Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
 
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Children in refugee camp in Gaza--
photo by Rhonda Spivak, taken in the 1980's

 
Editorial: Can Israel win its war against Hamas rule in Gaza?

by Rhonda Spivak, Jan 8, 2024

 

If  Hamas is not sufficiently destroyed in  Gaza and remains in power  with its top leaders Yihaya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif alive in tunnels, it is possible that Hamas could be able to regroup, fight on and keeping control of Gaza. And while Hamas as an idea may still exist after the fighting stops, I certainly hope that it is not able to continue to rule Gaza.

But South Africa is charging Israel with genocide against the Gazans and incitement to genocide at the International Court of Justice, and seeking an injunction for a permanent ceasefire. Should they be successful, Israel's international reputation will be damaged extensively,and it may well mean that the United States, which has opposed South Africa's charge, will no longer support the war, and will not replenish the needed weaponry, as the United States will not want to appear to be complicit to genocide. (If this injunction is given, I also wonder whether at that point there will be increased pressure to hold elections in Israel, which Netanyahu will not be able to win.) If this injunction is given, it could mean that the war will end without Hamas being defeated,or close to being defeated. And if the injunction is given, then there is also a suggestion that Israel could be held responsible for paying for the rebuilding of Gaza. 

I don't understand why the US all along that has not been pressuring Qatar, Hamas's backer, to have Hamas leaders Sinwar and Dief, and the rest of the Hamas leadership give themselves up, and exit Gaza, relase the hostages, and  this would end the war. The US has leverage over Qatar, as the US has a military base in Qatar and could threaten to move this base to the United Arab Emirates if Qatar doesn't help ( Since Qatar is a sponsor of Hamas, isn't it time the  U.S rethink it's overall relationship with Qatar in any event?)

The IDF and Shin Bet have reportedly said they want Gazan "clans" who they know and trust to be temporarily in charge of Gaza, with each clan being responsible to handle humanitarian aid and resources for their local region, as opposed to a "revitalized" Palestinian Authority taking over Gaza as per President Biden's vision.

Martin Indyk,  a former US ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, has implicitly criticized this plan put forward by Israel’s security establishment. On X, formerly Twitter, Indyk wrote that the plan harks back to a similar plan from the 1970s, which would have seen the West Bank governed by “village leagues,” who, according to Indyk, “were universally rejected by the Palestinians as collaborators.”

We will have to see how this plays out.

 

Regarding the estimates of the number of Hamas fighters that Israel has killed, IDF sources say they have killed about 8000 fighters, in addition to wounding many others, but Arab sources suggest fewer fighters have been killed, around 3500. And there could be anywhere between 30,000-40,000 Hamas fighters. But there are also other additional fighters from other terror groups in Gaza. 

 

If Hamas is not toppled in Gaza or somehow is able to regroup, it will be rewarded for its Oct 7 pogrom, and will continue its genocidal plans to carry out more massacres of Israelis, all of whom Hamas considers to be “illegal settlers.”

 

In the West Bank, Hamas is far more popular than the corruption riddled Palestinian Authority, and without the IDF security presence in the West Bank, Hamas likely  would have taken over there. Hamas and other armed groups in the West Bank are  flooding the West Bank with armaments smuggled via  Israel's long border with Jordan. Already Israel has found a Palestinian armed resistance group in the West Bank that has dug tunnels in Jenin, and Israeli citizens near Tulkarem are reporting hearing digging noises. There are 150,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank that have not been let into Israel to work until Oct 7, but the Israeli security services are concerned if they remain unemployed, the situation could be further destabilized. 

 

Salam Fayyad, the former Palestinian Prime Minister as well as Egypt have indicated that they want Hamas to be part of an overall future government in the Gaza strip, under the auspicies of the Palestinian Authority. But any involvement of Hamas is a complete non-starter for Israel, and most Israelis don't seem to sign onto Biden's vision of a revitalized Palestinian Authority ruling the West Bank and Gaza under a unified leadership. (Note that the PA will pay the families of the murderous attackers of Oct 7, with grants followed by monthly stipends for life)  

 

It is important to note Gazans have begun more openly to criticize Hamas, for not building a better future for Gazans. Gazans increasingly understand that Hamas has brought death and destruction on its own people, without caring one iota about them. Gazans who are critical of Hamas have up until now been afraid of speaking out more forcefully as Hamas members kill them or their families. And, by the way, behind the scenes Egypt, Jordan, The UAE and Saudi Arabia have also wanted to see Hamas defeated, but they have also wanted far more humanitarian aid, and safe places for Gazans, and support a ceasefire. 

