Israel's Only Option: Destroy Hamas Entirely

Krauthammer: Olmert has a second chance to defeat extremism
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 9:48 AM CST
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, talks as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni listens during a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – There are only two possible outcomes of the war in Gaza, writes Charles Krauthammer: the complete destruction of Hamas or an internationally supervised truce à la Lebanon. Under immense diplomatic pressure, Israel is hinting it will accept the French-Egyptian ceasefire plan. That would be "a terrible mistake," writes the Washington Post columnist, who says that Israel is on the brink of destroying "the one-step-from-madness gangster theocracy in Gaza."

Israel can't kill every single Hamas gunman, but it can degrade Hamas' authority until the majority of Palestinians no longer accept its legitimacy. But if Israel stops now and accepts the "charade" of a Lebanon-style truce, it will be only a few years before a fortified Hamas starts targeting Tel Aviv, the airport, and even the country's nuclear facility. "Which is why," says Krauthammer, that "the only acceptable outcome of this war, both for Israel and for the civilized world, is the disintegration of Hamas rule."