OpinionIsrael at War

Hamas must surrender

Only by confronting evil effectively can we create a more spiritual world.

IDF soldiers conduct operations against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Jan. 22, 2024. Credit: IDF.
IDF soldiers conduct operations against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Jan. 22, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Howard Teich. Credit: Courtesy.
Howard Teich
Howard Teich is a practicing attorney, has held multiple leadership positions in the Jewish community and is the author of HEAR OUR VOICE: One Israel: Standing Up for Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

War destroys. It has winners and losers. At this point, Israel has been successful in its war against Hamas, except for its war aim of rescuing the hostages. Nonetheless, there is a global outcry against Israel on the issue of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

This outcry is misguided and hypocritical. It should be directed at Hamas, not Israel. The demand should not be for a “humanitarian” ceasefire, but a Hamas surrender.

Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzuk and Khaled Mashaal, among others, live in luxury in Qatar while thousands die in the war they started. Israel is going to win this war. Thus, the only moral option for Hamas in the face of inevitable defeat is to wave the white flag and allow for a negotiated peace settlement. International pressure should be brought on Hamas to do this.

The world community needs to be courageous now. After Hamas surrenders, it must concentrate on forging a bold and progressive partnership with Israel under U.S. leadership. Its purpose should be a return to the path of the Abraham Accords that can create a new Middle East. Hamas must have no role to play in this process. It must not be given the opportunity to continue its decimation of the Palestinian people and the region as a whole.

Looking to a better future for Gaza, American leadership in collaboration with Jordan, France and other countries in providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza now can lead to meaningful efforts to pursue a way of peace.

A Hamas surrender must, of course, involve the return of all hostages. Then, the tunnels paid for with stolen aid funds must be destroyed. Hamas’s storehouses of missiles, rockets, drones and other weapons must be confiscated. Those complicit in the Oct. 7 massacre must be handed over to face justice.

In Gaza, the rule of law must be restored. The U.S., Israel and an international coalition must rebuild Gaza via a new Marshall Plan. Israel must have full security control. New narratives of peace and coexistence must be inculcated through a new educational system.

Organizations that perpetuate the conflict and collaborate with terror, such as the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, should have no role in Gaza or the region in general. Refugees and their descendants should be encouraged to build new lives wherever they may be at the moment.

This future of peace cannot happen until the world decides to move the people of Gaza beyond hatred of Jews and Israel. Recently, there has been much criticism of “settlers” in Judea and Samaria, which is neither new nor justified. These Jewish pioneers are restoring our ancient Jewish civilization in its historic homeland. They should be celebrated for their courage and energy. They are creating new opportunities in that land, both for themselves and their Palestinian neighbors.

War is not the way. I can only think of Rabbi Simon Jacobson, one of the brightest lights of our time, who said one evening nearly 15 years ago that the most difficult task is to bring the spiritual out of the material, and that we must contemplate the spiritual question: Where there is evil, what can we to prevail and what need we say? I say this is the moment and we must be forthright about confronting this evil and make that clear to the world.

The ultimate question, however, is what Israel can give to the world while living in one of that world’s most challenging regions. As a people, we have always strived for a better world with faith and trust in who we are and what we were entrusted with at Sinai. We fight to ensure we and all people can reach heights that stretch our imagination and our will.

Reb Simon’s words leave me with another question: Are we ready to reach for that more spiritual world? America was based on a new spiritual concept born out of the Enlightenment, with the recognition of the imperfectability of humankind which we have faced throughout our history. We have sought to create a more perfect union and lead the way to a more perfect world.

I call on Hamas to surrender and return the hostages so we—Israel and its neighbors, America and other countries, and our Jewish people and the entire world community—can all progress towards meeting the world’s humanitarian needs and bringing peace to a profoundly more spiritual world than our own.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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