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If Israel laid down arms, destruction; if Hamas did, peace

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This Friday, a humanitarian cease-fire that had been declared came to an abrupt end because Hamas unilaterally and blatantly decided to resume its attacks on Israel. This should come as no surprise because we are dealing with a vicious terror organization that does not care even for its Palestinian brothers, let alone Israelis.

Israel is not alone in considering Hamas a terror organization. The United States, European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan and even Egypt have officially defined Hamas as a terrorist organization. Hamas is a terrorist organization the likes of al-Qaida, ISIS, Hezbollah and Boko Haram; all have a bold, thick connecting ideological line, all are part of the global jihad movement.

They all draw inspiration from one another. Thus, Hamas publicly praised al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden after his demise as a “Holy Warrior.”

A short reminder, Israel already accepted to cease fire three weeks ago on July 15. Should Hamas have complied, 1,600 lives would have been spared. Since July 15, Israel has agreed eight more times to cease fire – all cease-fires were either rejected or broken by Hamas, which responded by launching more rockets into Israel.

The goals in Operation Protective Edge were to protect Israeli civilians from more than 3,500 rockets that Hamas have fired during the past month on our cities, on our towns, on our civilians, on our children. And to protect Israelis from the threat of terror tunnels built to send death squads into Israel to commit terrorist atrocities against Israel’s civilians, to kidnap and to kill.

Wouldn’t you expect the U.S. government to do the same for you?

This is not only the right of every government, but its moral duty toward its citizens.

Be assured, Israel deeply regrets every civilian casualty, every single one. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Our enemy is Hamas.

This tragedy is of Hamas’ own doing as it serves a cynical strategy typical to extremists, as noted recently by The Washington Post, which stated “the Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks.”

This insight was recently echoed by former U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton, who said, “Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas.”

Hamas must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life. It must be ostracized from the family of nations for its callous abuse of civilians.

Hamas must be prevented from re-arming as part of Gaza’s general demilitarization. This is important not only for the people of Israel, but also for the people of Gaza, and for all of us who want to see an end to the violence and an end to the suffering. That is the only guarantee that this conflict will not repeat itself.

The sad truth is that, if Israel were to lay down its arms tomorrow, Israel would be annihilated – but if Hamas were to lay down its arms tomorrow, there would be peace.

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