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Dangerous Disarmament

Why Israel Should Stop Pushing Hamas to Give Up Its Weapons

An Israeli soldier lifts a shell near a mobile artillery unit outside the Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Nir Elias / Courtesy Reuters

On August 2, after 26 days of fighting, Israeli troops began to withdraw from Gaza. The move was soon followed by a full redeployment out of the Strip as part of Israel’s acceptance of a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by Egypt, which could be a prelude to full ceasefire negotiations. In the past, any talk of scaling back has been met with public calls in Israel for continued military operations to defeat and disarm Hamas. But, these days, it seems that Israel is focusing on a more realistic exit strategy. Indeed, although eventual disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the combatants in the Gaza Strip would no doubt be a good thing, demanding disarmament and demilitarization without a long-term political solution to the fighting is both unrealistic and unhelpful.

Over the past few weeks, as Hamas and Israel sparred once more, there has been a growing awareness within Israel that the quiet-for-quiet

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