This is an excellent article in the Daily Telegraph. The bombarding that is currently going on by Israel in Gaza will not solve matters. It will make the Hamas stronger. What the West needs to do is to dismantle Hamas, starting from where they are operating. In other words, the West must now use the same techniques and political conviction it used against ISIS and Al Qaeda. This means that the West needs to start by ending the protection that Qatar gives Hamas leaders. The whole strategy and orchestration behind this attack did not start in Gaza but in Qatar. The Hamas leader operates in Qatar. These atrocities against women and children were planned in Qatar, not in Gaza.
The West’s response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 may have generated many controversies, but its greatest achievement was undoubtedly the resolve and unified sense of purpose it displayed in destroying Al-Qaeda’s terrorist infrastructure.
For all the political arguments that subsequently arose over the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-led coalition ultimately succeeded in its objective of destroying the threat posed by Osama bin Laden’s global terrorist network. As a result, his movement no longer has the ability to conduct high-profile attacks on the scale of 9/11.
It was a similar story with the fanatics of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS). Thanks to the West’s robust response to the creation of IS’ so-called caliphate in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which soon became synonymous with public beheadings and other acts of brutality, coalition forces inflicted a devastating defeat against IS to the extent that its caliphate ceased to exist.
The same unified approach must now be adopted by the Western powers against Hamas, the Iranian-backed terrorist organisation responsible for carrying out the most horrific atrocities committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
Just as the 9/11 attacks, the worst terrorist attack in US history, was a defining moment for the American people, so the October 7 Hamas massacres will leave an indelible mark on the Israeli people.
The Israelis are entirely justified in viewing the atrocities committed at the weekend as their own 9/11 moment, and the country’s newly-formed emergency unity government has every right to demand that Hamas is utterly destroyed, just like Al-Qaeda and IS.
To achieve this goal, Israel will need its allies in the West to show the same degree of unity that they summoned in 2001.
Back in 2005, when I covered Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza for The Telegraph, many Palestinians were grateful for being able to run their own affairs. Yet, rather than taking the opportunity to develop Gaza’s infrastructure and economy, within two years Hamas was in control, announcing its arrival by implementing its Islamist agenda, which resulted in the murder of several Palestinian gay men.
Removing Hamas will therefore be no easy task. The Israel Defence Forces might be the Middle East’s most sophisticated military outfit, but tackling such a well-resourced foe as Hamas, which relies heavily on Iran for military support, nevertheless remains a daunting prospect.
Apart from destroying the strongholds in Gaza that Hamas continues to use to maintain its terrorist campaign against Israel – the main hospital in the Israeli city of Ashkelon was among recent targets hit by the group’s missiles – Israel will also be determined to eliminate the movement’s political leadership, which may prove difficult when key Hamas leaders reside in safe havens well beyond the confines of Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader behind last weekend’s atrocities, directed the assault from the safety of his office in the Gulf state of Qatar, where he has been residing since being granted refuge by Qatar’s rulers in 2020. He was even pictured rejoicing as he watched the terror attack unfold on Qatari television.
Another factor Israeli leaders will need to take on board is that Iran, apart from funding Hamas, backs a complex network of Islamist militias throughout the region, such as Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, which could be used to open new fronts against Israel.
Israel’s campaign to destroy Hamas, therefore, will need to be fought on many levels, which is why the Jewish state has every right to expect robust support from its Western allies.
The Biden administration’s decision to deploy a powerful naval battle group, headed by the USS Gerald R Ford, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, is a powerful demonstration of Washington’s commitment to defending Israel’s security. It should help to dissuade malign powers such as Iran from provoking a major escalation in the conflict.
Western leaders must also urgently review their attitude towards countries like Iran and Qatar, whose backing for Hamas has enabled it to develop the terrorist capability necessary to carry out last weekend’s attacks.
In particular, the US and Europe should abandon efforts to improve ties with Tehran, which recently resulted in the Biden administration unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets in return for the release of five US hostages.
Any nation that supports a terrorist organisation like Hamas, which thinks nothing of killing babies and murdering defenceless grandmothers on video, needs to be treated as a rogue state, and not indulged with endless rounds of negotiations that achieve nothing.
The pure evil Hamas has demonstrated in its attack against Israel demands that the West lend its full support to Israel in its quest to ensure that Hamas suffers the same fate as Al-Qaeda and IS.