Isi Liebler: Facing Realities in the wake of Operation Protective Edge

Most of us were bitterly frustrated that the Hamas terrorist regime was not removed in the course of Operation Protective Edge. Although defeated, it remains in power and unless there is a diplomatic breakthrough, we must be prepared for the likelihood of a future conflict.......

The most critical message Israel has absorbed from this conflict is that for the time being, the practical implementation of a two state policy is off the agenda. Under the present circumstances, it is delusionary to suggest that the Palestinian Authority under Abbas is a peace partner. Set aside the duplicity, corruption and incitement of the PA. Ignore the fact that Abbas is threatening to charge Israel with war crimes at the International Criminal Court and refuses to repudiate his union with the genocidal Hamas who are committed to our destruction.

In the absence of an Israeli military presence, Hamas would already be in control of the West Bank. Furthermore, all opinion polls confirm that if a democratic election was held today, the vast majority of Palestinians would unquestionably elect a Hamas leadership. Under such circumstances, a Palestinian state would effectively mean the transformation of the entire West Bank into Hamastan and the subsequent exposure of all of Israel, including the major cities and airport, to the range of mortar fire and low range primitive rockets (which cannot be intercepted by Iron Dome). Hamas, supported by Iran, would thus be provided with ample opportunity to build tunnels and create mayhem even in Tel Aviv. Under such circumstances, it would be nothing less than suicidal for Israel to agree to a Palestinian state.

n this context, we must now confront the devastating political fallout created by our chaotic settlement policies. We have every moral and legal right to construct additional homes in the Gush Etzion bloc.  Ironically, despite all the hullabaloo, the statistics indicate that only 500 units were constructed in east Jerusalem and the settlement blocs.

The time has come for us to state our policy unequivocally. Other than natural growth, we will only permit construction inside the major settlement blocs and Jewish east Jerusalem – which all parties are fully aware shall remain part of Israel in any future settlement. We should stress that this conforms with assurances extended by President Bush to Prime Minister Sharon, pledged as an incentive to encourage the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, in which Bush undertook that in any future negotiated settlement, the U.S would endorse Israel’s sovereignty of those areas which had undergone major demographic growth.

We now face daunting diplomatic challenges which will determine whether we will be faced with another round of aggression from Hamas in the not-too-distant future. Our objective must be to defang Hamas or at least ensure that it is denied the opportunity of replenishing its armaments.

In this context, the lack of support for Hamas from the Arab world was quite remarkable. There were more pro-Hamas demonstrations in Europe than in moderate Arab countries.

Amazingly the Europeans and belatedly even the Americans are - proposing that Gaza must be demilitarized for the blockade to be lifted. There is scant likelihood that this will succeed, but if Egypt remains determined to bring an end to the Hamas/Moslem Brotherhood regime in Gaza, we may be pleasantly surprised for this could represent a major boost in our efforts to make genuine progress in eliminating the terrorist threat on our borders and moving towards a peace settlement. However, we must remind ourselves that the primary existential threat facing us is neither Hamas nor Jihadi terrorism but a nuclear Iran.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at