The immediate reaction of many world leaders to the barbaric attack by Hamas on Israel was to express unequivocal support for that country. Within a week, however, some of those same leaders began calling for “restraint”, warning that unless the conflict’s “root causes” are addressed the “cycle of violence” will continue.In a sense, these voices are correct: there is a root cause that must be confronted, but it isn’t what they think. The real root cause of the “cycle of violence” is the peace process itself.There are those who say that war “never solves anything.” Nonsense. While many wars do end indecisively, history is replete with instances where disputes were settled, for better or worse, through armed conflict. The U.S. Revolutionary War and Civil War are two clear examples. The Second World War is the most recent and powerful one.In his speech to Great Britain’s Parliament after becoming Prime Minister in 1940, Winston Churchill outlined his policy toward Nazi Germany: “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.” Without victory, Churchill subsequently warned, “The whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age.” Elaborating on what victory meant, Churchill told representatives of Allied governments the following year: “Every trace of Hitler’s footsteps, every stain of his infected and corroding fingers will be sponged and purged and, if need, be blasted from the surface of the earth.”In order to establish a durable peace, some conflicts must be fought to their bitter end. Churchill understood this. He saw the issue between Germany and the democracies was not political or territorial, but rather the character and ideology of the Nazi regime driving its behaviour and shaping its agenda. He knew peace with the Nazis was impossible no matter what concessions they accepted or treaties they signed. Peace could only come with their annihilation.The war between Israel and Hamas is fundamentally the same. Hamas makes no secret of its character and ideology. Its goal is to destroy the Jewish State, replacing it with a Palestinian state governed by Islamic law.“There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad,” reads Hamas’s founding charter. “Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” The document includes the warning: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight Jews and kill them.”Hamas’s actions, culminating in the events of October 7, are ample evidence of its commitment to this program. Since 1994 it has been the main organizer of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 (Hamas has governed Gaza since 2006; the territory isn’t occupied by Israel, no matter how often protesters in the West claim that it is) Israelis have endured regular rocket attacks from Hamas and innumerable terrorist incursions. They have fought no fewer than five major engagements with the Hamas regime, each time refraining — largely in response to international pressure — from taking measures to destroy their enemy. Each time, Hamas was left to rebuild its capacity to indulge its lust for Jewish blood.These facts place the peace process in a different context. To repeat: the goal of Hamas is not Palestinian independence, but the eradication of Israel as a Jewish state. There is no viable compromise, no middle ground on which a durable peace can be built. Yet the international community continues to indulge the fantasy that there is, pressuring both sides — especially Israel — to accept a status quo within which the core casus belli is left to fester until the next major eruption.The bottom line is the conflict can never be resolved through negotiation. Only the decisive defeat of Hamas can break the cycle of violence. But even decisive military success by Israel will not be enough to establish a durable peace. Just as Allied powers undertook to de-Nazify Germany after its defeat, so too must the civilized world take steps to expunge the hateful and corrupt ideology of Hamas. This would require temporarily occupying Gaza and establishing a commission of control to supervise its reconstruction and the rehabilitation of its residents. As with post-Hitler Germany, this must include control of education, media and other cultural and political institutions (unlike the timid policy implemented in Iraq post-Saddam.) A political arrangement must be imposed on the people of Gaza in order to achieve their freedom and prosperity.Any discussion of the current conflict must acknowledge the ordeal Gaza civilians are suffering. Civilized people are right to mourn the destruction and loss of innocent life. But it would be wrong to allow these feelings to veto the duty to rid the world of the scourge represented by Hamas. Failure to undertake this grim task will only condemn these same residents to life under a tyrannical regime while guaranteeing the cycle of violence continues.Winston Churchill understood this. It’s time today’s world leaders learned it too. The original, full-length version of this article was recently published in C2C Journal. Lynne Cohen is a journalist and non-practising lawyer from Ottawa. She has published four books, including the biography Let Right Be Done: The Life and Times of Bill Simpson.