After being silent (relatively) for most of Protective Edge, Lieberman spoke up a few days ago, firmly stating that we shouldn’t offer any deal to Hamas that even appears to reward them for their actions before or during this conflict. This is common sense, but of course needs to be said and people need to listen.
We put the pressure on Hamas to change to benefit the people of Gaza but due to our justified pessimism of their ability to change we don’t really have much of a plan for if they ever did. Because of that the people in Gaza look to Hamas as their bringers of freedom, not to Israel and not to themselves. That is something we can change by outlining specific rewards for peace on a timeline that benefit the people and come from Israel. The people who want it will work towards peace to get rewarded rather than work towards helping Hamas that they see as their only way out.
So instead of treating them like prisoners with no chance of parole, we treat them like they are on probation with a future, but they do not get anything without earning it. There will be no immediate rewards following the end of the summit because we don’t want Hamas gaining any notion that they did the right thing by starting the conflict.
Here is my outline that I fully welcome the Israeli government to use in the Cairo summits, just put my name somewhere on it.
1. All inspections of progress in Gaza will be done by an international team of Arab and Western countries picked and trained by Israel.
No security for any of the following privileges will be given to Hamas without them first removing all notions of their desire to destroy Israel from their charter and regular behavior.
2. After one month of silence on the border of all kinds, luxury items will be allowed into Gaza. These items will also be restricted for a period of 1 month following any hostilities from any faction in Gaza towards Israel or Egypt or the international inspectors.
These restricted periods following violence will also include closures of the future seaport and airport as well as adding/resetting the period of peaceful time needed before additional freedoms are given.
3. Building materials will be shipped in on the request of contractors in the strip verified by the international inspectors regarding the quantities needed and the time needed for the completion of the projects. Requests will be filed and redeemed on a quarterly basis. Reviews will be done to make sure the building materials given are allocated properly. If discrepancies are found, these contractors will be audited by the international inspectors and various actions/sanctions/black listing will be taken against them.
4. After eight months of peace, reconstruction of the sea port will begin, with all resources being properly verified and allocated. After completion, ships will begin to be brought in based on the availability of Israeli security to examine ALL cargo in Cyprus or Egypt before arrival. Countries/companies smuggling contraband will be blacklisted from shipping to Gaza
5. The UN will assist in developing and training Gaza citizens in skills and jobs that will help develop their economy. They will also monitor school curriculum and public media to make sure that hate is not being taught with funding from the UN or international organizations.
(Side note: Outsourcing call centers might be a good idea)
6. A plan will be worked out with the PA and Gaza to pay their bills for electricity and utilities provided by Israel that have been left unpaid.
7. After two years of peace with at least one year following the opening of the sea port, increased shipping activity will be allowed.
8. After three years of peace, the international airport will be rebuilt under Israeli security and flights will be allowed in on a limited basis, similar to the shipping plan.
There would also be a lot of things worked in regarding the buffer-zone near the border and the fishing area off the coast, but I don’t know enough about those details to talk about them, my plan is more general. Additionally, security for the border, port and airport would require a lot of assistance with Egypt.
The main idea is to show them rewards for peace in a way to isolate Hamas and to push the people towards seeing rewards for peace rather than looking towards Hamas to bring them rewards from violence. I am sure there will be a lot of bumps along the way particularly from Hamas not liking the fact that violence will not be given any rewards, but is a good approach for the UN and the international community to see that there is a plan to reward peaceful activity. I am not optimistic it will work, but it is a good way to build standing for us with the world while still imposing the security Israel needs. If they still resort to violence, we will have outlined exactly what will happen in advance.
What the UN and Hamas need to remember is that Hamas is both the initiators and the losers of this conflict (and decades more too); they do not get to dictate terms to Israel and they do not get to make demands either. They do not have an equal seat at the bargaining table. If they choose to leave because they think violence is the way to go to get what they want immediately, we still have tanks on the border and F-16s fueled for take off. Peace is the way we would like to go, but we are certainly prepared for other eventualities.