If Israel does not successfully topple Hamas, Israelis may well not feel safe enough to return to live in the South of Israel, and the kibbutzim that were destroyed will not be rebuilt, and the State of Israel, which is already very tiny, will de facto become even smaller. This will be  victory for an emboldened Iran. Since Hamas is Iran’s proxy, Iran will get the message that it can arm Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza with impunity.

 

If israel doesn't win this war, Hezbollah, which has been allowed to re-arm and comfortably sit on Israel’s northern border, contrary to the UN resolution 1701 in 2006 which prevents it from doing so, will be emboldened further. Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, will get the message that it can plan to invade Israel from the north and capture Israeli cities in the Galilee, similar to what Hamas did in the South. These plans are active and there are Hezbollah advanced and extensive tunnels in Southern Lebanon. It is difficult to see how Israelis on border communities in the north, who are now internally displaced, will return to  their homes until Hezbollah is moved  back to the Litani River. (Israel arguably has made  a major strategic mistake in allowing Hezbollah to build up its weaponry, including far ranging precision missiles, since 2006, in addition to building an elaborate tunnel system.) The IDF had wanted to open this current war by conducting a pre-emptive strike against Hezbollah now but Biden prevailed upon Netanyahu not to allow this. If there is not a diplomatic solution found, we may yet see a war in the north, which may occur in the spring of 2024. 

In fact, the IDF has just appointed a panel to probe the military's failures prior to Oct 7 in order to better prepare the IDF for fighting against Hezbollah.

Israel is now also insisting that in coordination with Egypt , it will control the Philedelphi corridor between Egypt and Rafah in Gaza, such the Hamas or anyone else will not be able to re-arm through tunnels that go underground from Gaza to Egypt (this is one way Hamas could have gotten all its weaponry since 2007). This smuggling has also occurred above ground as Hamas over the years simply bribed Egyptian officials at the border crossing. Egypt may be opposed to Israel's presence at the Philedelphi corridor, and it remains to be seen how this will be worked out. The Israelis, however, will be very serious about not allowing weaponry into Gaza either through underground tunnels or above ground.

 

If Hamas were to remain in power in Gaza, I wonder whether moderate Arab states would fund the the reconstruction of Gaza, as if Hamas is in power, there can only be continued ongoing cycles of violence. . At the same time however Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates, have said  will only pay for the reconstruction of Gaza if they see Israel is serious about agreeing to a two state solution. If Hamas remains in power, Houthi rebels from Yemen, another Iranian proxy will be emboldened, and will continue attacking Israel and Israel bound vessels in the Red Sea.

 

If Israel can not rout out Hamas, then I foresee Netanyahu and his government falling. They will be blamed for the failure of Oct 7, and for not restoring Israel's deterrent power.

 

I do hope that Western democracies, including Canada should take a good look through all the schoolbooks that are being taught in the West Bank and Gaza in schools run by UNRWA, and demand that these books be changed to bring in a curriculum that ceases to demonize Jews and claim that Jaffa, Haifa, etc. should all be part of Palestine, which will replace the State of Israel. This will be needed if there ever is to be peace in the region. 

Finally, I am not in any way making light of the loss of innocent civilian Palestinian life in this war-- such as that of young children, or the lives of Gazans who have not supported Hamas prior to Oct 7. The loss of any innocent life is tragic- but I do hope that Hamas rule will come to an end.

Needless to say, it's worth pointing out that the kibbutzim on the south who have suffered and continue to suffer such trauma from the Hamas attacks, contained many voices who advocated for peace and co-existence with their Palestinian Gazan neighbors. Many of them have moved to the right in terms of their political beliefs and no longer believe peace is possible.

 

 

 
<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • JNF NEGEV Dinner
  • Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
  • Manitoba Opera
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Orthodox Union
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Dr. Brent Schachter and Sora Ludwig
  • PFK Lawyers
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Coughlin Insurance Brokers
  • Safeway Tuxedo
  • Gislason Targownik Peters
  • West Kildonan Auto Service
  • Lipkin Family
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Chisick Family
  • Sandra Kliman and Jeff Norton
  • Lorne Weiss
  • John Orlikow
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Erickson Motors
  • Avrom Charach
  • Marr Finlayson Pollock
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Chochy's
  • Josef Ryan
  • Fair Service
  • Roseman Corp
  • Broadway Law Group
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.