Time for A Firm Stand: U.S. Policy Options in Light of Hamas’ Invasion of Israel

October 8, 2023 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Tags: Middle EastGazaIsraelMilitaryHamas

Time for A Firm Stand: U.S. Policy Options in Light of Hamas’ Invasion of Israel

In the tumultuous wake of an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas forces from Gaza, a defining moment has arisen for United States foreign policy.

 

In the tumultuous wake of an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas forces from Gaza, a defining moment has arisen for United States foreign policy.

As a longstanding ally of Israel, the U.S. is compelled to reevaluate its stance and actions amidst a conflict steeped in complexity and historical precedent. The escalation of violence prompts the consideration of stringent policy measures aimed at curbing the Islamist organization’s aggression and restoring stability in the region.

 

The adoption of a “Dismantle Hamas” resolution represents one such measure. In the face of ongoing crisis, rhetorical support or increased pressure on Hamas proves insufficient. A Congressional resolution calling unequivocally for the eradication of the Hamas threat would signify a paradigm shift, underscoring the United States’ unyielding commitment to Israel’s sovereignty and safety, and the eradication of threats to Israel, and the wider region.

Yet, Israel’s security is intertwined with regional dynamics, notably the role of Qatar in funding Gaza. While ostensibly aimed at humanitarian relief, the financial aid flowing from this Gulf state has inadvertently fueled Hamas’s militancy. A recalibration of U.S.-Qatar relations is urgent. Measures such as the revocation of Qatar's Major Non-NATO Ally Status, threatening Qatar’s access to US financial systems, and even the potential relocation of the Al Udeid Air Base, hang in the balance as potent levers to enforce a cessation of all funding to Gaza.

In tandem with these international diplomatic maneuvers, a domestic reassessment of aid to Gaza is pivotal. The recent conviction of World Vision’s Gaza Director for siphoning off tens of millions of dollars for Hamas shows that even well-intended USAID funds can easily be used for nefarious purposes. A comprehensive review of aid to Gaza is required. No U.S. aid should reach Gaza’s shores so long as it can be siphoned off by a terrorist organization running a functional military dictatorship, thereby perpetuating the tragic situation it ostensibly seeks to mitigate.

Global efforts to corner Hamas’s leadership, ensconced in the safe havens of “frenemy” countries, Turkey and Qatar in particular, can tighten the noose around the organization. Nations providing refuge to these leaders must face a stark choice – sever ties with the organization, including expelling senior leaders who live in luxury as ordinary Gazans suffer, or confront a cessation in U.S. military and intelligence support. This measure exemplifies an act of international solidarity against terrorism. Regional dynamics hold the key to further isolating Hamas.

Egypt, in particular, has a pivotal role to play. The U.S. should consider restoring military aid to Egypt, on the condition that it assists in dismantling Hamas and offers refuge to Gazan citizens fleeing the conflict. Such a policy aligns mutual interests for regional stability and underscores the role of cooperative diplomacy in quelling violence.

Yet, these diplomatic and financial efforts must be complemented by direct actions to stem the flow of arms to Gaza. Inspired by the Biden Administration’s recent interception of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen, which were brilliantly then shipped to Ukraine, the U.S. should intensify efforts to halt the supply of arms destined for Hamas and repeat this success by sending captured arms to Ukraine. Each weapon intercepted represents a concrete step towards de-escalating ongoing conflicts and restoring a semblance of peace.

Lastly, the legislative arsenal of the United States can be fortified by reviving and reinforcing the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act, perhaps to be aptly renamed as the ‘Dismantle Hamas Through Sanctions and Direct Action Act.’ Adapted to the current crisis, this legislative initiative should aim to disempower Hamas, cutting off its financial and political lifelines. As Israel grapples with the onslaught initiated by Hamas, the U.S., fortified by its unwavering commitment to the Jewish state, is not only expected to stand with its ally but also to enact decisive actions.

The proposed policy measures represent a comprehensive approach, reflecting the necessity for a sustained solution to a conflict that has festered far too long. In this defining moment, the U.S. can exemplify international leadership, affirming that its support for an ally is not only resilient but unyielding.

Gregg Roman has been the director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum since 2015. His work with the organization includes management of all aspects of its day-to-day communications and financial strategies. Gregg Roman’s writing has appeared in publications that include Newsweek, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Los Angeles Times, and the Miami Herald. 

Clifford Smith is the director of the Middle East Forum's Washington D.C. office. He is a liaison to decision makers and opinion leaders in Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. from Washington State University, an M.P.P. with a focus on international relations from Pepperdine University, and a law degree from the Catholic University of America. He is a member of the Maryland Bar. An experienced political operative, he is the veteran of numerous campaigns and has held several positions in Congress, most recently communications director for U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer. His writings have been published in the Daily Caller, the American Spectator, PJ Media, and other outlets.

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