In the haunting silence that follows yet another terrifying burst of gunfire, amidst the charred remains of a once peaceful kibbutz near the Gaza border, lies an emblem of innocence—a baby, found alone at Kibbutz Kfar Aza, whose parents may have been kidnapped by Hamas.
Hamas terrorists infiltrate an IDF base in Israel's southern district, severing contact with the soldiers stationed there, instilling a chilling silence that reverberates the menace of an unyielding enemy.
In the border town of Sderot, the crisis assumes an unprecedented hue. Shoval Kahlon, a resident, details a harrowing narrative where Hamas terrorists tread with impunity, their boots echoing the terror that now haunts the streets. They knock on doors, their sinister motives revealed when residents, expecting to find IDF troops, unwittingly open their doors to terrorists who take them hostage.
The child's silent cries for the missing parents, the silence of soldiers under siege, and the gunfire breaking out in front of kindergartens and supermarkets in Sderot, echo the unspeakable horrors of a conflict that knows no boundaries, a vivid testament to the wanton brutality and ruthlessness of Hamas's aggression and unprecedented invasion against Israel.
Each rocket launched, each life claimed, and each family torn apart underscores the urgent need for Israel, and the world, to reevaluate and respond to the ongoing crisis with a blend of strategic might and lethal determination.
In June, the Middle East Forum released a policy paper challenging Israel's passive "mow the lawn" Gaza policy, instead presenting a path toward Israel victory. The paper calls on Israel to rid itself of Hamas's threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively the cost of threatening Israel. With today's attack, however, it is time to destroy Hamas once and for all.
The imagery of terror unleashed upon innocent Israeli lives flickers incessantly across television screens. Hamas and their allies have not just violated international law, they have trampled upon the very essence of humanity, initiating an era of darkness on this fateful fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. The world has witnessed the resilience of the Jewish people, their undying spirit echoing the sanctity of their historical endurance. Today, as war detonates at Israel's doorstep, that endurance is summoned again – not out of choice, but necessity. Israel fights not for conquest, but for survival; not for dominance, but for the right to live without the darkened clouds of existential threat shadowing its every step.
The echoes of innocence are drowned out by the terrifying sounds of explosions. Hamas has not just ignited a war; it has declared an open siege on the Jewish state. The harrowing scenes unfolding in Israel's heartland cities, as terrorists pour into the streets and rockets rain down, tens of Israelis murdered, dozens kidnapped, and hundreds maimed, highlight an urgent imperative: The time has come for Israel to take definitive action against Hamas in Gaza.
The world watches in stunned silence, the horrors unfolding with each passing moment. Every rocket fired is a testament to Hamas's entrenched enmity and an unyielding commitment to Israel's destruction. Each act of terror underscores the urgent necessity for a direct, unequivocal response unencumbered by prevailing considerations of international consensus. Israel's action is not born of choice, but of an existential imperative.
The current situation is not just an act of terrorism: it is an invasion, an orchestrated massacre gleaming with the sinister glare of genocidal intent. Mohammad Deif's call for a total Arab war against Israel pulls the Middle East to the brink of catastrophe, resurrecting the ominous shadows of historic conflicts.
In the wake of this horrible invasion, a call is scheduled to take place this morning between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin. Netanyahu, embodying the resolve and anguish of a nation under siege, should articulate the grim realities Israel faces. "Mr. President," Netanyahu might say, "our nation is under assault. The skies are ablaze with rockets from Hamas, an organization that places its weaponry amidst civilians, using them as shields while they aim to exterminate us. The child found alone, echoing the silent yet deafening screams of a nation, is a stark testimony to the urgency and gravity of this threat."
President Biden, confronted with this reality, should respond with the unyielding support of the United States and recognize the need to disarm Gaza. One hopes he says, "Prime Minister Netanyahu, the United States unequivocally stands behind Israel. We recognize the profound threat posed by Hamas—an organization that not only seeks Israel's destruction but undermines the principles of peace, security, and human dignity. America will not waver in its commitment to Israel's right to defend itself, and we shall extend our unwavering support, both diplomatically and materially, to ensure the security of the Israeli people."
