We can’t change the hearts of these people of the south but we can make war so terrible … [and] make them so sick of war that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.
General William T Sherman
Over the last several days all kinds of pressure has been put on Israel to agree to a cease fire with Hamas. In the Washington Post Michael Oren has made the case against.
Allowed to fight for several weeks, at most, Israel was eventually condemned and hamstrung by cease-fires. The terrorists, by contrast, could emerge from their hideouts and begin to replenish and enhance their stockpiles. That is precisely the pattern established in the second Lebanon War and repeated in Operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense in Gaza. Hezbollah and Hamas sustained losses but, rescued and immunized by international diplomacy, they remained in power and became more powerful still. Israel, on the other hand, was forced to defend its right to defend itself. Jihadist organizations no different from the Islamic State and al-Qaeda gained regional legitimacy, while Israel lost it in the world.
Oren argues that a cease fire only helps Hamas allowing them to hold on to what they have and then re-arm to fight again. To let them do this would be the equivalent of the allied powers in World War 2 allowing a cease fire in 1945 due to civilian casualties in WW 2 or the North giving the South a cease fire in the civil war. in December of 1864. Given the time to re-arm, re-intrench and rally not only would their military regenerate (Imagine a Germany with 6 months to develop their Jets & Rockets or a Confederacy with the Union blockade lifted for half a year) but their culture would not change.
That is what is at stake here, to give Hamas a cease fire is to have an operation and leave part of the cancerous tissue in place or to take an antibiotic for half the time then stop.
Eventually the disease will come back and kill you, and judging by the violence of the protests by arabs in Europe and the US that infection is just dying to spread.
Israel understands this but the west that has forgotten its history does not.