Giuliani, Thompson: Israel Should 'Clean Out the Viper's Nest'

Wednesday, 21 Nov 2012 08:40 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Republicans Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani say they're hoping for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but offered little encouragement that anything could be achieved to bring a lasting end to the violence without more pressure on Iran.
In interviews with Fox News's Greta Van Susteren both called on the Obama administration to focus on the broader issue of Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic extremists in the region, and suggested it might be in Israel's long term interest to invade Gaza in an attempt to wipe out what Thompson called Hamas "viper's nest."
"It very well may be that it would be best for them not to reach a cease-fire," said Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee. "I hope we don't feel like that we should go in there and manufacture some kind of a cease-fire because none of the underlying problems are going to change."
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Thompson said a cease-fire won't change Hamas's view of Gaza as "an occupied territory by the Israelis" or prevent the Palestinian militant group from continuing to hide rockets underground or build tunnels into Israel from which to strike in the future.
"I'm afraid the Israelis are going to have to go in there with ground forces, that they're loathe to reach some kind of a temporary cease-fire knowing all of that framework is still there," he said. "They're going to have to go in there and clean out that viper's nest."
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, said, "I hope there is a truce." But he added that it's "terribly unrealistic" to think a cease-fire could hold over the long term.
"There's only one side that needs to be deescalated. That's the Palestinians," Giuliani said. "They have to stop lobbing bombs into Israel. If they continue to do it, I have no doubt that Israel will invade them and have to take matters into their own hands and try to do the best they can to destroy Hamas."
Giuliani and Thompson suggested it might be in Israel's best interest now to do what they can to destroy Hamas as the Jewish state looks ahead to a possible confrontation with Iran over its nuclear development program.
Both Thompson and Giuliani noted the Iran's role in providing missiles to Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region for the specific purpose of striking at Israel. Making matters worse, they charged, is the encouragement to Hamas being provided by Egypt and Turkey.
"A ground war," Giuliani said, "is obviously going to test where's Egypt, where's Turkey. We know where Iran is. Iran is arming the Hamas. The missiles, or at least a lot of them, seem to come out of Iran.
"So in essence, this seems to me to be something that is being provoked by Iran," he continued, "and it certainly has been encouraged by Egypt and Turkey by immediately taking the side of Hamas, which is extraordinary."
"Iran . . . is looking forward to this proxy war to kind of test Israel, see what Israel is able to accomplish," Giuliani added. "I think part of what Israel has to accomplish here also is to try and disarm Hamas so that Hamas can't become a weapon against them if they have to ever attack Iran."
Thompson agreed that there would be no lasting solution to the current crisis without "bringing Iran into compliance with reason."
"And there's nothing on the horizon to think that's going to be the case," he added, noting the deterioration of American influence in the region, especially in Egypt, and now in Turkey, where the government recently referred to the  Israelis as terrorists.
"We have, in effect, lost Egypt, I think," Thompson said, adding that Turkey, which "used to be our strongest ally in the region," has "gone rogue on us now."
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"We don't know what's going to happen in Syria. Hezbollah [in Lebanon] is sitting up there to Israel's north, waiting their turn," Thompson continued. "They're occupied now in Syria. But of course, Iran is behind them, too. So you got Hamas from the west, you got Hezbollah from the north, and the entire squeeze play is on."
In the meantime, Thompson said, Iran is apparently continuing its efforts aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.
If that happens, he said, "the situation you see today is going to be child's play compared to what it'll be like then."

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