Streets of bombed-out buildings. Nearly 2,000 killed — including women and children among them. Very little electricity. Hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. Gaza, today, is certainly hell. And it is entirely the fault of Hamas. Ever since their rise to power, they have wrought nothing but death and destruction to the people of Gaza in order to wage their war of terror against Israel. They have taken enormous amounts of aid, in the form of money or material, and diverted it to develop a deadly arsenal — at the expense of the Gaza population. Instead of constructing homes and schools, Hamas used Israeli concrete to build an elaborate and sophisticated system of tunnels designed solely for the purpose of bringing death and destruction to Israelis. They have continually launched a rain of rockets at Israeli communities – sometimes a drizzle and sometimes a storm – designed to kill indiscriminately. Inevitably, this draws an Israeli response eventually. Israel always tries to protect the innocent, but Hamas cowards hide their weapons, and themselves, among them. People die. Lives are ruined. Such is the nature of war.
Even without the war, Hamas has neglected and oppressed the Palestinians in Gaza by creating a terroistic, totalitarian, quasi-state in the Gaza Strip. They violently suppress any political opposition. They subjugate women. They steal from the goodwill of the people. They use them as human shields. The list of crimes against Palestinians is appalling. Hamas is the worst thing to ever happen to the Palestinian people. Despite their abysmal track record, Hamas might, accidentally, save Gaza. With Israel’s help.
To paraphrase from Passover, what makes this (Gaza) war different from all other (Gaza) wars? In this war, as opposed to previous rounds, Hamas seems to be taking more hardline positions — and sticking to them. They are presenting grandiose and unrealistic demands and, thus far, appear to be sticking to their guns. Despite numerous Israeli attempts to stop the bloodshed via diplomacy and negotiations, Hamas has remained steadfast: no deal unless their demands (a seaport and the lifting of Israel’s and Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip) are met. While Israel and Egypt are amenable to these terms, they would agree to them only under the condition that Hamas (and all other Gaza terror organizations) is disarmed. Hamas, of course, can never agree to this. And as they remain inflexible on their own conditions, Hamas keeps on fighting. They continue firing rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers, provoking Israeli responses. For the moment, Israel’s military is showing restraint, but that cannot last forever. If the situation continues as it has, with little to no diplomatic progress, and continued rocket fire from Gaza, Hamas may, very well, force Israel’s hand. The Israeli Defense Forces may be left with little choice but to topple Gaza’s Hamas government. While Israel’s government has, thus far, been reluctant to take this path, it may become Israel’s only option in dealing with Hamas.
The military actions that would be required to topple the Hamas government are far from simple. Any such campaign would likely inflict massive casualties on both sides. Hamas has turned Gaza into its own personal terror fortress and will not give up without a fight. Even after five weeks of fighting, Hamas still maintains an arsenal of thousands of rockets that can be fired at Israeli population centers. They still have tens of thousands of highly motivated and trained fighters and have set up defensive positions and booby traps throughout their territory. The IDF, for its part, possesses massive amounts of firepower that would rain down death and destruction in Gaza -from air, land and sea. Such a campaign would certainly be prolonged and bloody – resulting in hundreds of Israeli casualties and thousands of Palestinian casualties. This operation would, almost certainly, require a complete (if temporary) Israeli re-occupation of Gaza. There would unquestionably be a domestic and international outcry at such a result, but the long-standing and bloody war between Israel and Hamas would finally be over.
When the smoke clears, and the dead are all buried, the time will come to rebuild. With Israeli forces in control of the strip, Israel can control the rehabilitation of Gaza. The IDF would monitor all funds and materials that enter into Gaza and ensure that they are used for the benefit of the Palestinian people. Instead of being diverted to terror, concrete would be used to build homes and schools and roads. Israel could take every effort to improve Gaza’s economy and quality of life. Via agriculture, tourism and high-tech development, the Gaza Strip has the potential to become an island of Middle Eastern paradise. Possessing some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, there is no reason that Gaza’s coastline should not be lined with resorts – packed to capacity with tourists from around the world. There is only one reason that Gaza has not already become this paradise. This reason is Hamas.
For many years, Hamas has caused nothing but hardship and sorrow for Gazans. As long as Hamas continues to rule Gaza, there is no reason to believe that this will change. By forcing Israel’s hand, however, this vile terror organization may turn out to be Gaza’s savior.