Is Israel Going To Wipe Out Hamas?

No matter what you think of the current conflict between the Israelis and Hamas, it is clear that neither side seems willing to give even a little. Israel’s ability to outweigh Hamas in its attacks by what looks like a 15 to 1 margin may be justifiable in the face of rocket attacks from Gaza and Hamas’ refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist, but it will not end the conflict.

I was reading an article this morning by progressive Rabbi Michael Lerner. His perspective began with a comparison:

If Mexico had a group of anti-imperialist South Americans bombing Texas, imagine how long it would take for the United States to mobilize a counterattack.

I can agree with him there.

He goes on, however, to criticize Israel for the size of the assault which it made on Gaza after Hamas’ initial rocket attacks:

Before Israel’s massive bombing, the Hamas bombings that began when the previous cease-fire ran out had not (thank God) killed anyone. The reason is obvious: Hamas has no airplanes, no tanks, nothing more than the weapons of the powerless—limited range mortars with limited accuracy. Hamas can harass, but it cannot pose any threat to the existence of Israel. And just as Hamas’ indiscriminate bombing of population centers is a crime against humanity, so is Israel’s massive attack against civilians (in addition to those killed thus far in Gaza, there are the thousands killed by Israel in the years of the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza)

There was a short period of time when there was a real cease fire, but Lerner blames both sides in it’s collapse:

Hamas had respected the previously negotiated cease-fire except when Israel used it as cover to make assassination raids against Hamas and other Palestinian leaders. Arguing that these raids were hardly a manifestation of cease-fire, Hamas would, as symbolic protest, allow the release of rocket fire (usually hitting no targets). But when the issue of continuing the cease-fire came up, Hamas wanted a guarantee that these assassination raids would stop. And it asked for more. With hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing acute malnutrition bordering on starvation, Hamas insisted that the borders be opened to counter Israeli attempts to starve the Gazans into submission. And in return for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, it asks for the release of a thousand Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

All of this, of course, with the Gazans vowing never to recognize Israel, even if a 2-state policy was actually worked out (this is an ongoing pain in the ass… however it made me think: what if the Sioux Indians swore never to recognize the United States as we defied treaty after treaty by settling on their lands and confining them to “Gaza-like” reservations? Wouldn’t we be in the same situation? It’s a good thing that situation happened in the 19th Century with 19th Century weaponry.)

Lerner outlines a seven-step solution that he proposes to solve the ongoing problem. You can view them here. He makes it clear, however, that Israel, being the greater power, really has to take the first positive actions.

I don’t believe it will happen. In the long run I have great sympathy for Lerner as he makes his final conclusion:

Meanwhile, it breaks my heart to see the terrible suffering in Gaza and Israel, as it does when witnessing the suffering brought to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Darfur—and the list goes on. For me as a religious Jew it is all the worse, because under the guise of serving God, both Jews and Arabs are actually acting out their accumulated pain in ways that will generate future suffering.

Under The LobsterScope


  1. CheckerboardStrangler

    I think the comparisons of Gaza to desolate Indian reservations is a bit much.
    You’d be hard pressed to find ANY Native American Indian reservation that looked as good as Gaza, and even now one must strain to find anything as cosmopolitan as Gaza, even on reservations that enjoy the influx of both Federal and casino cash.
    Gaza’s neighbors could do much to improve the quality of life if Israel would dial back the institutionalized discrimination, but they could do much even if Israel did NOT.

    But in any case, continuing to point at small homemade rockets is a fallacy, as anyone knows Hamas would never turn down more sophisticated weaponry if it became available, and IT WILL…
    it’s only a question of time.
    Both sides need to dial back the hatred in order for any reasonable solution to come about.

    But let’s be honest for a moment about the hatred…it’s not one-sided and neither is the entire history of the state of Israel, so again any comparison to our history with Native America is inaccurate. Israel’s history is unique in the world, and so are their problems.
    We do ourselves a disservice when trying to simplify the story by making comparisons to other historical events.

    Israel will never be able to adjust comfortably to a two state solution but comfort is not an option and it never was.
    Israel MUST accept that it lives with hostile neighbors.
    But for their part, the neighbors must accept that Israel will never cease to exist.

    Is Israel going to wipe out Hamas?
    Probably…there is no other solution because according to Hamas, “there is no such thing as Israel”.

  2. adamrussell

    You say neither side is willing to give an inch but what exactly is it you expect Israel to give? They had a peace treaty with the requirement that gaza not bomb israel. Is that too much to ask? Having their own country (gaza) was not enough. They want to be allowed an open border with Israel which is obviously not going to happen since when there is open border there is the suicide bomber problem. And please dont bring up humanitarian relief because up until they started this war they had the option of bringing it in from egypt, or the mediterranean, or even by air. They do not need an open border with Israel just to bring in relief.

  3. Flapsaddle

    The IDF can no more destroy Hamas than it could destroy its original “Palestinian” nemesis, Al Fatah; historically, neither the British nor the Arabs were able to destroy the Jewish resistance groups, the Haganah and the Irgun.

    Resistance movements, especially those with broad support, are virtually impossible to destroy. No matter how reduced, there will always remain a cadre of the fanatically loyal. Despite the massive defeat and ejection of Fatah from the West Bank in 1967, it reconstituted itself within four years to become a threat to its Arab host – Jordan. After the “Black September” slaughter and ejection from Jordan, Fatah moved to Lebanon – where it precipitated nearly two decades of civil war and general unrest.

    At most, Hamas fighting arm can be severely damaged and its capacity for action significantly reduced for some period of time. As long as the Arabs in Gaza cling to the notion that Hamas represents a successful resistance to Israel, it will continue to exist and cause problems for the Israelis.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  4. CheckerboardStrangler

    It looks like most of the complaints center around the scale of Israel’s response. I find myself wondering if Israel would see more support if it had embarked upon a “eye for an eye” scale response…
    you send us one Qassam rocket, we send you one artillery shell, or one of OUR rockets”.
    Naturally we would then hear complaints that Israel’s rockets had GUIDANCE SYSTEMS while Hamas did not.

    Tough beans.

  5. Flapsaddle

    I’d agree that it’s the “asymmetry” that is causing the uproar.

    However, would a more symmetrical – “balanced”? – response have stopped the rocket launchings?

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  6. CheckerboardStrangler

    No it won’t, but then again neither is the current approach!
    But it will neutralize the complaints coming from Gaza, and quell the outrage.
    Israel can simply say “hey, they send us one, we send one back”.
    You can’t fault ANYONE for doing that, not at all, and besides such an approach will also PREVENT Hamas from getting what it wants the most, their starring role as the underdog, which they are milking for all it is worth.