Op-Ed: Israel Should End Hamas Rule in Gaza
The launching of two-thousand plus Iranian and Syrian-made rockets of various ranges raining throughout Israel at the same time that Iran's leadership was sitting with the P5+1 in Vienna to negotiate a deal over its nuclear program has exposed Iran as the root cause of instability in the Middle East.
The ongoing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) large-scale counter-terror operation in the heavily populated Palestinian enclave leading to the discovery of massive underground tunnels was indeed a blessing in disguise.
The subterranean terrorist empire built by Hamas is estimated to run to more than 5,000 tunnels and sub-passages under the surface of the Gaza Strip, according to military sources and cyber experts.
More significantly, the ground incursion has foiled planned mass murders of Israeli civilians on September 24, the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) via the cross-border tunnels from Gaza to kibbutzim in Israel.
The Israeli Army believes there are over 60 total entry points into the tunnel system.
As of now, Egypt claims to have destroyed an additional 1,370 tunnels and the IDF has located more than 36 tunnels, but even during the current fighting, with the IDF still searching the area, terrorists have been sent to launch attacks deep in Israeli territory through tunnels that have yet to be discovered.
A Palestinian poll shows that most Palestinian Arabs are fed up with Hamas governance on multiple levels and favor a ceasefire with Israel and the prospect of the Palestinian Authority taking over Gaza.
There is always a downside: Israeli political leadership is still not prepared to topple Hamas. Israel wants to destroy the tunnels and rocket launchers, but not to topple Hamas.
An Iran that provides its terror proxies with sophisticated rockets, drones, and other technology could one day hand off a crude nuclear device...
Thus far, Israel has lost more than 56 soldiers and 1,364 Palestinians have been killed including hundreds of Hamas fighters since the start of fighting July 8, according to Palestinian sources.
In strategic context, the ouster of Hamas is a coup de grace against the Islamic republic of Iran.
Here are the main reasons Israel needs to overthrow Hamas rule in Gaza:
1) Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of all Jews and the nation of Israel
The truth, however elusive, is cruel: Hamas embraces "death for the sake of Allah" to annihilate the State of Israel. In effect, the people of Gaza remains hostage to an evil terror organization armed and supported by Iran, Qatar and Turkey.
2) Massive tunnels created a credible military threat to Israel
The surprising discovery of sophisticated tunnel network and anti-tank weapons underneath mosques, public institutions, hospitals, UN schools and civilian homes as ammunition depots for explosives and rockets created a credible strategic threat to the Israeli Army.
3) Israel is fighting Palestinian proxies of Iran
The Islamic Republic has been propping up terror groups on Israel’s border for years. The M-75 rocket, which has been fired repeatedly into Tel Aviv and beyond, is a copy of Iran's Fajr-5 artillery rocket, manufactured in the Gaza Strip with assistance from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.
For Israel, the message is clear. An Iran that provides its terror proxies with sophisticated rockets, drones, and other technology could one day hand off a crude nuclear device or dirty bomb to these same terrorists.
4) Hamas employed Hezbollah's strategy to protect themselves from Israel
To avoid detection by the Israeli military, Hamas have employed duplicitous tactics including using ambulances as getaway cars and booby-trapping the entrance to tunnels, mosques, hospitals and private homes – both Hezbollah trademarks.
As in 2009 and in 2012, Hamas is using Shifa Central Hospital in Gaza as part of its war effort to hide its leadership and as a command center for Hamas leaders disguised as nurses and doctors, to protect them against attack by the Israel Air Force.
5) Hamas use of human shields violate international law on armed conflict
While Israel uses rockets to protect its people, Iran's proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah are using civilians mostly children as "human shields".
Hamas indiscriminate launching of rockets into Israel's civilian population and attacking, hiding behind civilians to protect itself from Israeli attacks is in violation of the Geneva Convention's provision for the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, which "prohibits the use of civilians as military shields".
6) Demilitarization alone will not bring peace in Palestinian Territories
To demilitarize Hamas, Israel needs the cooperation of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to stop rearming by Iran and North Korea and to cut off funding sources from Qatar and Turkey, both staunch backers of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
But, for all the wrong reasons- the Muslim Brotherhood-led Team Obama is doing all it can to rescue Hamas, an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood which Saudi Arabia and Egypt recognize as terrorists.
Instead of undermining and cutting off Hamas's funding, the Obama administration's covert agenda to rescue Hamas by demanding "immediate ceasefire without preconditions" is not surprising.
7) Hamas is no different from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Al Qaeda
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas to al Qaeda, ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups. A top Pentagon intelligence official believes that the destruction of Hamas would only lead to something more dangerous taking its place - like ISIS - a prediction based on flawed assumptions. The ragtag Islamist army is no match to the IDF superior military power.
8) Israelis support overthrowing Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip
A recent survey shows that 91% of Israeli Jews support the ongoing 'Operation Protective Edge" and 85% would only support a cease-fire agreement if Israel eliminated every Hamas rocket and destroyed the full network of terror tunnels used by Hamas to attack Israeli civilians, Arutz Sheva reports.
Ceasefire is a calculated risk and short-term strategy to a dangerous cycle of Hamas violence that Israel would be unable to contain in the next round of escalating conflict. In other words, there should be no ceasefire before the danger is over.
An Israeli poll conducted by TV Channel 10 found 69 percent urging the government to go all the way and overthrow Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip.
The bottom line: demilitarization short of toppling Hamas would mean Israel will have to face the unintended consequences of endless wars in uncertain and forseeable future.
Israel's genuine commitment to save lives in sharp contrast to Hamas embracing death using children as a political tool simply cannot be overstated. For all its war efforts in avoiding civilian casualties, the IDF use of maximum restraint is an unprecedented first in the annals of military conflict.
In retrospect, Hamas is only to blame for all the deaths and destruction in Gaza. For its part, Israel should demand unconditional surrender from Hamas rather than a ceasefire.
In short, in order to save more Palestinian lives in Gaza and eliminate the mortal threats to the Jewish people, the IDF must decisively defeat Hamas.