Photo Credit: Atia Mohammed/Flash90
Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, at a rally in Gaza City, on May 24, 2021.

According to reports, about a month before the first elections of 2019, in a closed meeting of the Likud Knesset faction, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the following: “Those who want to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state should support strengthening Hamas and (allow) the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy  –  to differentiate between the Palestinians in Gaza and the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.”

Much has been said recently about this strategy during the Netanyahu era.

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I would like to argue that this strategy is wrong, regardless of what the desired solution will be in Judea and Samaria and the conditions for future negotiations.

If the Israeli government objects to the establishment of a Palestinian state, it must state it openly and steadfastly, even in the face of international displeasure, including pressure from the Democratic American administration.

We should accept that the overwhelming majority of the world will never be convinced of the righteousness of our cause. Not because we do not have the facts and justice on our side, but because most are not even interested in beginning the conversation or holding the debate.

Nevertheless, justice and righteousness have never provided security for any people in history, and certainly not for Jews. Even support for the establishment of the Jewish State was taken largely out of cold geopolitical considerations. We should not forget that.

The only thing that provides security for Israel in the sea of constant violent rejectionism is strength, steadfast belief in our path and the perpetual pursuit of victory. Those who believe otherwise just have to look through the pages of history to understand their error.

If the Israeli government is convinced that there is a need to prevent the Palestinians from establishing a state which could harm the security of Israel, for which there is unfortunately plenty of evidence from the past, in Gaza and the entire Middle East, then there is no need to strengthen or even help maintain Hamas’ control in Gaza.  Every day it remains in power, is a direct and ongoing threat to the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Hamas must be destroyed, by the use of force.

We must not be afraid to take out their leaders, that is how we ended the Second Intifada, without fear of global reaction.

This will deter others, including Iran and Hezbollah, as well as foes.

There are examples from Israel’s history when we acted only according to security interests and against global opinion and pressure from world powers.

It is incumbent on us to force Hamas to raise the ‘white flag’ of surrender, because management of this particular conflict has shown to be a failure.

If Hamas launches a larger campaign, then we must fight, but not in order to manage the conflict, but to end it.  This way, we don’t lose people in vain, in to return to the same situation as at the beginning of the operation.

I am also not concerned that the Palestinian Authority will rule Gaza if Hamas should be routed, the claim that in order to do so, Israel will be required to negotiate the evacuation of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. If we decide in advance that there will be no evacuations, then there will no evacuations. It will simply not even be on the table, and all the players will understand this unequivocally.

Power and strength dictate whether there is a need to compromise. Every nation knows this intrinsically. We need to make the decision whether we are a proud nation that stands firm in what is right, or whether we are a vassal of the international powers.

We are sometimes too fearful of the threats of violence. The transfer of an American embassy and the American recognition of the Golan Heights passed quietly. Our attacks on Iran in Syria are also without significant blowback. The Americans, Russians and Europeans understand steadfastness.

Israel should no longer play this game where we believe we have to give to take to achieve our objectives. A proud and strong country acts in its own interests in multiple spheres at once, whether militarily, diplomatically or economically.

Hamas’ only purpose and role is to destroy Israel. There is no justification for its continued existence whatsoever. The tradeoff of one security issue for another will only end in violence, disappointment and failure. We don’t need to go too far back in history to understand this.

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Alex Selsky is a member of the board of directors of the Middle East Forum Israel, which leads the Israel Victory Project.