Israel must be free to finish the eradication of Hamas

Hamas cannot be destroyed by a permanent ceasefire


The destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, October 20, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** הרס חיילים איזור קיבוץ נחל עוז עזה רחבות ברזל

November 30, 2023 14:22

There have been few more moving sights since October 7 than the reunions between released hostages and their families. But it must never be forgotten why there is any need for these reunions: because as well as butchering 1,200 Israelis, Hamas also abducted over 200 and has kept them in Gaza as bargaining tools. Some of the reaction to the releases has bordered on the obscene, as if Hamas deserves recognition for some sort of humanitarian gesture. In reality, it has used the hostages to extort the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and to gain breathing space from Israel’s military operations. The Israelis are correct to argue that the hostages have only been released because Hamas has been desperate for respite from the IDF.

There has been understandable pressure within Israel to bring the hostages home. But Israeli spokespeople are right to repeat the mantra that the overriding purpose of the military operations in Gaza is to destroy Hamas. That cannot be achieved by a permanent ceasefire, which some are demanding. President Biden’s initial resolute support for Israel’s right to defend itself has started to weaken. And last week the foreign secretary, Lord Cameron, lectured his Israeli hosts about the number of civilian deaths in Gaza. The numbers are of course high, but responsibility lies with Hamas for embedding itself amongst civilian human shields and for refusing to surrender.

If Israel is to be able to eradicate Hamas, the pause to allow some hostages to be released will have to end. A long ceasefire would leave Hamas merely dented and would allow it to regroup and rearm. The international community may be irresolute but Israel knows what it has to do.

November 30, 2023 14:22

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