Israel’s current strategy of destroying Hamas’ military and political capabilities in order to prevent future attacks is unlikely to succeed, according to Robert A. Pape, a professor of political science. He argues that in order to defeat terrorist groups like Hamas, it is necessary to separate them from the local population. Israel’s past military operations have killed existing terrorists, but have ultimately led to the rise of more terrorists in the future. For example, Israel’s invasion of Southern Lebanon in 1982 led to the formation of Hezbollah and increased local support for the group. Similarly, heavy military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank in the 1990s resulted in increased support for Hamas and suicide attacks against Israelis. The author suggests that a long campaign of selective pressure combined with political solutions is necessary to defeat terrorist groups. Israel needs to develop a political plan for the period after eliminating Hamas and create a viable alternative for Palestinians to prevent Hamas 2.0 from filling the power vacuum. The Palestinians should be given the opportunity to decide who leads Gaza, and a political process towards a Palestinian state should be started to separate Hamas from the local population and achieve success.
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