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Michael Jackson

Eliminating Hamas         

Israeli politicians, military leaders, and American Jewish advocates call for the elimination of Hamas.  At a minimum, this means Gaza will not be under Hamas control after the fighting is over;  at a maximum, this means that Hamas will no longer exist.   Israel will conquer the whole of the Gaza territory.  That is already evident.  Whatever the post-war settlement may be, it will not be a Hamas-ruled Gaza.  Thus, Israel will achieve this minimalist goal.

How about the maximalist goal of eliminating Hamas completely?  I think that Israel will kill at least 90% of the top and second-tier Hamas leaders in Gaza.  It will probably kill 80% or more of Hamas fighters, with many merging as far as they can into the civilian population in Southern Gaza.  These survivors will form a crippled, mainly destroyed Gaza-based Hamas.  After several years, they may be able to pose underground resistance,  to the group that takes over Gaza.

In the long run, I think Hamas operations and support are of more concern outside of Gaza.  Hamas leaders are in Qatar and elsewhere in the Arab world. Israel will assassinate some of them.  The survivors will go deeper into hiding, probably safe from Israeli retribution.  Hamas has surged in popularity not only in the West Bank, Israel’s main non-Gazan concern, but also in the wider Arab world.  Among its recently grown support in the West Bank, there will be a few supporters who follow the path of terrorist action.

Beyond Hamas, there are terrorist threats from Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad and, possibly, other newly-formed terrorist groups.

Hamas, with its violence and terrorism, will always appeal to those filled with hatred towards Israel, Israeli occupation, and Israeli oppression in the West Bank.  Much as I wish to eliminate Hamas, I think that the best Israel can achieve is a large-scale degradation.

About the Author
Born in London in 1949. Studied Maths at Warwick University. Came to Israel (WUJS program at Arad) in 1971. I became a citizen and served in the army in 1973. Returned to the UK in 1974. Worked in Information Systems. Married an American Orthodox woman in 1977 and moved to America. For a few years I have led a retiree philosophy class.
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