Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Nice To Dream: Lieberman Wants To Topple Hamas? Where Have I Heard That Before?

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman makes the point that calm between Hamas and Israel is not enough--Israel needs to topple Hamas:
"The goal that we have settled on, of seeking a return to calm, is a grave error because it will allow Hamas to reinforce along the lines of Hezbollah," Lieberman told public radio, referring to the Lebanese militia with which Israel fought a 2006 war.

"The objective must be to force Hamas out of power," said Lieberman, who heads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

"To return to calm accepts a war of attrition in which Hamas can determine when there is a lull and when the front is heating up," he said.
You cannot argue with Lieberman's logic, but you can argue with the feasibility of actually pulling off something like that.

And it's not as if we have not heard talk like that before.

Remember the grand ideas and promises that were made at the start of Operation Cast Lead?

During a conference call organized by One Jerusalem, MK and Brigadier General Effie Eitam described what the Israeli government at the time had in mind for Hamas in Operation Cast Lead:
The 3 Main Goals That Lie Ahead

o Israel must make sure that the Philadelphia Corridor or southern part of Gaza will not be used for channel to smuggle in arms. If one cannot turn off the fuel, one cannot turn out the flames. There will be no missiles and no weapons through there. Should be a diplomatic effort--Israel, Egypt and some international forces should see to this. Egypt control can be relatively easily achieved.

o There is a need to separate the general Gazan population from the Hamas terror organization and move as many civilians as possible to southern Gaza from Gaza City and open an area in the dunes of what was Gush Katif. An area for humanitarian aid will be created, because now the problem is that the aid is not coming into the hands of the civilian population but to Hamas. We are talking about approximately 300,000-400,000 people who will get the best care for their temporary stay until Gaza City is cleared out from terrorists.

o Gaza city will be a hunting zone where Israel knows only Hamas and their supporters remain. After about a week it will be possible to bring Hamas to a ponit where they will not be able/willing to shoot ‘for quite a long time’.
Audio is available here.

That plan never materialized--and that was when Egypt might have been counted on to help. These days, Egypt instead is threatening to attack Israel if it should take steps to stop Hamas attacks on its civilians.Even then, the goal was to prevent Hamas from being able to fire on Israeli citizens ‘for quite a long time’. Toppling Hamas was not seen as a realistic goal.

What is a realistic goal for how to deal with Hamas today?

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