ANALYSIS / World Cannot, Must Not Condemn Our War on Hamas

Israel's relative success in achieving its goals should be used to forge a swift diplomatic agreement.

The war on Hamas is a war for Israel's sovereignty. It was launched due to repeated rocket attacks after Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip. No country in the world would put up with a situation in which its sovereignty is undermined and its citizens threatened. Given its small size and many enemies, Israel cannot put up with this. It is therefore up to every decent person who wants Israel to strive for peace, end its occupation and return to its original borders to support its fight for sovereignty.

The war on Hamas has bred a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been killed, thousands have been wounded, and more than a million have been left homeless and in despair. There is no denying that Israel should have done much more to prevent the enormity of this crisis from happening. But the international community - which openly supports a war against the Taliban that has taken the lives of hundreds of innocent people - cannot, and must not, condemn this war.

Over the past two weeks, Israel has behaved obtusely and insensitively. But waging war is not a crime. It is yet another chapter in this tragic saga that must come to an end.

Since launching its attack on Gaza on December 27, Israel has achieved most of its goals. Hamas received a harsh blow, Israel regained its deterrent capabilities, and there is a chance the rocket fire on southern Israel will end. A correct diplomatic move may now stop the arms smuggling from Egypt and undermine the Palestinian extremists. If this happens, Israel could achieve its desired overall goal: peaceful coexistence with a weakened and deterred Hamas.

In many respects, the war in Gaza has compensated for the shortcomings of the Second Lebanon War. This time around, the decision to launch the offensive was calculated and reasoned, and the army has shown impressive capabilities. It is therefore only fair to say that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is to blame for the botched war in Lebanon, is now the person behind Israel's achievements.

But to maintain these achievements, Israel must not expand its operation in Gaza. On the contrary. The relative success should be used to forge a swift diplomatic agreement - one that would stop the firing, halt the killings and bring the soldiers back home. Olmert should abide by his own mantra: Enough is enough.