Analysis: Must Israel reoccupy Gaza?

For the past decade, Israeli leaders have focused on managing, rather than solving the Gaza terror crisis. 

By Daniel Krygier, World Israel News

Most security experts agree that as long as Hamas remains in power, Gaza will remain an unrelenting security problem. Yet, Israel’s political leadership has so far been unwilling to openly discuss a post-Hamas future in Gaza.

Is Israel doomed to be stuck with a Hamas-ruled terrorist state on its doorstep?

Those who oppose changing the status quo warn that if the Hamas regime is toppled, even more radical groups will emerge, like Islamic Jihad or ISIS-affiliated extremists. They say Hamas is the least bad alternative for Israel.

It’s difficult to imagine something worse than Hamas. The Jewish state has shown remarkable restraint in the face of eight months of border riots, rockets, fire kites and balloon bombs. We have seen 10 years of Hamas rule in Gaza, and the status quo is rapidly becoming unacceptable and untenable for Israel.

Members of Israel’s government express growing frustration. On Nov. 14, National Home Party Head Avigdor Liberman left his post as defense minister to protest what he saw as Israeli inaction in the face of Hamas rocket attacks, sparking a crisis that nearly toppled the government.

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A week later,  Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel is “closer than ever” to retaking Gaza. “And it means being willing to capture and hold the Gaza Strip, until we dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,” he said at a Jerusalem Post conference.

At the same event, Construction Minister Yoav Galant reinforced Erdan’s words, promising that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s “days are numbered.”

While a consensus may be building that Hamas must go, no one as yet has spelled out a long-term strategy for the Gaza Strip.

Handing it over to the Abbas regime in Ramallah is not a viable path. The Abbas regime is weak and would collapse the moment Israel withdraws again from Gaza. Not to mention that it, too, is an anti-Israel, terrorist regime, though pursuing a slightly more pragmatic path to the same genocidal goal. 

It should be noted that the Arabs of the Gaza Strip are fed up with the oppressive and corrupt Hamas regime. It isn’t hard to find in the media testimony from those who riot at the border that they would never have considered it if they had employment. A large, out-of-work and desperate population serves Hamas’s purposes. They have nothing to lose. 

Jerusalem Post Columnist and Author Caroline Glick, who for the time being opposes Israel’s reentry into the Gaza Strip, suggests the solution is to open the Egyptian border to Sinai, where work can be found in oil fields and other places. The Gazans, she argues, will go in search of better prospects in the peninsula, happily leaving Hamas behind.

Glick is right that Gazans, and for that matter Arabs from Judea and Samaria, would jump at the chance for a better life elsewhere than as pawns maneuvered into games of endless conflict by terrorist regimes. 

Perhaps Israel’s leadership should look to post-1945 Germany and Japan as models for a long-term resolution. It took years of U.S.-led transition periods before Germany and Japan became peaceful democracies.

The latter may or may not be a realistic solution, but the point is that long-term strategies need to be put on the table. Today, there is no discussion.

Only one thing is certain. The current situation can’t continue.