By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The goal of Israel's war against Hamas' terrorism – which has systematically and deliberately launched missiles at civilians - must not be another ceasefire, but the devastation of the entire infrastructure of Hamas' fire - logistically, operationally, financially, educationally and politically.
The goal of Israel's war against Hamas' terrorism – which has grown in power following each round of clashes and ceasefire - must not be an end to the current cycle of violence, but ending the cyclical pattern of violence, by destroying Hamas' terrorist capabilities.
The goal of Israel's war against Hamas' terrorism – which directly impacts Israel's confrontation with Iran, regional Islamic terrorism, Hezbollah and other enemies – must be the restoration of Israel's posture of deterrence, which has been severely undermined by the twenty-one year-old Oslo-driven policy of engagement and containment – rather than devastating – the dramatically expanding Palestinian and Hezbollah infrastructures of hate education, terrorism, in general, and missile capabilities, in particular. Israel's posture of deterrence has also been crippled by putting up with systematic Palestinian non-compliance, while rewarding Palestinian belligerence and terrorism with territorial, diplomatic and economic concessions; tolerating the deliberate and extensive Palestinian destruction of Temple Mount archeology; and the massive release of Palestinian arch-terrorists.
Israel's posture of deterrence constitutes the most crucial axis of Israel's national security in the face of the rising tide of Islamic terrorism, the Arab Tsunami and increasingly violent Muslim intolerance towards the "infidel" Christians and Jews, contending that the Middle East (as well as Spain, Portugal, Southern France, Sicily and parts of Italy's mainland) is divinely-ordained to Muslims.
A national posture of deterrence is doubly crucial in the Middle East, the world's leading breeding ground of terrorism, where compromise, concession, retreat and the lack of unyielding posture are perceived by the Muslim/Arab street as indecisiveness, insecurity and weakness, thus fueling further radicalism, violence, terrorism and war.
For example, the murder of almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11 was ignited by the frail US response to a systematic campaign of Islamic terrorism, beginning with the 1983 murder of 300 US Marines at the US Embassy and Marines Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon (while the US brutally opposed Israel's war on the PLO); the 1988 murder of 270 PanAm-103 passengers (a few months after the US recognition of the PLO); the 1993 murder of six and injuring of over 1,000 Americans in the first attempt to blow up the Twin Towers; the 1995 failed attempt to simultaneously blow up eleven US airliners over the Pacific; the 1995/6 murder of 19 US soldiers in Riyadh and Khobar Towers (while Clinton courted Arafat); the 1998 murder of 257 people at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (while Clinton pressured Netanyahu); and the October, 2000 murder of seventeen USS Cole sailors (when Clinton brokered unprecedented Israeli concessions to the Palestinians).
Today's unprecedented Hamas' firepower – including underground missile manufacturing capabilities – was facilitated by Prime Minister Sharon's 2005 "disengagement" from Gaza, which catapulted Hamas to power and drastically undermined Israel's personal and national security, holding millions of Israelis hostage to Hamas' terrorism.
The unprecedented boost to Hezbollah's terrorist infrastructures, including missiles capabilities, and the October, 2000 unprecedented Israeli Arab violence and wave of Palestinian terrorism (the Second Intifadah), were triggered by Prime Minister Barak's May, 2000 reckless flight from Southern Lebanon, exacerbated by his unprecedented concessions offered to Arafat at Camp David in July 2000.
The unparalleled scope of Palestinian terrorism, hate-education and non-compliance has been the result of a series of groundbreaking Israeli ideological and territorial concessions since the launching of the 1993 Oslo Process, which transferred most Palestinian terrorists from Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon to Judea, Samaria and Gaza, while transforming Israel's policy from "no Palestinian state" to the "two state solution" and from security-driven peace to the delusional peace-driven security state of mind. The Oslo Process also introduced a restrained unilateral Israeli political/military action, while seeking political/military coordination with the Palestinian Authority and the USA. This paved the road to Hamas' takeover of Gaza and potentially dominating Judea and Samaria.
The well-intentioned Oslo-driven peace process has been hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, while Israeli and American policy-makers subordinate national security, in general, and war on terrorism, in particular, to self-destructive oversimplification and wishful-thinking. Thus, it has promoted the gullible notion that "talking minimizes shooting."
An effective war on terrorism must be offensive and military rather than defensive and diplomatic; preemptive and preventive, not retaliatory; comprehensive, disproportionate and sustained, not surgical, restrained and limited; preventing the gun from reaching the hand, not waiting for a smoking gun; long term security-oriented, not short term convenience-driven; overriding and facilitating the peace process, not subordinated by the "peace process"; at any price and not deterred by the price (no pain, no gain); operating at the breeding ground of terrorism, not through remote-control; in defiance of global pressure and condemnation, not subdued by Western policy and public opinion; a war pursued until total submission by terrorists, not a war of attrition. Ceasefire/containment is no longer an option!