Hamas could quickly protect Gaza’s civilians and dramatically improve their lives by taking a simple set of actions: Surrender unconditionally, free the hostages, turn in their weapons and themselves. 


That would put an end to Israel’s military operations in Gaza and humanitarian aid would flood into the Strip. 

Israel is at war with Hamas because Hamas launched an unprovoked attack, slaughtering 1,400 Israelis, injuring more than 4,000, raping an untold number, burning babies and taking more than 240 hostages. 

Israel is committed to disarming and dismantling Hamas — and, one way or another, it will succeed.  

While Israel is doing its best to prevent civilian casualties, because Hamas embeds its weapons and personnel next to and underneath apartment buildings, hospitals, schools and mosques, continued fighting will unfortunately result in civilians losing their homes and their lives.  

Some suggest a ceasefire is the best way to protect civilians. One wonders whether they would have urged an immediate ceasefire on George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt. 

In this case it’s both dangerous and naive.  

An immediate ceasefire ensures Hamas remains in power. A ceasefire now allows Hamas to keep its weapons and its terror tunnels. 

For Israel to stand-down before Hamas has been defeated and disarmed is to enable another terrorist attack on its citizens.  

There was a ceasefire in place until Oct. 7, when Hamas broke it with its murderous rampage. Days ago, a Hamas leader promised to attack over and over, again and again. Between ceasefires, in the decades since Israel removed every settler and every soldier from Gaza, Hamas launched tens of thousands of rockets at Israel — each one a war crime. 

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it, “People who are calling for a cease-fire now do not understand Hamas…that is not possible…they would spend whatever time there was a cease-fire in effect rebuilding their armaments…creating stronger positions…” 

No nation would agree to that after what Hamas did on Oct. 7.   

Asking Israel to stand-down before dismantling Hamas would award Hamas a major victory and significantly diminish Israeli deterrence, encouraging further wars.  

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) summed it up this way, “A ceasefire is a gift to Hamas.” 

What do Iran and Hezbollah conclude — and do — if Israel stops short of eliminating Hamas? 

Iran and its proxies repeatedly reaffirm their commitment to destroying Israel, but Israel’s military strength deters them — they fear the consequences of attacking Israel.  

Eroding that deterrence invites more wars, with even more severe consequences.  

Diplomacy is wonderful, but it works only if all the parties have some interest in a negotiated settlement. That’s not what Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah want. They’ve made clear in their statements and charters, and proven by their actions, that they want to destroy Israel and kill Jews around the world.  

Moreover, Gaza cannot escape its squalid state under the brutal, kleptocratic Hamas dictatorship.  


As National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan put it “Gaza being governed by a brutal and vicious terrorist organization, is not just a challenge for the State of Israel. It’s a challenge for the Palestinian people… Hamas is not looking out for…their…well-being. So, the Palestinian people in Gaza do deserve a leadership that allows them to live lives in peace and dignity and security.” 

Bassem Eid a Palestinian rights advocate who lives on the West Bank sharpened the point, “Hamas uses my brothers and sisters in Gaza as human shields, hiding their weapons in hospitals, schools and mosques, and embedding their terror fighters among women, children, the elderly and families…They don’t want peace; they want Gazans to die in a propaganda victory over Israel.” 

With its spasm of savage violence, Hamas also did grave damage to the cause of Palestinian statehood. Public support for the Palestinians has shrunk around the world, and while Israel’s current far right government was not offering much to the Palestinians, Israelis across the spectrum have less appetite for accommodation after Hamas’s butchery.    

Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan both surrendered unconditionally to end World War II, but only after they lost over a million civilians, had their cities leveled and their infrastructure destroyed. 

If Hamas cared a whit about its people, if it had an iota of concern about their civilians, it would immediately repatriate the hostages, surrender unconditionally and give up its weapons and themselves. 

Those around the world who truly care about the Palestinians should be urging Hamas to choose surrender.    

Mellman is president of The Mellman Group and has helped elect 30 U.S. senators, 12 governors and dozens of House members. Mellman served as pollster to Senate Democratic leaders for over 20 years, as president of the American Association of Political Consultants, a member of the Association’s Hall of Fame, and is president of Democratic Majority for Israel.