Great to see a clear enunciation of what a military success will look like.
Good luck in getting it done.
It'll mean a lot of dead Palestinians.
Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarised, and Palestinian society must be deradicalised. These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours in Gaza.
First, Hamas, a key Iranian proxy, must be destroyed. The U.S., U.K., France, Germany and many other countries support Israel’s intention to demolish the terror group. To achieve that goal, its military capabilities must be dismantled and its political rule over Gaza must end. Hamas’s leaders have vowed to repeat the Oct. 7 massacre “again and again.” That is why their destruction is the only proportional response to prevent the repeat of such horrific atrocities. Anything less guarantees more war and more bloodshed.
In destroying Hamas, Israel will continue to act in full compliance with international law. This is especially challenging because an integral part of Hamas’s strategy is to use Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas places its terrorist infrastructure inside and underneath homes, hospitals, mosques, schools and other civilian sites, deliberately putting the Palestinian population at risk.
Israel does its best to minimise civilian casualties by dropping leaflets, sending text messages and using other means to warn Gazans to get out of harm’s way. Hamas by contrast does its utmost to keep Palestinians in harm’s way — often at gunpoint.
Unjustly blaming Israel for these casualties will only encourage Hamas and other terror organisations around the world to use human shields. To render this cruel and cynical strategy ineffective, the international community must place the blame for these casualties squarely on Hamas. It must recognise that Israel is fighting the bigger battle of the civilised war against barbarism.
Second, Gaza must be demilitarised. Israel must ensure that the territory is never again used as a base to attack it. Among other things, this will require establishing a temporary security zone on the perimeter of Gaza and an inspection mechanism on the border between Gaza and Egypt that meets Israel’s security needs and prevents smuggling of weapons into the territory.
The expectation that the Palestinian Authority will demilitarise Gaza is a pipe dream. It currently funds and glorifies terrorism in Judea and Samaria and educates Palestinian children to seek the destruction of Israel. Not surprisingly it has shown neither the capability nor the will to demilitarise Gaza. It failed to do so before Hamas booted it out of the territory in 2007, and it has failed to do so in the territories under its control today. For the foreseeable future Israel will have to retain overriding security responsibility over Gaza.
Third, Gaza will have to be deradicalised. Schools must teach children to cherish life rather than death, and imams must cease to preach for the murder of Jews. Palestinian civil society needs to be transformed so that its people support fighting terrorism rather than funding it.
That will likely require courageous and moral leadership. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas can’t even bring himself to condemn the Oct. 7 atrocities. Several of his ministers deny that the murders and rapes happened or accuse Israel of perpetrating these horrific crimes against its own people. Another threatened that a similar attack would be carried out in Judea and Samaria.
Successful deradicalisation took place in Germany and Japan after the Allied victory in World War II. Today, both nations are great allies of the U.S. and promote peace, stability and prosperity in Europe and Asia.
More recently, since the 9/11 attacks, visionary Arab leaders in The Gulf have led efforts to deradicalise their societies and transform their countries. Israel has since forged the historic Abraham Accords and today enjoys peace agreements with six Arab states. Such a cultural transformation will be possible in Gaza only among Palestinians who don’t seek the destruction of Israel.
Once Hamas is destroyed, Gaza is demilitarised and Palestinian society begins a deradicalisation process, Gaza can be rebuilt and the prospects of a broader peace in the Middle East will become a reality.
Mr. Netanyahu is Israel’s prime minister.
The Wall St Journal