Netanyahu has waged the best war to defeat Hamas: bankrupting it
By MICHAEL D. EVANS
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has redefined the most effective way to defeat terrorism: He has bankrupted Hamas. In 1981, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president of the United States, I, along with eighty-six other US leaders, was invited to have lunch with him and his cabinet at the White House.
A question was asked during the luncheon: “Mr. President, what do you plan to do to defeat communism?” He looked at us with a big smile and said, “Oh, I think I’ll bankrupt it.” Everyone began to laugh. Little did anyone in the room realize it was no joke! Mr. Reagan fully intended to do just that, and had a strategic plan to accomplish it. He began an arms race, and at the same time, pushed the price of oil downward, making it virtually impossible for the Soviet Union either to compete or survive.
Mr. Netanyahu’s terrorism strategy will go down in the annals of military warfare as brilliant. His Operation Protective Edge was a master economic chess move against Hamas. The Israeli government knew that Hamas’s ability to move money was through the tunnels—essentially creating a terrorist ATM machine. But the tunnels are no more.
The world criticized the prime minister for using overwhelming force, which he did. He overwhelmed the terrorist organization and destroyed the majority of its operations buildings. The damage is in the billions of dollars. Hamas is now on the brink of bankruptcy.
When Muhammad Morsi rode into power in Egypt, Hamas was convinced that an Arab Spring was coming—not only to Ramallah, but to all of Israel, with Hamas terrorists riding white horses. That wave of optimism ended when the Egyptian Army overthrew Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, cousins of Hamas. The army also closed the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.
Mr. Netanyahu was as keenly aware of this as he was the breakdown in the relationship between Iran and Hamas. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard through Hezbollah has been backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Conversely, Hamas has taken a stance against the Syrian government. Khaled Meshaal, the absentee leader of Hamas, has severed ties with Iran over this issue. Hamas is very low on Iran’s priority list, especially in view of Iran’s nuclear objectives and its Shi’a problems in both Syria and Iraq.
Hamas leaders screamed loudly when Egypt closed the tunnels on its border, declaring they were losing as much as $230 million per month. Now, with all those tunnels closed, the ATM machines have dried up, with a loss to Hamas of more like half a billion dollars per month. Hamas may be forced to find another “rich uncle.”
Qatari leadership has changed. Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is now in power. Sheikh Tamim has a crown jewel—the al-Jazeera television network, which now has an American partner, thanks to former vice president Al Gore. Gore sold his fledgling network to al Jazeera for half a billion dollars and netted $100 million for his 20 percent investment. Tamim may be reluctant to jeopardize that connection even for Hamas.
It is also important to realize that Qatar has massive investments in the United States. It needs a favorable Congress, not one that has that country in its crosshairs.
Hamas will wake up with the inability to symbolically file Chapter 11, 12, or 13 war bankruptcy reorganization papers. It will have to simply file a symbolic “out-of-business” Chapter 7. Terrorists, like any other businessmen, will not survive without funds to pay their employees. That money is now gone; as is the money to buy Palestinian votes and make promises of economic prosperity.
The Palestinians will now be forced to move toward Mahmoud Abbas and Ramallah for stability and prosperity. The best and most clever war ever waged to defeat terrorism has been fought by Binyamin Netanyahu: Hamas is bankrupt.
Dr. Michael Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His latest fiction book, Born Again: 1967 is available at www.TimeWorthyBooks.com.