Even with the agreement of a 72-hour ceasefire, Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas‘ tunnel network “with or without a cease-fire”. There is no guarantee this ceasefire will hold but even if it does, Israel will not return to this repetitive pattern of conflict. Too much innocent blood has already been spilled and it lies with Hamas. The only strategy that the Palestinians have never tried is accepting Israel’s existence and accepting that violence will never be the path to statehood. At that point, Israel would then be on the defensive, a far better strategy that the one that has failed and will continue to fail if the pattern continues. Israel is a legitimate state according to the world and on top of that has nuclear weapons. Add to that, the fact that many of the Arab States in the Middle East including Egypt are enemies with groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the situation in that part of the world has changed dramatically. Israel won’t be defeated in battle. The only path is peace.
What is happening in Gaza is nothing less than a human tragedy. Israel and Hamas have engaged in a conflict that continues to grow more and more heated and deadly. But it is important to note that this is a conflict with Hamas and not the Palestinian people and yet they are the ones who are suffering the most and experiencing the most casualties. Israel and Netanyahu have been quite frank with the facts, stating that the reason for innocents being in danger is because of the cowardly Hamas terrorists embedding themselves and their weapons amongst civilians. This strategy is unprecedented in history. Let those cowards come out in to the open and fight like men, not hide behind children. It’s absolutely unconscionable. But Israel can not let Hamas continue to fire rockets and mortars in to Israel and not expect Israel to respond. The only option for Hamas is to either surrender or cease to exist. Israel’s resolve in this conflict is very different than in previous conflicts. She is determined to end Hamas and return Gaza to her people. Unfortunately, with so many people displaced, injured and dying, even those who dislike or distrust Hamas can only see Israel as the enemy and that’s too bad, although understandable.
Israel must do everything it can to avoid civilian casualties but it can not fight Hamas, and also avoid innocent injuries and deaths. It simply isn’t possible. Hopefully this ceasefire will take and hold beyond the 72-hour window but make no mistake, Israel will not allow Hamas to repeat this cycle even one more time. Israel and Egypt for that matter, will not open the borders for Gazans only to see Hamas use them to re-arm. Concrete for schools and hospitals will not be used to build new tunnels. Rockets launched in to Israel will not be tolerated. It’s time for all parties to recognize the hopelessness and insanity of this conflict and sit down, without the terrorists and reach a real and lasting peace agreement with a Palestinian state being the ultimate goal. Believe it or not, this lies in the hands of the Palestinians.