If Israel reacts incorrectly, the perverse calculations of the Hamas terrorists will come to fruition

It has now been a week since Hamas terrorists caused a bloodbath in Israel with more than 1,300 victims. Since then, Israel’s existence has been at stake – because the attacks, with their unprecedented barbarity, testify to a hateful desire to destroy everything Jewish.

The nightmare in the Middle East continues. For Israel, but now also for the more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated regions in the world. In the north, which the Israeli army has called for to be evacuated, is Gaza City with around a million residents.

The ground offensive by the Israeli armed forces is imminent. The first limited advances were made at the weekend. Hamas rocket positions in the Gaza Strip were attacked and an attempt was made to track down the whereabouts of more than 100 hostages – including eight Germans.

Israel has a duty to defend its citizens against this bestial terror

The justification of the impending military strike is beyond question. Hamas gave Israel no choice. She burned children alive. She shot young visitors to a music festival en masse and murdered entire families. Israel has a duty to defend its citizens against this bestial terror. After decades in which it has neither succeeded in coexisting with Hamas nor in breaking the terrorist organization’s power, Israel must now try with all its might to eliminate the deadly structures.

As necessary as it is for Israel to respond militarily to Hamas’ atrocities, it is also important that international law and the Geneva Conventions are upheld. Israel should definitely and permanently review its military operations for proportionality. The aim must be to destroy the Hamas structures with quick, precise strikes. Otherwise, Hezbollah in the north and Iran as the behind-the-scenes mastermind might feel emboldened to start a war on two or three fronts.

It is important to consistently isolate Hamas politically

However, the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are now on the run again in the core conflict in the Middle East and that thousands more people are likely to die is solely the result of Hamas’s criminal attack. The people who live in the Gaza Strip cannot all be equated with terrorists.

On the contrary, they are often used by Hamas as human shields. For their sake, it is important to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Escape corridors must be opened. Egypt and Turkey should agree to temporarily accept refugees from Gaza.

The task of the USA and the Western community of states must be to prevent a refugee catastrophe and a further escalation of the conflict through negotiations with key states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the West and its allies must consistently isolate Hamas politically. She is not – and this must be emphasized again and again – the legitimate representative of the interests of the Palestinian people. It is a machine of destruction armed with weapons and lubricated by billions of dollars by Iran.

The West must now send a signal of deterrence

There is a great danger that the slaughter of Israeli men, women and children will also draw Iran, Syria and Lebanon into the war. If this were to happen, the real intention of the Hamas terrorists would be achieved. And with it perhaps the attempt of an old, new “axis of evil” between Putin and the Iranian mullahs to destabilize the entire world.

To ensure that this does not happen, the USA and the West must continue to stand by Israel and send a massive signal of deterrence. At the same time, everything must be done to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East through clever and maximum diplomatic efforts.

Hank Peter

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