Alan Stein

When the pause officially ends Wednesday night

With indications that the temporary ceasefire will extend until Wednesday, unless it’s extended for a few more days with the release of more hostages in exchange for more terrorists, the pressure is growing for a permanent ceasefire. If it’s extended, the pressure will only get greater. (As if anyone doubted that.) Obviously, that pressure must be resisted; we can’t go back to the status quo ante and just wait for the next volley of rockets and the next mass terror attack.

Dan Perry and Ben-Dror Yemini were on i24 News Monday with a different proposal. They agreed Israel shouldn’t resume our military campaign when the pause ends Wednesday night. They said Israel should publicly make a generous offer, essentially that if Hamas (and by obvious extension all the other terror groups in Gaza) agrees to unconditional surrender, including the return of all the hostages – again, obviously including Avera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and the bodies of Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin – along with the destruction of all their tunnels, all their rockets and their complete disarmament, Israel would refrain from resuming its military campaign and help turn Gaza into a Singapore.

It’s obviously an offer to which the terror groups won’t agree. Indeed, Perry and Yemini appeared to agree about that. It’s also something Hamas and everyone else already know we’d be delighted to do, since they know we don’t want to fight, but just cannot continue to live next to a de facto terror state waiting for the next atrocity. Perry and Yemini appeared to argue it would reduce the pressure on Israel and enable it to then resume the dismantling of Hamas.

I don’t like the idea in that form, for at least two important reason: every day the ceasefire is extended is another day for Hamas to steal more of the “humanitarian aid” sent to Gaza, rearm, strengthen itself, move the hostages around, all while we have blinded ourselves by refraining from aerial surveillance. Every day makes it more difficult to rescue the remaining hostages and each day we continue the pause will get more of our soldiers killed.

On the other hand, we can get the political benefit without those negatives by simply not waiting for the official end of the pause to make that offer public.

If we wait for the official end of the pause, we’ll need to give Hamas time to make a decision. It will drag things out while it gets the benefit of a ceasefire without paying a price and the pressure will still build on us to make it a permanent ceasefire with Hamas in place and our people still held hostage.

Our government should make the offer now, with a hard deadline of Wednesday at midnight. No negotiations. No delays.

We’ll have made the generous offer public; when Hamas either publicly rejects it or simply doesn’t accept it by then, we will have made it undeniable – although there certainly will be people who deny it anyway – the terrorists were given a choice and forced our hand.

We can then continue with the dismantling of Hamas and the other terror groups and all their facilities. And any casualties will clearly be the fault of Hamas.

About the Author
Alan Stein is a retired mathematician (Ph.D. Courant Institute) and college professor (University of Connecticut) who was long active in Jewish communal affairs in the United States before deciding after retirment to spend winters in Israel, making aliyah with his wife in 2014 and splitting his time between Netanya and Natick, Massachusetts. He was CAMERA's Letter Writer of the Year in 2015 and enjoys playing tennis, bike riding, swimming, playing with computers and shopping at the shuk in Netanya.
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