The end of Hamas is crucial to a two-state solution


Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders might be a left-winger, but often he is right. However, about Gaza he is very wrong – as are most of my liberal friends. They blame Israel for genocide. Not true.

Israel’s army has given civilians numerous chances to escape, has dropped leaflets and made telephone calls in Arabic to warn people, and has provided safe corridors. That is why millions left northern Gaza and are now in Rafah. After Rafah, there are other safe places to go.

Hamas claims that 29,000 people have been killed in Gaza. But an estimated 11,000 are fighters, not civilians. The remaining 18,000 deaths are less than in other battles in urban areas: in Aleppo, Syria, 23,000 civilians died, 2012–2016; in Mosul, Iraq, 25,000 died, 2016-2017. None of these battles was labeled genocide. None saw large protests.

Right now, Syria and Russia are killing civilians in northwest Syria. No one is protesting. China has been wiping out Muslim Uyghur culture. No one is protesting on college campuses.

In 1945, the United States and allies bombed cities in Germany and Japan, killing over 100,000 civilians in Tokyo alone. No one called it genocide – no one protested. Everyone thought the killing was justified to rid the world of fanatical regimes.

So why the protests about Gaza? Does it have anything to do with the billions of dollars Qatar has sent to Gaza and elsewhere? Who is paying for all those fancy Palestinian flags at the protests? Not poor college students. Nor the poor Socialist Party members at the forefront.

A permanent ceasefire right now is hazardous for peace, because 83% of West Bank residents approve of Hamas’ violent massacre on Oct. 7, according to a poll done late last year in Gaza and the West Bank by the group Arab World for Research and Development.

A ceasefire will make these people believe that the Hamas way is the road to victory. That delusion will lead to more killing sprees. Such myths and delusions make it impossible for a Palestinian state to happen.

Consequently, the defeat or surrender of Hamas is necessary for a two-state solution. Both peoples need to accept one another for each to thrive in peace.

So, how can we achieve a real peace in the Levant?

A containment policy worked when a fanatical Soviet Union created violence all over the world. Israel tried policy– it restricted materials for war, but allowed food, water, electricity and cash from Qatar into Gaza. But Hamas supporters complained about genocide and apartheid! And containment did not work.

In Europe, containment worked meaning it brought down the Iron Curtain in part because East Germans voted with their feet. Sadly, Gazans cannot vote with their feet because Egypt does not want more fanatics. Nor do Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc.

To achieve peace, Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada, offers this perspective, posted on on Feb. 18:

“... Our own experiences as Western democracies [after World War II] should provide guidance. Yes, we helped Germany to re-build. But we also insisted it de-construct the ideologies that led to its aggression. And we demanded it fully embrace the ethics of peaceful coexistence. Only then was its sovereignty restored and its membership in the family of free nations affirmed.

“Generations of Palestinians have been inculcated with one-state mantras – ‘from the river to the sea,’ ‘the right of return,’ ‘settler occupation,’ and so on. At their heart they categorically reject the right of a Jewish state to exist on any piece of the land of the former Mandate for Palestine. We must stop pretending that a two-state solution can be pursued in the face of the continued propagation of such a view.”

Some other ideas to achieve peace:

Let’s start discussions in every town in Israel and Palestine to air grievances and, step by step, get to truth and reconciliation. A key truth to realize: Everyone is a colonist, but Celts are not leaving Ireland and moving back to France and Germany, and Arabs are not leaving the Levant and returning to Arabia.

Let’s talk about reparations, both for those Muslims who really were expelled and for the 800,000 Jews forced to flee their homes in Muslim lands.

If Germany can pay billions in reparations to Jewish victims, then Israel can also pay real victims of 1948, with revenue from the Mediterranean gas fields. And oil-rich countries can reimburse the Mizrahi Jews forced from Muslim lands.

Let’s also realize that in these times when too many fanatics have handheld rocket launchers and too many rogue nations can access nuclear weapons, the world needs to find humane, non-military ways to deal with political lunacy and to remove fanatical regimes.

GARY LEIB, of Tiverton, is a retired town planner, frequent traveler to Israel with Honest Reporting, Shurat HaDin and the Jewish Alliance of Greater RI. He was an Army officer in Vietnam and is a history buff.