Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza will not eliminate Hamas, achieve Israeli security or bring Israel closer to long-term peace with its Palestinian neighbors. If Israel wishes to live in security and peace, it must include Hamas in future negotiations and accept the tenets of international law.
Since 2008, Israel has imposed a strangling blockade on Gaza — blocking food, medicine, fuel and other vital resources from entering Gaza — and waged three major wars in Gaza. These acts of collective punishment and disproportionate force have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinians (mostly children and women), reduced popular opinion of Israel and, chiefly, failed to dispel Hamas from power. Israel’s military might has not and will not bring about peace with the Palestinians. Instead, Israel must negotiate in good faith with Hamas — the legitimate, democratically elected government of Gaza.
One need not entertain sloganeering to outline the path for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. International law is unequivocal. Israel must withdraw from the occupied West Bank, dismantle all Israeli settlements and return all land annexed by force, and both Israelis and Palestinians must renounce violence against each other and agree to a just resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem. If Israel is willing to accept these maxims — each of which is mandated by international law — Israel can achieve a lasting peace with all Palestinians, including Hamas.