Andrew Roberts: Hamas Can Be Utterly Defeated

Roundup: Historians' Take

Andrew Roberts is a historian. His latest book is The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War.

In a military operation that lasted just eight days, the Israeli Army killed Hamas’ military chief Ahmed Jabari; air strikes destroyed large numbers of Iranian-made rockets and missiles, many in underground sites; and the Iron Dome missile defense system brought down no fewer than 421 rockets launched from Gaza, an 84 percent success rate. What ought to happen next is that the makers of Iron Dome—a consortium led by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Weapons Systems Ltd.—should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Israel should take the fight into the Hezbollah-controlled areas of Lebanon where a further 60,000 Iranian-made rockets and missiles are being hidden. And, above all, the civilized world should celebrate Israel’s victory, even if temporary, over this fascist organization.
Yet instead of calling for the ultimate downfall of Hamas—in the way that senior U.S. military figures speak of al-Qaida—we are gripped by an entirely unwarranted sense of defeatism over the terrorist group. Despite the fact that Israel won this latest battle, our commentariat seems to have embraced the assumption that there is simply no way to prevail politically or militarily over Hamas; they express no confidence in an eventual Israeli victory over Hamas’ foul and naked terrorism.
“Hamas and other militant groups will build better rockets,” whined Peter Beinart on The Daily Beast, “able to kill more Jews.” Yes, of course. But Israel will be simultaneously be able to build better Iron Domes, able to knock more rockets out of the sky. In the eternal battle between medieval hatred and Enlightenment technological know-how, the latter has always managed to contain the former...

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