After all its posturing and chest thumping, it would appear that Hamas is finding out that it is one thing to talk about war to the death, it is quite something else to be engaged in one.
With Abbas and Mashaal demanding an end to “Israeli aggression” from the plush hotel in Qatar, and Kerry running around Egypt and Israel trying to restart the aborted “truce” negotiations, Hamas on the ground in Gaza realise that their pledge of “to the death” may well be within sight. Nobody is coming to save Hamas. Egypt will not allow them free passage through Rafah Border Crossing, the Arab League are not supportive of Hamas at this time, and the colossus in the form of the IDF is rolling its way South through Gaza, door to door, street by street, shutting down the Hamas terror infrastructure, whilst destroying the Hamas weapon stock piles, as well as the tunnel network they have clearly poured millions of dollars into developing.
An unconfirmed report indicates an air strike took out a warehouse in the Port Sudan harbour of Sudan. The report indicated the warehouse was suspected to be full of armaments from Libya en route to Hamas via Egypt. Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure that with the Egyptian and Israeli blockade on weapons into Gaza, known to Hamas, they must have a “Plan B” to restock weapons and supplies, and when the squeeze on them pushes them too close to martyrdom for comfort, escape routes. Clearly they have a penchant for ratholes (tunnels), so it can be safely assumed they have numerous tunnels between Gaza’s Southern Area and Egypt, and under cover of darkness they will flee to re-enter later and start their cycle of weaponising and militarizing the densely populated Gaza Strip.
The mounting losses of IDF troops in the urban warfare of Gaza is a tragedy, as is the loss of life amongst innocent civilians. With the IDF losses at 27 at the time of writing, it is natural for people to start asking when does it end? As nation that cares about every life put at risk, lost to terror, or in war, Israel has suffered since the day it came into existence in May 1948. The previous two Operations in Gaza ended leaving Hamas on the ground in Gaza. Hamas used the disengagement to build tunnels and smuggle in thousands of rifles, ammunition, RPG’s, rockets, rockets that now rain down on Israel every day.
Israel has three options open to it at this moment, with respect to Gaza.
- Option One is to continue to remove the Hamas threat until it is broken as an effective military force. This will incur troop losses, and civilian casualties, given Hamas’ despicable disregard for the Arab community it operates from within. After crippling Hamas, Israel would withdraw, to enable elections to take place, and that is a can of worms on its own.
- Option Two would be to accept what Obama is suggesting, a ceasefire based on the 2012 agreement. That would leave Hamas in a position to claim victory, and rebuild its military wing and tunnels. It would be tantamount to appeasement, the sort that saw Austria and Czechoslovakia annexed by Germany before World War 2, while the rest of Europe sat by and watched…… and did nothing. This option will merely embolden Hamas and gain it support amongst the Arab community within the Westbank and Gaza regions, and start the ticking of a time-bomb that will go off, possibly with larger damage than seen this time around.
- Option Three, would be to drive Hamas out, and to allow any newly elected controlling authority to control all but policing, defense and foreign affairs. This reduces the risk of Gaza being used as a terrorist base again, whilst allowing economic freedom to a controlling authority that could use the funding it receives to improve the lives of the people it represents, instead of building a terror network in and around the civilian homes, mosques and schools.
In essence, the key to any forward thinking with regard to Hamas, has got to be, from an Israeli perspective anyway, “How do we allow an organisation that is sworn to cause our demise, or die trying, to exist in lands we control.” Arab autonomy has to be balanced against the security interests of Israel’s people and state in the short medium and long term.
In Africa, we have a parable of how to deal with a crocodile that’s cornered you. To give you an insight, a crocodile is one of the oldest species of animal alive on Earth today. It has a brain the size of a tennis ball, and runs on pure instinct. So, the parable goes, that if you find yourself trapped by a crocodile, you can keep it at bay, by throwing it things to eat, which is very useful to know………until you run out of things to throw at it. Then it will eat you. That’s how appeasement policies can be viewed, feeding the crocodile to save yourself, for now.
I pray that HaShem be with the troops and citizens of Israel. Be safe, be careful, be Blessed. Shalom.