OpinionIsrael at War

The time for ‘managing the conflict’ has come to an end

The world has changed since Oct. 7, and there is no going back.

An Israeli artillery unit is stationed near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 28, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
An Israeli artillery unit is stationed near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 28, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Middle East Forum, Israel Victory Project director, EJ Kimball (Middle East Forum)
EJ Kimball
EJ Kimball is the director of policy and strategic operations for the U.S. Israel Education Association.

Israel is done being the “guarantor” for the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. It is ready to change its entire approach towards Gaza, which is the only realistic option after Hamas’s barbaric invasion on Oct. 7.

Israel has outlined a three-phase plan that will guide its Gaza strategy.

First is the military campaign, which is happening now. This includes a ground invasion of Gaza with the purpose of removing Hamas from power.

The second phase will be the elimination of pockets of resistance. Finally, there will be a “new security regime in the Gaza Strip, the removal of Israel’s responsibility for day-to-day life in the Gaza Strip, and the creation of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel.”

This is a paradigm shift in Israeli strategy.

Before the Oct. 7 pogrom, Israel provided daily work permits for Gazans to enter Israel. This opportunity was used by Hamas for disinformation purposes in advance of the attack and likely for reconnaissance purposes as well.

Israel has also provided fuel, food, water, medicine and electricity to Gaza. The Israeli government allowed hundreds of millions of dollars to flow in from Qatar, much of which wound up in Hamas’s hands.

These were Israeli attempts to “manage the conflict” after Hamas took over Gaza in 2007. The approach failed. Israel got nothing but war and, finally, the Oct. 7 pogrom in return.

There can be no “managing” of Hamas. It is a genocidal, jihadist organization whose animating principle is the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide. Oct. 7 was but a taste of what Hamas would do to all Israelis and Jews around the world if it could. If Hamas could perpetrate another Holocaust, it would.

The status quo ante is unacceptable and unsustainable, as Oct. 7 proved. A return to it would be a strategic defeat for Israel and for the world.

The world has changed, and there is no going back. 

As such, Muslim countries should be setting up a fund for “the day after” to rebuild Gaza and should receive and host war refugees (however, Egypt and Jordan have already stated categorically that they will not).

Hamas is responsible for every refugee from Gaza. Israel has provided ample warning to those in harm’s way, knowing that Hamas intentionally uses civilians as human shields. Those currently displaced should be permitted to leave Gaza temporarily to allow Israel to remove Hamas with fewer civilian deaths. Certain Muslim countries played with fire by supporting Hamas and now should have to take responsibility following Hamas’s butchery.

According to Foundation for Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz, “Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, Kuwait and Algeria have cynically boosted Palestinian jihadists for decades, which has brought misery and destruction not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq—anywhere terror proxies operate. Each of these countries should be called on to take ownership of its terrible decisions.”

The international community should establish a post-Hamas governing committee and provide humanitarian aid. International organizations already provide billions of dollars of aid to Gaza. From 2014 to 2020, U.N. agencies spent some $4.5 billion in Gaza.

The problem is that, heretofore, the aid has been ineffective because Hamas has stolen it and channeled it towards its war-making capabilities and terror tunnels.

After Israel destroys Hamas, international aid will actually reach the people who need it. This would help the Palestinian people to build a productive economy and society for the future. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is only possible in a post-Hamas world where Palestinian leadership seeks coexistence with Israel.

When it comes to Hamas and Palestinian society under it, the world has for too long let naiveté and delusions overrule sound reasoning. The stark reality is that Palestinians have been educated for decades to embrace violence, even genocide, over cooperation with Israel.

Israel is telling a hard truth. Hamas must be destroyed and a new Palestinian society built in its wake.

The time has come for a clean break from the naive past.

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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