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We must deliver a knockout to Hamas

A ceasefire will just grant the terrorists time to reorganize, rearm and equip themselves anew

In recent weeks Israel has been engaged in a battle with Hamas in Gaza that can be compared to a boxing match. This is the third round in which we are called to face an enemy who will stop at nothing short of our destruction and will attack Israel where it is the most vulnerable, which is the lives and security of its citizens.

Israel is now at a decisive turning point and must choose between two options.

Either it will deliver a crushing knockout that will destroy Hamas to the point where it will be unable to rise again to its feet in the political and military arena, or it will agree to a ceasefire that will enable a violent, ruthless and merciless enemy to recover and rearm.

A ceasefire will merely grant the terrorists of Hamas time to reorganize, rearm and equip themselves anew. It will give them time to hide and move the significant ammunition arsenals that have now been exposed.

It will also give them more time to produce new and potentially more deadly weapons and more time for the global media and international institutions to de-legitimize Israel which would ultimately dwarf the achievements of Operation Protective Edge.

Make no mistake, worse than all other options is throwing in the towel which will lead to a fourth round with far greater violence and bloodshed than now.

In recent weeks the IDF has been waging a bloody war against an enemy who makes cynical use of the civilian population in Gaza, turning hospitals, schools and mosques into rocket launching pads and ammunition arsenals.

The IDF has invested great effort in uncovering the terrorist infrastructure, neutralizing the terrorists and their weapons and has suffered many casualties.

The IDF has to win, and has begun to see through its recent brave operations the viability of this option.

Any ceasefire now is a tactical and strategic error because it would bring us back to the same place that we were after Operation Cast Lead in 2008. During that operation we were very close to removing the threat, but the IDF was ordered to withdraw.

The price that the IDF paid in recent weeks during Operation Protective Edge is terrible. We must not give up and lose the great achievements we have reached with blood and fire by adopting a ceasefire.

We must let the IDF win or at least determine the outcome so decisively that it will leave no room for interpretations.

That is why we must deliver a decisive military knockout to our enemies.


About the Author
Yair Shamir is the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and a former Colonel in the Israeli Air Force.