The IDF launched a much anticipated ground offensive in Gaza against Hamas on Saturday evening, January 3, 2009.
Some Israelis are hoping that the military operation will be able to finish what Israel’s Air Force started. Alex Fishman writes in Yedioth Ahronot that “Hamas’ military wing was not destroyed, it was simply destabilized for the first 48 hours of the operation, at least.”
Ophir Falk warns that:
“the IDF’s victory over the Hamas must be conclusive, leaving no room for commentary as to the triumphant side. Anything short of this will serve as another Hamas, Iranian and Hizbullah building block.”
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A ceasefire that does not achieve the dismantlement of Hamas’ military capabilities would be counterproductive and eventually lead to another round of bloodshed. New rules of engagement must be set, whereby Hamas is disarmed and a sustainable truce is achieved. If this mainstay of Sunni terrorism remains capable of attacking Israel, a renewed assault will be inevitable.
Therefore, after the unconditional return of the abducted Israeli soldier [Gilad Shalit], the immediate objective of Israel and the international community must be a permanent disarmament of Hamas and organizations of its ilk. The only way to achieve this goal is to pound Hamas until it is forced to disarm, and then reinforce the truce with effective international force.
It is predictable that Hamas will continue to use civilians as human shields, firing from mosques and U.N.-run schools.
Will this U.N. do anything to disarm Hamas? It seems unlikely, especially given the amount of heavy weaponry that Hamas has brought into Gaza’s U.N.-operated institutions.
The same thing occurred when militant Sunni group Fatah al-Islam installed itself inside U.N.-run Palestinian camps last year in Lebanon. What did the U.N. do to prevent, stop, and disarm Fatah al-Islam? Absolutely nothing. Fatah al-Islam reportedly brought battle-hardened terrorist fighters to Gaza where they likely taught Hamas military skills and terror techniques.
With Iran’s military, financial, and technical training, Hamas has remained not a strong terrorist group with its operational base in Gaza. Its practices of torturing and assassinating Palestinians are not the stuff from which democracies are made.
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