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Israel Hamas WarAnalysisIsrael

A radical suggestion for destroying Hamas

Israel’s best option may be providing massive aid to Gazans and supporting them to revolt against their terrorist overlords.
TJI Pick
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Man in uniform in front of truck laden with sacks.

An Israeli soldier directs a truck carrying humanitarian as it heads into the Gaza Strip via the Erez Crossing (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Published: 6 June 2024

Last updated: 6 June 2024

Terrorism expert Audrey Kurt Cronin has analysed the way terrorist groups end and concluded the most likely way Hamas will die is if Israel supports the growth of an alternative Palestinian leadership.

Cronin, who Director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology and the author of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, has published an article in Foreign Affairs considering possible trajectories for ending Hamas’s control of Gaza.

She argues the current strategy has not succeeded in undermining Hamas.

She points to a March 2024 opinion poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research which shows support for Hamas among Gazans topping 50 percent, a 14-point rise since December 2023.

Cronin says Israel’s analogy of destroying Hamas as the US destroyed Islamic State does not hold, both because Islamic State is still carrying out successful attacks and because the underlying territorial conflict creates a stronger base for Hamas.

“Military force can degrade Hamas’s hold on Gaza, but without a political solution to the underlying territorial dispute, the group would soon reemerge in some form and resume targeting Israeli military forces and civilians.”

She argues Israel needs to help Gazans defeat Hamas.

“The far more likely way that Hamas could fail is through popular backlash. Hamas rules Gaza through oppression, using arrests and torture to suppress dissent. Gazans widely loathe its internal General Security Service, which surveils and keeps files on people, stamps out protests, intimidates journalists, and tracks people accused of “immoral acts.” “Since October 7, many Palestinians have expressed anger at Hamas for having misjudged the consequences of the attack—a serious targeting error that has indirectly led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Gazans. And suffering Palestinians are well aware that Hamas built an elaborate tunnel system to protect its leaders and fighters but did nothing to protect civilians.

“To help Hamas fail, Israel should be doing everything in its power to give Palestinians in Gaza a sense that there is an alternative to Hamas and that a more hopeful future is possible. Instead of restricting humanitarian aid to a trickle, Israel should be providing it in massive quantities. Instead of merely destroying infrastructure and homes, Israel should also be sharing plans for rebuilding the territory in a post-Hamas future. Instead of carrying out collective punishment and hoping that Palestinians will eventually blame Hamas, Israel should be conveying that it sees a distinction between Hamas fighters and the vast majority of Gazans, who have nothing to do with the group and are themselves victims of its thuggish rule and reckless violence.

“After decades of struggling with Hamas and months of fighting a massive, brutal war against it, Israel still seems unlikely to defeat the group. But it can still win—by helping Hamas defeat itself.”


How Hamas Ends (Audrey Kurt Cronin, Foreign Affairs)


‘Solidarity over hatred’: the small band of Israelis stopping settlers obstructing aid trucks (Guardian)
Peace activists confronting settlers acknowledge they are ‘a minority within a minority’.


  • Avatar of Ruth

    Ruth11 June at 11:50 pm

    That’s all well and good, if the objective was to defeat Hamas. All actions by this government show they’re not interested in co-habitation or liberating Gazans. They’re focused on occupation and destruction of Gaza.
    This article demonstrates the stark divide between action and intention.

  • Avatar of Jill

    Jill8 June at 03:04 am

    There is no “underlying territorial conflict”.
    The conflict stems from Islamic jihad.

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