It may be quiet today along the Gaza border, but this serene atmosphere is deceptive. The seeming tranquility can and will certainly be disrupted by Hamas for no apparent reason in the near future. The perpetual cycle of Hamas’s violence is no longer unpredictable. It is a fact of life.
I find it entirely inconceivable that Hamas keeps harassing Israel, torching Israeli terrain, showering Israeli towns with rockets, mortars, bullets, breaking off ordinary living conditions for thousands of Israeli citizens who find themselves taking refuge in shelters for long nights and protracted days fearing for their lives.
I find it inconceivable because Israel is clearly capable of ending it all by employing Moshe Dayan’s famous reasoning: Whack them and finish(זבנג וגמרנו) (it does not sound as authentic in English as it does in Hebrew). It is inconceivable because Hamas is aware of Israel’s formidable power. But this power does not seem to deter these terrorists in the least.
I find it inconceivable because Israeli leaders, beginning with the prime minister, and moving down the pecking order to those responsible for Israel’s security in the cabinet and in the armed forces, keep reassuring the public about the effective retaliatory punishments they inflict on Hamas, teaching them a lesson they should not forget. But is it really working? Are they telling us the truth? all these “effective” retaliation measures seem to be of no avail. Hamas does not seem to learn; they do seem to ignore, disregard and forget.
Evidently, Israel is incapable of deterring Hamas, because the Israeli leadership is way too apprehensive about world’s opinion, which, in their mind, would turn against Israel should the Jewish State try to end it all. And consequently, the unbearable situation will keep going on and on and on until the Israeli government shifts the unrealistic paradigm and decides to go nuts.
A massive, disproportionate reaction to Hamas’s violence seems to be the only way to extinguish this air of terrorist bravado and turn it into a historical dust. The Roman Empire did it to the Jews after the Bar Kochba revolt, wiping Judea off the map for 2000 years; The US did it to Japan in 1945, bringing World War II to an abrupt end. History is filled with similar examples.
At the same time, military conflicts that ended inconclusively or in less than an absolute, unconditional surrender by the losing side, have kept brewing under or above the surface with periodic violent eruptions like the Arab-Israeli wars, the instability of the Korean situation, the 100-year-war in Europe, and of course, the Gaza wars. Once again, history is jammed with many similar examples.
These examples and many more like them, make evident that the only way the conflict with Hamas can be brought to an abrupt end—a permanent end— is to crush these terrorists and thrust them into utter submission.
It is common knowledge and common understanding that in today’s world, international laws and public opinions make it impossible for Israel to act as decisively against Hamas as it would need to with the aim of ending this menace once and for all. But Israel does not have to go to the extreme deeds of the Roman Empire or the US in 1945. Israel needs to treat Hamas on the same level it contends with or intends to deal with Hezbollah and Lebanon, where any relatively minor violation of the ceasefire by Hezbollah may instigate an all-out-war, carrying an awfully heavy price Hezbollah is not willing and not ready to pay. Evidently, the border with Lebanon is tense, but it has been quiet since the last Lebanon war.
The foreign press and most of the universal international public opinion continue to lie about Israel, portraying it as an evil aggressor, a violator of human rights, a baby killer, etc. regardless of the fact that Hamas embarks on repeated violence, exploits human shield as a cover, and invites defensive retaliatory measures employed by Israel - defensive measures intended to avoid targeting civilians and even military personnel who do not impose an imminent threat, while hitting buildings and other structures used by Hamas’s fighting forces.
Israel’s restraint is not appreciated by most of the international community. It nullifies deterrence. It only encourages Hamas to get on with their violence, knowing that Israel’s hands are tied by the hostile press that’s ready to devour the red meat Hamas offers, while disseminating lies condemning Israel, disguising it as Breaking News.
And since Israeli restraint, or potentially, the lack of it makes no difference to the way the international community treats the Jewish State, the Israeli government should not be considerate of international public opinion when defending its citizens against terrorism. The Jewish State will be condemned no matter what it does and how it does it. Then why bother?
Israel should reconsider its policy toward Hamas. It should stop sacrificing a long-term permanent solution for the seeming convenience of disrupted short term hudnas (truces). A Whack them and finish approach may be costly in the short term, but it will pay off handily in the long term. It’s a fruit-bearing investment.
It’s what the Israeli citizens living around Gaza are demanding.