The news this morning is abuzz with talk of a cease fire which was supposed to have taken place 3 hours ago (and counting). Israel accepted the 12 hour cease fire; Hamas, true to their word, didn't - and have continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns.
Now that Israel has given Hamas an opportunity to finish the current round of fighting, assuming that they don't stop firing, Israel should make it very clear what it plans to do after the 12 hours are up, and that is to undo the damage caused to Israel's security situation by the Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
I'm not sure whether long term Israel should have stayed in Gaza or not (Gush Katif had some of the most beautiful towns and beaches that I've seen anywhere in this country), but I am sure that the time and manner in which we withdrew from Gaza in 2005 sent a loud and clear message to the Palestinians that violence and terrorism works, and if they increase terrorism and rockets, not to mention kidnappings, there will only be further concessions from Israel.
To undo the damage from the Gaza Withdrawal, Israel must announce that at the end of the 12 hour cease fire, Israel will reconquer the Gaza Strip and reinstate a full occupation of the territory.
Israel should state that it has no intention to permanently occupy the Gaza Strip, and will not rebuild civilian institutions, however the army will retain full control of the territory until we have complete quiet for a period of 2 years.
Hamas can choose when Israel ends the occupation; it will be 2 years after the last rocket is fired into Israel. At the end of the 2 years of quiet, Israel will start a gradual withdrawal, the timing of which will depend on whether there is an agreement with the Palestinian leadership (which would mean a quick, smooth withdrawal), or the withdrawal is unilateral, which would mean that it would be in stages, and after each stage to wait a period to confirm that quiet is maintained before continuing to the next phase.
This would give Hamas complete control over when and how Israel withdraws from Gaza, and an incentive to stop rocket fire.
While the IDF are in Gaza, they should make sure every effort to prevent attacks against both our civilians and soldiers. This would include a full presence along the Philadelphi corridor to stop arms smuggling from Egypt, complete control over land and sea ports to inspect all imports, and dividing the Gaza strip into three separate areas. Each area should be governed by separate rules based on how quiet it is - for example, if there are a lot of attacks coming out of the North of Gaza Strip, there may need to be curfews or limit of travel within that area. If the Southern Gaza strip is quieter, we should encourage and assist them in rebuilding infrastructure in that area.
During the hopefully short term re-occupation of the Gaza Strip, Israel should see what it can do to improve the quality of life and economy of Gaza. For example, Israel could build a military hospital, which could also serve civilian needs for the local population, maybe even including a medical school to train new Gazan doctors, so Palestinians do not need to travel to Israel for medical care.
If the Southern Gaza Strip is quiet, maybe bring in some of the experts who designed the greenhouses in Gush Katif to reestablish them under Gazan ownership so that the Gazans can grow flowers and vegetables which could be exported to Israel instead of rockets.
Would the idea work - no idea, but unless Israel articulates a detailed plan how to stop Hamas from attacking our civilians, even after the current round of fighting is finished, we will still have regular attacks against towns in the south and a repeat of this war in another 12-24 months, like a bad movie being played over and over again.
Lets find a way to stop this movie and bring quiet to the citizens of Sderot as well has Khan Yunis