that has to be accomplished quickly. The longer it takes, the more casualties there will be among the Palestinian population in Gaza; the greater the demands to put an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian population there by an immediate cease-fire — even if the task of disarmament has not been accomplished; and the higher the probability of another round of fighting and more tragedy in the future. Speed is of the essence.
By now, everyone has been disabused of the idea that terrorist organizations can be deterred from attacking Israel. The Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense operations, which did not finish the job — in the expectation that, after Hamas had been hit, it would be …read more