Imagine if, in April 1945, as Allied forces were closing in on Berlin, Adolf Hitler issued a communique saying he was ready to agree to a permanent ceasefire. Imagine if his proposed terms included that he, Himmler and Goebbels be allowed to form a unity government with some less hardcore Nazis, that all German POWs—including those who worked at the Nazi concentration camps—be released in exchange for all Allied POWs and that the Allies rebuild Germany so the Nazis could do it all over again. Imagine if Hitler’s final admonition to the Allies was: You need to stop because you need to think about what will happen the day after the war is over. Do you think you will be able to govern Germany without our help?
Now imagine what Winston Churchill and Harry Truman’s responses would have been after they finished rolling on the floor laughing.
Deleting the expletives, the response would have gone something like this: We are winning; you are losing. If you survive the war, you will be tried as war criminals. If found guilty, you will be put to death. We will unilaterally determine the terms and conditions of any ceasefire. You will have no say in it at all. You will have no role in any future German government. You must surrender immediately and unconditionally. This is non-negotiable. If you do not, we will continue to bomb and pulverize German cities and eviscerate the German military on the battlefield until you and your fellow travelers are either dead or removed from power. We will worry about what happens the day after the war is over on the day after the war is over. Until then, you are dead men walking.
Yet as Israel closes in on the mastermind of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, Yahya Sinwar, along with whatever else is left of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, Hamas and its allies in the anti-Israel international community are asking the Jewish state to accept what the Allies would never have accepted.
Hamas leaders like Husam Badran, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal, who have been plotting against Israel and cheering for their fellow Nazis in Gaza from their safehouses in Qatar, have announced that they are now willing to join with members of the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza. This is the same P.A. that is conducting its own war to destroy Israel and has no legitimacy among the Palestinians it rules. It is even less popular in Gaza.
Apparently wanting to demonstrate his democratic bona fides, Badran declared, “It will be a national dialogue. … We have always said the PLO should contain any Palestinian faction.” In other words, all factions of the Palestinian “liberation movement” will have a seat at the table, including its most radical elements. Badran has made it clear that Hamas will not agree to being disarmed or give up on its goal of destroying Israel and murdering Jews. When asked about disarmament, Badran responded, “The world has no right to ask when people are being killed. … It’s not logical to ask this question at this time.”
In response to Badran’s call for unity, the P.A.’s former chief of security Mohammed Dahlan, who was in charge of security in Gaza before Hamas threw him out, said that the P.A. understands that the goal of destroying Israel must remain a core principle of any Palestinian government. “I am no friend of Hamas. … But do you think anybody is going to be able to run to make peace without Hamas?” he asked. But Hamas has made it clear that it has no intention of making peace with Israel.
Badran stated that Hamas will release its hostages only in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners in Israel, saying, “If there is a ceasefire, our stance is crystal clear: We want an exchange of all-for-all.” This is an insane demand given the IDF’s current momentum.
Badran also reassured the world that once Hamas gets everything it wants, the international community can rebuild Gaza so Hamas can commit its atrocities all over again.
The United Nations, of course, is trying to pass a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire that gives Hamas everything it wants. Shockingly, the Biden administration seems to be entertaining such a resolution.
The Allies were able to create a better future for the German people by fighting the war as if there were no tomorrow and with no concerns about “the day after.” Today, Germany is a democracy, an economic powerhouse and one of America’s closest allies.
Similarly, Israel must fight as if there is no tomorrow, with no concerns about “the day after.” Only after total Israeli victory will the Palestinians have any real chance to build a better future. But Israel should start thinking about that only on the day after Hamas is destroyed.