Israel's response, therefore, cannot be mired in half measures and restrained actions. The re-occupation of the Gaza Strip emerges not as a choice but an imperative. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, entities nurtured by an unquenchable thirst for Israeli destruction, must be eradicated—for as long as they draw breath, the specter of annihilation looms over every Israeli child, woman, and man.
The disarmament of Gaza is not an act of oppression – it is a stride towards peace. Each rocket, every weapon that is wrested from the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, echoes the distant but undeniable drumbeats of a region where children can dream without the nightmare of war shadowing their innocence.
Israel's consideration to eliminate Hamas's leadership and disband its organization is born not from a thirst for retribution, but from strategic and legal necessity. It is rooted in the objective to neutralize an existential threat, to silence the guns that leave children orphaned, and to dismantle the ideological edifice that fuels a relentless campaign of terror.
This is not a decision made lightly, but is necessitated by the evolving nature of the threat. There is a detailed case for a comprehensive military intervention against Hamas, reasons that go beyond the need to respond to the despicable invasion launched this morning from Gaza.
Hamas's charter unequivocally calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Their acts of aggression are not limited skirmishes or disputes over borders, but pose a fundamental existential threat to Israel and its citizens.
Over the years, Hamas has significantly upgraded its military capabilities, amassing thousands of rockets, including many that can reach Israel's major cities. The recent barrages on civilian centers underscore the extent of this threat.
Hamas has built an intricate network of tunnels used for smuggling weapons, launching attacks, and infiltrating Israel. The recent invasions are testament to the effectiveness and danger of these tunnels.
Hamas has consistently and strategically placed its military infrastructure within civilian areas near schools, hospitals, and homes. This strategy not only puts Palestinian civilians at risk, but complicates Israel's efforts to neutralize threats.
History has shown that Hamas has not honored ceasefire agreements, but uses periods of calm to regroup and rearm, only to renew hostilities with increased vigor. Hamas's actions and alliances, particularly with Iran, contribute to broader regional instability. Addressing the Hamas threat can help create a more stable Middle East.
Every state has a primary duty to protect its citizens. With Hamas's escalating aggression and capability to strike deep within Israel, military action becomes a matter of national security and civilian protection. Hamas's dominance in Gaza is one of the most significant impediments to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. By removing this extremist element, the door might open for more moderate voices to emerge.
Hamas, with its clear-cut and unambiguous intent to obliterate the State of Israel, presents an existential threat that transcends conventional security challenges. Every rocket launched and tunnel constructed underscores an existential menace that compels Israel to prioritize the safety of its civilians.
It is at this critical juncture that the complete destruction of Hamas and the targeted assassination of its leadership emerges as a central tenet of Israel's strategic response.
Each act of aggression from Gaza is not an isolated incident of terror, but a stark reminder of an ideological and existential war waged against Israel's very existence. To mitigate this persistent threat, neutralizing Hamas becomes an essential, albeit complex, objective. The organization's intricate military and social infrastructure, embedded deep within civilian habitats, exacerbates the challenge.
Completely dismantling Hamas and targeting its leadership for elimination are strategically calculated measures to eradicate an immediate and profound threat. The potency of this approach lies in its ability to decapitate the organizational and ideological machinery driving the incessant attacks, thereby incapacitating its operational capability.
The re-occupation of Gaza is the only tactical maneuver to achieve this objective. The direct oversight of the territory would enable a systematic and comprehensive destruction of Hamas's military and ideological edifice. Additionally, it would curtail the influx of weapons and militant resources, thereby crippling the organization's capacity to wage war.
For all these reasons and more, Israel's case for military action against Hamas in Gaza is clear. The organization must be torn from Gaza root and stem. While war should always be a last resort, Israel now faces a situation in which decisive action is required to safeguard its future and pave the way for a more stable, peaceful Middle East.
Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum.