The new Israeli leadership needs to turn words into victory

There can be no negotiations with Hamas or any Palestinian terrorist entity until it has accepted defeat. Op-ed.

Gregg Roman ,

Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Flash 90

For the first time in a generation, the terminology of victory has been adopted by the political and security echelons in Israel. This is an extremely welcome change from the talk of the past of merely fighting for a temporary quiet for Israeli citizens living under intolerable and constant fire from terrorist organizations in the South, and, not infrequently, in the North.

Now we have a change of government, but not a change of terminology.

Even during Operation Guardian of the Walls, the current leadership stood side by side with their predecessors in government.

During the conflict, new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on the government “not to end the current round in Gaza before Hamas pays a heavy price. This is the time to unite and win.”

Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “experience teaches us that terror groups only understand force, and they need to know that we will employ force without hesitation.”

Winning conflicts is not about Left or Right, coalition of opposition, it is neither opinion nor optional, but an absolute necessity.

As Winston Churchill said in his immortal “Blood, Toil, Sweat and Tears Speech” in 1940: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

This is not something esoteric, but a full demand by the Israeli people.

A comprehensive recent survey undertaken for the Israel Victory Project demonstrated that 82% of Israeli respondents to the poll agreed with the statement that “There can be no appeasing Hamas; only by defeating it unequivocally can we bring this conflict to an end. Likewise, 70% agreed that “There can be no deals with terrorist organizations, only defeat. Israel must use all its military, diplomatic and economic means to crush Hamas’ will to continue fighting.”

68% of respondents believed that the operation ended prematurely and supported the statement: “The operation should have continued until Hamas’ ability and will to attack Israel was destroyed and the hostages and bodies in Gaza were returned.” Only 20% supported the ceasefire.

Israelis have learned after countless operations, many minor conflagrations and constant daily threats that Hamas will stop its deadly attacks only after it has been defeated.

No ceasefires, deals or understandings will suffice. They have all proved meaningless and extremely short-lived.

There can be no negotiations with Hamas or any Palestinian Arab terrorist entity until it has accepted defeat.

This means a complete Hamas disarmament, breaking its will to continue fighting, and the unconditional return of Israeli captives held by the terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip.

These are the types of terms a victor imposes on their defeated opponent.

It is gratifying to see that the new Israeli government is moving towards this position and has stated it will not allow any financial assistance and building materials, and only humanitarian aid, into Gaza until the captives are returned.

While this doesn’t fully meet the demands of victory, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

It is time that Israel makes the demands and holds its position, because previously the party which dictated the terms was invariably Hamas.

Moreover, while the new leadership spoke correctly in opposition, it is now time to turn words into action.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is using the correct terminology of victory, but has yet to be tested.

Unfortunately, it is highly likely that such a test is only around the corner.

The people of Israel demand victory and it is up to our leaders and military to deliver.

It is time to put words into action.

Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum.