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Amb. Marc Ginsberg Headshot

Put Hamas Out of Its Misery

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Putting Hamas out of its self-inflicted misery will not come a moment too soon. Like a cancer that should have been contained and neutralized when it first seized control of Gaza, Hamas' savage, indiscriminate missile attacks on Israeli civilians demands a "kitchen sink" response -- no nation would stand for such unprovoked attacks against its population.

And before anyone sheds any tears for Hamas, let us not forget that its leadership is no different from Syria's Assad or Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps -- quasi-state sponsors of terror willingly placing innocent civilians at risk to ruthlessly hold onto power at any cost. Do Gaza's Palestinians relish another Israeli retaliatory invasion and the humanitarian hardship they will face as a result... all in the name of what exactly? That "resistance" bromide? Talk about a self-inflicted wound!

Sadly, Israel failed during the 2008 Operation Cast Lead to defang Hamas once and for all. In the ensuing years, there has been a fragile, shaky cease-fire on the Gazan-Israeli border, repeatedly shattered either by Hamas'military wing or the other terrorist groups that terrorize under the false flag of resistance. Its pitiful justification to engage in terrorism in the name of "resistance" is akin to bin Laden justifying terrorism on 9/11 because of American "occupation" of Arabia.

The latest, and apparently escalating-by-the-minute outbreak of hostilities have reached a dangerous threshold. Israel is mobilizing tens of thousands of reservists threatening to reinvade Gaza and undertake another controversial ground campaign to decapitate Hamas.

What lies behind this latest round of attacks and counter-attacks? Hard to say why Hamas decided to take on Israel's leadership on the cusp of a national election when anything short of unremitting Israeli retaliation would undermine Netanyahu's "security first" campaign platform.

Perhaps it was because Qatar just forked over $400 million to Hamas to buy a new stockpile of terror weapons from Iran. Nothing like a U.S. ally arming a U.S. blacklisted terrorist organization to raise the question: What exactly is U.S. foreign policy toward Qatar accomplishing?

Perhaps Bashar al Assad's Iranian patrons encouraged their Hamas minions to deflect world attention away from his beleaguered Syrian allies by preoccupying Israel, the U.S. and Egypt (all Assad adversaries) with a sudden crisis on Israel's southern border.

Perhaps Hamas felt compelled to push its Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian allies to the brink of rupturing ties with Israel in order to set the stage for more international support for Palestinian statehood aspirations at the United Nations this month? Indeed, its assassination of Hamas' master terrorist-in-chief Ahmat Jabiri has provoked a wave of Arab condemnation.

Perhaps the growing lawlessness of the Sinai Peninsula has foolishly inspired Hamas and Iran to convert this Egyptian territory into a terror bastion "failed state" encouraging Hamas to brazenly demonstrate how effective its imperialism has become to its supporters in Gaza and on the West Bank.

All of this is to say that Hamas is just one more migraine in a growing list of Middle East maladies sitting on President Obama's desk in his second term, ranging from a recalcitrant Egypt, to a spreading Syrian civil war, to Iran's nuclear weapons program. I can go on and on. It's enough to keep any president up at night.

That is why without any effective peace process to deflect Palestinian attention in a more positive direction, the strategic void only exacerbates the capacity of Israel's sworn enemies to seize the initiative and push Palestinians further into the terror abyss.

Putting aside Hamas for a second, the growing turmoil in the Middle East cannot be placed on a White House back burner merely to accommodate the administration's desired optic that it has "pivoted to Asia." Washington's most important Arab ally, Jordan is convulsing from riots against the King. The Syrian civil war has fast become the Middle East equivalent of the 1936 Spanish Civil War what with Syria infecting everything around its borders.

As tempting as it may be for the fatigued and beleaguered Middle East policy makers in the administration to approach this latest crisis as just another mess to mitigate, the threat Hamas poses to American interests in the region cries out for a new energy, new imagination, and a reinvigorated Middle East policy that may yield something better than the drift that has passed as administration Middle East peace policy to date. The president went to Cairo in 2009 to unveil a strategy. I, for one, refuse to concede that his dormant strategy is beyond rescue.

Without refreshed and reinvigorated American involvement any hope for a two state solution will evaporate. That is the very victory Hamas hopes to achieve through its acts of terror. Why should Washington stand by while Hamas and its patron, Iran plays that hand? Mr. President, don't listen to those who having failed first time around, argue that no one can do any better. U.S. strategic foreign policy interests in the Middle East compel us to get back on that horse.