There is an increasingly audible element in Israel questioning the government’s tactics against Hamas, asking why the IDF to date has not succeeded in halting rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israeli areas.
Giora Eiland feels the time has come for the government to change its tactics, to recognize the State of Hamas, and then respond as one would when a missile attack occurs over one’s international border from another sovereign nation.
Eiland feels that if Hamas wishes to be recognized as a nation then Israel should accommodate this request, adding the elections held to elect Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh “were more democratic than the elections in many neighboring Arab nations”.
Eiland told Israel Radio on Sunday 26 Cheshvan 5773 “we don’t need an all out war, but I cannot understand the ongoing absurd situation. On the one hand we do not recognize Hamas but on the other, we supply electricity, passage, fuel and water”.
Eiland explains that by shutting down essential services including forwarding tax funds, “Israel can create an intolerable situation for Hamas leaders without firing a bomb.” He does not see the merit in the targeted hits against terror cells firing rockets, and while they may appear effective on the surface, it is irrelevant which terror organization fires rockets. If Hamas is recognized as the sovereign authority, then the State of Hamas is to be held responsible.
Eiland feels cutting off services can result in halting attacks and a ground force incursion into Hamas may not be necessary.
When asked if there is anyone in Gaza that Israel can speak with, Eiland once again stresses that if Hamas is recognized as a state, then there is the elected government, to speak with and hold accountable, not individual terrorists.
Eiland is a retired IDF major-general, and a former National Security Advisor. He is a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies and holds an M.B.A. and B.A. in economics from Bar Ilan University.
Speaking to Israel Radio on Sunday as well was Omer Bar-Lev, a retired IDF major-general, a former commander of the Elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the IDF and candidate for a slot on the Labor Party ticket. He stated “Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu negotiated with Hamas to obtain the release of Gilad Shalit. Whoever gets it get it. Please stop telling me he does not negotiate with Hamas”.
Regarding cutting off of essential services to Hamas to halt attacks, Ben-Lev opposes such a move, stating “We the Jews should know better than most about the ills of collective punishment”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)