GET RID OF HAMAS AND FREE GAZA

Washington Free Beacon on August 1, 2014, in a commentary concluded that Israel has fought Hamas three times since 2007, when the terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip. There was Operation Cast Lead in 2008, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and now Operation Protective Edge in 2014. In all three cases the story has been the same: Israel is attacked; Israel responds; Israel is condemned; Israel ceases fire. Hamas is weakened. Hamas recovers. The rockets return. Rewind and repeat. Excerpts below:

Prime Minister Netanyahu says the war won’t end until the tunnels Hamas uses to attack Israel are destroyed. After that, one presumes, the Israelis will withdraw. And then? We know the answer. Hamas will rebuild. Hamas will rearm. Hamas will dig. Hamas will kill.

Want to end the war? I am not asking if you want to end Operation Protective Edge. I am asking if you want to end Hamas’ war on Israel. And if that is what you want, then the answer is simple: Free Gaza from Hamas.

“Israel’s ideal outcome,” write Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, “would be for Hamas to capitulate to Israel’s demands to disarm and reform into a defanged version of its current self…

Hamas capitulate? Its charter reads, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” Hamas disarm? Its patron Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, says, “Disarmament of resistance is a daydream that will only come true in the graveyard.” Hamas reform? Its leader Khaled Meshaal says, “I do not want to live with a state of occupiers.” Hamas defanged? It booby-traps homes, kills children, conceals weapons in schools, builds headquarters under hospitals. A defanged tarantula dies because it cannot kill. A defanged Hamas would die for the same reason.

Collapse the tunnels or collapse Hamas. Lives will be lost either way. The difference is in the end state. Leave Hamas in charge, and you guarantee the war will resume, and more lives will be lost. Topple Hamas, and you remove the source of the conflict, the first cause of the death and destruction. Lives will be saved over time. Want an example? Casualties spiked during the Iraq surge in 2007. Then both American and civilian casualties plummeted. They remained low for years—until America withdrew.

The main objection to toppling Hamas is fear of the unknown. What would replace it? General Michael Flynn, head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, recently spoke for many when he said: “If Hamas were destroyed and gone, we would probably end up with something much worse.”

How much worse? “Something like ISIS.”

But “something like ISIS” is exactly what is in charge of the Gaza Strip. Hamas took over Gaza in an illegal coup, runs a one-party totalitarian state, tramples on human rights, steals from its people, kills its political opponents, uses boys and girls as shields, fires rockets at airports, and murders Israelis whenever it can.

Hamas isn’t the Rotary Club. It’s a terrorist group. Like a search for moderate Taliban, arguing that one violent faction is more acceptable than the other is an exercise in wishful thinking.

Yes, there would be costs to regime change in the Gaza Strip. But the choice is not between a costly policy and a cost-free one. The choice is between the costs of removing a terrorist group from power and the costs of leaving it injured but able to fight another day. To prevent a fourth war, to bolster ties with the Sunni powers, to improve the chances of a two-state solution, to help the Palestinians, above all to secure Israel, the decision is clear. Destroy Hamas. End the war. Free Gaza

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