The late Abba Eban, a former Israeli diplomat and cabinet minister, once remarked that the Palestinians and their fellow Arabs “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” and it looks like they’ve done it again.  Not too long after Israel agreed to extend the latest five-day ceasefire by 24 hours, Gaza terrorists again fired their rockets.  In fact, just hours before I began writing this, terrorists fired a barrage of rockets into central Israel, with Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport amongst their targets.  Once again, optimism about the future of the Gaza Strip and its people has been replaced by the dread of continued conflict, more deaths and more suffering.  All because Gaza’s terrorist leaders decided that their rockets and their ability to keep terrorizing Israel’s citizens was more important than the well-being of their people.

What Could Have Been…

During the ceasefire discussions mediated by Egypt, a lot was offered to the Gaza Strip and its people if only the terrorists would agree to the territory’s demilitarization.  The border crossings could be opened.  Goods could start moving into and out of the Strip again.  Homes and businesses could be rebuilt.  There would be trade and commerce again; a real economy again, where Gazans could return to a meaningful existence, instead of just trying to survive from one day to the next.  In short, demilitarization in exchange for economic prosperity and a better future.  But as we all know now, Gaza’s terrorist leaders have decided that their rockets are more important than their people.  I’m not surprised.  Hamas and the rest of the terrorist bunch in Gaza feed on the misery of their people.  They need to keep their people miserable.  Why?  So that they can keep telling their people to blame Israel for their misery.  Just think of what would happen if the terrorists agreed to demilitarization.  There would be economic prosperity and they would lose the support of their people, because people who have the opportunity to earn a decent living for themselves and their families are far less likely to support terrorists.  In fact, Palestinians are beginning to realize that as long as Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza rule the roost, they will never be able to live meaningful lives.  See, for example:

Subtle voices of dissent surface in war-torn Gaza

After months of bitter fighting, Gazans said questioning Hamas decisions

Palestinian Leader Mudar Zahran: Hamas is killing my people


What Should Israel Do Now?

First, Israel must do whatever is necessary to put a permanent end to the rocket fire on its citizens from the Gaza Strip.  Second, Israel needs to make sure that it can end its blockade on Gaza so that Palestinians can once again start living meaningful lives, without compromising its own security.  The Israelis and the Palestinian civilians who have died during this conflict will have died in vain if these two objectives are not achieved.  But how can Israel achieve this?  Should its government keep trying to negotiate with the terrorists for a long-term ceasefire?  Absolutely not!

Gaza’s terrorists have already shown time and again that they cannot be trusted to adhere to any ceasefire agreement, short-term or long-term.  Besides, a ceasefire is just what the terrorists need to recover their strength, rebuild their weapons arsenals and prepare for future conflicts where they can harm Israel again (see: Hamas: Ceasefire Allows Us to Prepare for Future Battle to Destroy Israel).  Some people just don’t get it.  Terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad are out to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth and will not stop until they achieve their objective – or until Israel destroys them first, which is exactly what I think Israel should do.  And this isn’t the first time I’ve said this.  In fact, shortly after this latest conflict in Gaza began, I said that Israel should exterminate all of the terrorists in their midst (see: Hamas and All Other Terrorists in Israel’s Midst Must be Exterminated).

I do understand that there are many folks out there who don’t believe a military solution to Israel’s conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups is possible, but they are just plain wrong.  Many people probably also thought that there was no military solution to the terrorist insurgency in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Tiger terrorist group managed to take over a sizable portion of the country’s north.  But in 2009, the Sri Lankan military finally defeated the terrorists and took back all of the territory that they had conquered.  Israel now has the opportunity to do what Sri Lanka did five years ago: to defeat the terrorists in its midst and drive them out of the territory that they’ve taken once and for all.  Bear in mind, of course, that the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka did not end the conflict between the island’s majority Sinhalese community and the minority Tamils, nor will defeating Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  But exterminating terrorist groups like Hamas will allow Israelis to live in peace without the threat of rocket fire or other acts of violence, while Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in the Holy Land can live their lives without obstacles to their economic prosperity and rightful pursuit of happiness.