Washington Times


Tue Jan 13, 2009

Eliminate Hamas

Roger Chapin


ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS
A pro-Israel demonstrator carries the Jewish state's flag near the Israeli Consulate in New York on Sunday in support of Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip to rout Islamic militants of Hamas.


OP-ED:
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Let us all hope that for the sake of Western civilization, Israel has finally resolved to give us all a lesson in how to destroy a maniacal radical Islamic movement.  For us to do any less to Hamas, no matter the cost, is to ensure a vastly more deadly and destructive conflict that would scar both Israel and its Arab adversaries for decades to come.

So, let Israel seize what is an historic opportunity to begin the long overdue process of imposing peace on the entire region.  This, by eliminating Hamas as a military, social, economic and political force, even if it means leveling much of Gaza as we did to Germany in World War II.  While this will undoubtedly require the forceful reoccupation of Gaza, Israel can spare its military heavy casualties by largely avoiding urban warfare and continuing its aerial assault until Hamas is either bombed or starved into submission, no matter what the rest of the world may think.  But such a strategy should only be the first phase of a well-articulated and -publicized long-term master plan to finally bring about a lasting peace between Arabs and Jews.  By doing so, all legitimate parties can share the hope of a more promising future.  Accordingly, once Hamas has been totally eliminated, Israel should:

1. Set up a strong force - with or without the participation of other Western nations, but totally independent of the United Nations - to police and govern Gaza until such time as a Palestinian state is established.  All radical-Islamic-run schools would be shut down and radicals banned from the airways, publications and mosques.

2. Unilaterally set up a separate Palestinian territory in the West Bank, which preferably would come under the protection and governance of an international authority of Western nations.  If after at least five years the Palestinians met necessary preconditions, a democratic, independent demilitarized state would be established.  Thus, the makings of a future Palestinian state would be put in place, giving the Arabs a strong incentive to make it a reality.

3. Assemble a 500,000-man, individually recruited International Freedom Force under Israeli command, and, when operational, give Hezbollah this ultimatum:  Either dismantle its militias and cease all political, economic and social activities or suffer the same fate as Hamas. And let Syria know any interference on its part will result in the replacement of its regime.

The idea, of course, is to confront the enemy with such overwhelming force that war can either be avoided entirely, or if necessary, it can be of relatively short duration and inflict only a minimum of collateral damage.  It is key to present Hezbollah with absolutely no hope of success.  Either way the savings from the lesser losses in life and property would more than justify the cost of the Freedom Force.

The time has come to stop all the nonsense about pretending a peace settlement can be negotiated between Arabs and Israelis.  The simple fact is that there are presently no responsible factions on the Palestinian side who have any real authority to negotiate.  And it is sheer madness to think either Hamas or Fatah could be trusted to honor any kind of meaningful agreement, as both are dedicated to the extinction of Israel - as is Hezbollah.

If a now-brewing catastrophic bloodbath between the Arabs and Israelis is to be avoided in the near future, it is imperative that the United States and hopefully its "allies" rally behind Israel and form a solid front to put Hamas and later Hezbollah out of business.  No more truces, no more cease-fires, no more half-hearted measures that serve only to allow the radicals time to become a far more dangerous adversary.

So, let us at last learn from our mistakes and our years of unwarranted optimism and mightily assist Israel in dismembering the radicals and permanently ending the ever-escalating cycle of violence.  Free elections and democracy can come later.  The 60-year history of conflict since the birth of Israel has shown there is no rational alternative.  When we confronted Hitler's Germany in the 1940s, President Roosevelt had the courage and the conviction to unwaveringly demand unconditional surrender.  Let us and the Israelis have the stomach to demand no less from Hamas. 

What we do or don't do in the days ahead could very well determine whether our nation will shape its own destiny in the life-and-death struggle that now engulfs us or will we allow others to determine it for us.  No less than our very survival as a strong and prosperous nation is at stake. 

Roger Chapin is president and founder of Make America Safe.