Gaza Must Be Liberated (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Israel is dropping hints that they really intended to go into Gaza and remove Hamas from power. If that happens, I’ll gladyl admit my error and update this post.

This weekend was yet another reminder that Khomeinism is a dangerous threat to the democratic world – specifically in this case, Israel and individual Israelis. By the time you read this, the death toll in Israel has passed 1,000 (Guardian). Even now, three days later, Israel is still not sure how many Hamas terrorists are active just east of the Gaza Strip.

Israel will retaliate – as it must; America will support them – as we must. For now (Tuesday morning), the focus seems to be on a “campaign that is aimed at destroying Hamas’s military capabilities” (WaPo).

Frankly, that won’t be enough. Any campaign by Israel that does not include removing Hamas from power in Gaza will, I fear, fail.

That’s not something anyone in the Israeli or American governments wants to hear at the moment but it’s a hard truth. Indeed, if this happened in any other region of the world, our democratic allies would start to summon the will to dethrone the bloodthirsty terrorists backed by bloodthirsty tyrants. We did that in Afghanistan before we lost our nerve. We’re still doing it in Iraq. We’re trying our best to do it in and for Ukraine.

Unfortunately, Gazans aren’t that lucky. No Arab regime would be willing to create the political culture that would bring democracy and prosperity to Gaza. The two Arab democracies (Iraq and Lebanon) are in no position to do it. Israel – even now – refuses to say if it will reoccupy a region it left in 2005 (and to which it has no interest in returning). Given our closeness to Israel, the level of regional distrust effectively blocks us or anyone else in NATO, save one.

… and even I acknowledge that having the Erdogan government of Turkey do it is at best the least bad option.

All that said, no policy in Gaza can succeed unless it aims to separate the people of Gaza from the terrorist regime that has controlled the Strip since 2007 – while making it abundantly clear that it has no interest in any effort to turn Gaza into Singapore-on-the-Mediterranean because it takes energy away from slaughtering Jews.

Hamas is the problem. It has replaced Israeli occupation of Gaza with de facto Iranian occupation of Gaza. The goal of this military effort can not stop short at “destroying Hamas’s military capabilities.” If Hamas still rules Gaza when this is over, then in truth, it isn’t over.

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