Let us for just one small moment think outside of the box. I know that there will be commentary afterwards, but I am also sure that I am not the only person who has had this idea. I looked at the map and then I looked again and it just came to me. I looked at the map of Israel and of the Gaza strip and of Egypt next door.
Now, I served in this whole area as a reservist during the various stages of the military pullback when we gave the Sinai back to Egypt after the Yom Kippur War. If you recall, President Anwar Sadat came to Jerusalem, and we gave land for peace with the Egyptians. There is to the best of my knowledge very little geographic difference from the Gaza strip side of Rafiah and the Egyptian side of Rafiah. This is another area I know intimately well. Again, I did a great deal of reserve duty here. The line that divides here is an artificial one.
Let’s now pretend that we have some cooperation, because without cooperation and maybe without pretending, we will get nowhere. Egypt will cooperate and the people of Gaza will cooperate, because they will no longer be under the rule of Hamas. Not being under Hamas rule is essential to this idea. In fact, Hamas cannot exist at all in order for this to work.
The Palestinians will appeal to those wealthy folks in Qatar, who are anxious to donate their money to worthwhile causes in Palestine. Funds will also come in from a variety of Arab countries like Saudi, and the Emirates, Dubai and Bahrain.
We will now propose a land for peace deal but with Egypt. Egypt will provide the land, the Palestinians will provide the peace. Qatar and the others will provide the money. The people of Palestine in the Gaza strip will get a parcel of land just like the present area of the strip, but in Egypt. Effectively, the area of the Gaza strip will double in size. It will be and must be a demilitarized area. This new area and the present old area will be developed by funds provided by those wealthy folks I mentioned.
The Palestinians themselves, capable as they are of working construction, will build all of the infrastructure needed for a modern state to exist. There will be roads, sewage recycling and desalination plants, generating stations that will provide electricity and the port of Gaza itself will be developed to handle major shipping. If King Herod created a port in Caesaria, I am confident that an international modern port like Ashdod can be built in Gaza city.
Just like Dubai built cities on sand, and just like Bahrain did along with Kuwait and the Emirates, so the Palestinians of the Gaza strip will, with their land now doubled, build towns, industrial zones, manufacturing and packing facilities, repair facilities for machinery and for trucks, cars, tractors and other vehicles. They will build schools, hospitals and perhaps even a university or two. The Palestinians will build beautiful shopping centers like the ones in Saudi and Dubai.
Within a period of five years, and with the cooperation of an Israel no longer threatened by Hamas, and seeing a partner in peace similar to the model of the West Bank, there will be a dramatic rise in the well being of the population of the Gaza strip. Literacy and life expectancy will rise dramatically. In general, Palestinian people will realize that as life improves, and a hope for a secure future is a reality, the relationship with the Jewish neighbor will take on a relationship similar to that relationship that exists now between Canada and the USA.
Palestinian children will no longer be educated to hate Jews, and will not grow up to become victims of an ideology that encourages them to die by murdering as many Jews as possible.
This might be nothing but a dream. This might be nothing than wishful thinking in the midst of all of this sadness, a sadness that came suddenly pouring out of my eight year old grandson who lives in Israel and kept me on the phone for half an hour telling me of all of the terrible things that he knew about, beginning with the murder of the three young Israelis and ending with today’s latest news.
How much would I want to wake up and realize that my grandchildren will not have to put their lives on the line in order to keep the people of Israel safe. Do we dare think outside of the box?