The war objective of Israel should be to return the Gaza strip essentially to what it was before June 1967, that is, to its de-facto control by Egypt, with one exception: The area north to the Wadi Gaza should be demilitarized and put under Israeli sovereignty. I call this “the un-doing of Gaza”.
How to undo Gaza
Israel can take a series of practical steps to achieve this war objective. Here are some of them:
1) Allow uninterrupted and unlimited humanitarian help to enter through the Rafah crossing with Egypt and reach any Palestinians, both individuals and institutions, south to the Wadi Gaza. Avoid the difficult and friction-laden task of trying to verify that the humanitarian aid reaches indeed its right destination. No questions asked.
2) Provide and secure a humanitarian corridor to any Palestinian north of the Wadi Gaza to move to the south. No questions asked: any unarmed Palestinian that moves through this corridor will be allowed to reach the area south of Wadi Gaza, without asking what his/her political or military affiliation is. This also includes members of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, or any other armed groups.
3) Limit the military operations south of the Wadi Gaza to aerial strikes targeted to pin-pointed areas from which rockets and drones are launched.
4) Proceed to destroy all the military installations north to the Wadi Gaza, as well as any armed opposition to the Israeli Defense Forces.
I think that the above program will defeat Hamas and can be implemented in accordance with the international rules of war.
Furthermore, the implementation to completion of item # 4 becomes now flexible in time-span (it could take several months), which will minimize the IDF ground forces losses, leaving the task to the air force and to a small agile, non-static, ground force of highly-trained soldiers in urban warfare to implement it. This will also allow many presently Israeli ground forces aligned along to border with Gaza to return to civilian life and to civilian work, which is needed to maintain Israel’s backbone: its economy.
The demilitarization of the area north to Wadi Gaza, will also allow for a safe return of tens of thousands of presently displaced and war-traumatized Israelis to the border towns next to Gaza, and the rebuilding of their communities.
With the only international open border to Gaza becoming its border with Egypt, the de-facto responsibility to provide electricity and water to the reduced-to-size Gaza will fall in the hands of Egypt, which (together with the humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing) will enable Egypt to control and restrain Hamas. Egypt will become its de-facto ruler.