Monday, June 27th | 28 Sivan 5782

August 27, 2014 12:01 am

Schooling Hamas, Surprising Abbas

avatar by Michael Widlanski


Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Israel’s school year, which begins September 1, may soon force a policy change that has so far eluded Israeli leaders and strategic planners: destroying Hamas.”Ž

Thousands of Israeli school children from border settlements to cities such as Ashdod and Ashkelon will probably not go to school beginning in September until and unless Israel destroys Hamas. Mayors and leaders from southern communities have been telling Prime Minister Netanyahu that he must put an end to Hamas or schools will not open.

The Gaza terrorists have been badly hurt, and Islamic Jihad is almost without any weapons, but Hamas, which has lost as many as 1,000 fighters and perhaps three-quarters of its rockets, is still sending a deadly stream of rockets and mortars, killing a four-year-old boy last Friday. “Ž

Israeli leaders and strategic planners are continually surprised by Hamas and by its would-be partner, Mahmoud Abbas, the figure-head make-believe leader of the Palestinian Authority, whose term as leader expired years ago and who constantly violates the very agreements he signed with Israel on the White House lawn in 1993. Abbas has even announced a joint-Fatah-Hamas “unity government”- a process already underway.

Related coverage

June 26, 2022 3:23 pm

The ‘Judensau,’ Then and Now – Two major news stories to hit the headlines in Germany this month focused rather strikingly on negative depictions...

Surprise: Hamas planned to stage a take-over of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Israel discovered the plot when searching for three kidnapped Israeli boys abducted and murdered by Hamas. Nevertheless, Hamas and Abbas want to use each other.”Ž

Bigger Surprise: Hamas had 40 or more tunnels going into Israel, a lot more than Israeli Army Intelligence expected.”Ž

Biggest Surprise: Hamas is actually crazier than Israeli Intelligence believed, refusing and breaking ceasefires even when it “made no sense.”

Another big-time Surprise: Mahmoud Abbas, who wants to unite with Hamas, is not a little kitten named “Abu Mazen” meowing softly on the lap of Israeli leftists. Abbas is a devoted follower of the Fatah line of Yasser Arafat – and he has toughened Palestinian demands beyond what Arafat put forward.

Abbas has violated the Oslo Accords by dealing with Hamas and by trying to take Israel to the UN or the World Court. He now wants to impose a 100-percent Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem via a UN resolution – a fundamental and egregious violation of all Israel-PLO agreements.”Ž

So let us stop deceiving ourselves and start surprising our enemies.

To be clear, “destroying” a terror group does NOT mean “degrading” it, as Barack Obama often expresses as his goal for counter-terror policy.

President Obama’s 2010 “National Strategy for Counter-Terrorism” says the goal of the U.S.”Ž is “disrupting, dismantling, and eventually defeating al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents.” Maybe that is where Israeli leaders got the idea in 2012 of lshmor al ha-sheket – “keeping things quiet” in Gaza – as a strategic goal.

Not surprisingly, such limited anti-terror goals – like firing a water-gun at a cobra – gave us a revived Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, and the mutations known as Boko Haram and ISIS that chop off heads, take over countries, and call themselves caliphates. They also gave us a well-armed Hamas in Gaza.”Ž

Destroying a terror group means stopping its ability to operate for a significant amount of time by killing or capturing many of its armed forces, by decimating its command and control functions, and/or stopping the flow of arms and money.

Marwan Barghouthi, the Palestinian Arab mass-murderer who masquerades as a Fatah moderate, once complained in a private letter that Israel had crippled Fatah’s terror functions by stanching the flow of funds to Fatah. The document was found and translated when Israel seized Orient House, the PLO base in Jerusalem in 2002.”Ž

That same year Israel ended the plague of suicide bombings by conquering terrorist bases in the West Bank in Operation Defensive Shield (Hebrew: Mivtza Homat Magen). Before the operation began, it was condemned as immoral and militarily impossible by Israelis leftists who were proved wrong.”Ž

Because historically-illiterate pacifists often contend that there is no military solution to terror, it is worth recalling that Israel has had tremendous success when it fights terror, and it has enjoyed tremendous failure when it makes deals with terrorists: this is something that is rarely heard among the talking heads on Israel TV.”Ž

“The best way to deal with a terrorist is to kill the terrorist,” Walter Laqueur, the legendary scholar once observed.

It is a simple strategy that makes sense but is not always easily applied. Sometimes, we need to see a terror act as the final link in a chain that includes the drafting and indoctrination of terrorists, the funding of their activities, the purchase of their weapons, the planning of their bases, communications, and, finally, their operations.

We stop terror by breaking the chain. That is why we should not allow a Hamas port in Gaza or make deals with Hamas for missing Israeli soldiers or anything else.”Ž

Fighting terror is not a risk-free or cost-free enterprise, but it costs more to put one’s country at the whim of terrorists. Children cannot go to school, farmers cannot go to their fields, and planes may have trouble landing near Tel Aviv.

If that means occupying Gaza for six months, let’s do it, and let’s not turn the area over to Mahmoud Abbas, who has shown himself unable or unwilling to rule Gaza and unable or unwilling to make peace with Israel.

Let’s use the start of the Israeli school year to teach a lesson to Hamas and Abbas.

Let’s destroy Hamas, militarily, and let’s stop giving electricity and water to those shooting at us. Let’s impose gun-control on the terrorists and their supporters. Let’s clamp a five-kilometer wide cordon sanitaire inside Gaza that will help protect our southern communities from mortar shelling.”Ž

Let’s meet with Egypt and Jordan (and privately with the Saudis) to frame a regional formula for stability, economic reform, and counter-terrorism, offering a package of regional trade and development proposals and joint ventures. Let’s start acting and not reacting.”Ž

Let’s work with Egypt to control the Philadelphi corridor, the Rafah salient and Sinai against human slave traffickers, smugglers, and terrorists, and let’s keep out Qatar and Turkey, w”Žho have only anti-Israel motives.

Let’s link economic restoration of Gaza with the removal of the corrupt UNWRA, and let’s monitor the money transfers and insist on payment of all debts to Israel. Let’s call a plebiscite in Gaza for a new leadership to negotiate for the local population.”Ž

Let’s do the same in the West Bank, telling Mahmoud Abbas that his career is over. We have learned our lesson. Only those who renounce terror and stay away from Hamas and the other terror groups will be allowed to run for office.”Ž

Mahmoud Abbas recently bragged that he would bring Israel mufaji’a istratijiyya – a strategic surprise: let’s return the favor and surprise him and Hamas.”Ž

Dr. Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, published by Threshold/ Simon and Schuster. He teaches at Bar-Ilan University , was strategic affairs advisor in Israel ‘s Ministry of Public Security, and was the Schusterman visiting professor at University of California, Irvine for 2013-14. Widlanski has been a reporter, correspondent and editor at The New York Times, Israeli Army Radio, Cox Newspapers/The Atlanta Constitution and The Jerusalem Post.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.