Shulamit S. Magnus
Jewish historian

A Modest Proposal: Moving Forward After The Latest Gaza War

Here’s an idea.

Biden proposes:

In return for a Gaza demilitarized, the US will coordinate a massive rebuilding and investment program in Gaza with the EU, Russia  (the “Quartet”), the Gulf states, Egypt, Morocco, and whoever else would like to sign on. The UN plays whatever role helps get the job — Hamas out, life and a future, in — done.

This would also, necessarily, have to jump start talks between Israel and the PA.

But first, let’s do hear the response to this proposal. Because rational people could not possibly be considering yet another round of funding of Hamas and rebuilding of Gaza, only to face the inevitable next round of attacks if Gaza remains an armed camp, bubbling with weapons’ production, and use.

Of course, we are not talking about  Hamas agreeing to this. That would be silly. But even so, let’s hear Hamas clearly say no. And see that on the front pages of the world’s media.

But so many others are also so articulate about what can’t! mustn’t!–  be done! So, enough with the cant’s! and mustnt’s!  Here’s a – do.

What would it be like for Gazans to hear the clear possibility of a future for themselves and their children, at the “price” of not living, literally, in an armed camp, amid, on top of, arms depots and command and attack tunnels? What have all those rockets, mortars, missiles, and tunnels, ever done for them, who lack even shelters– not a one in all of Gaza– while Hamas operatives took cover in Gaza’s warren of tunnels– its “metro”? What if Gaza had a real “metro”? Open borders?

What would it be like for Israelis to hear that an approach that would change the prospects in and from Gaza entails talking to the PA and facing what we have done our utmost to avoid and deny: this festering nationality conflict, which cannot be solved militarily? Netanyahu could not refuse this deal, though Hamas, as always, would enable him by refusing. Still, let’s hear him accept it. Let Israel have even a short period of thinking, of imagining something other than the reality to which we have become inured, in good part, by the design of leaders who have found the current impasse convenient.


About the Author
Shulamit S. Magnus Professor Emerita of Jewish Studies and History at Oberlin College. She is the author of four published books and numerous articles on Jewish modernity and the history of Jewish women, and winner of a National Jewish Book award and other prizes. Her new book is the first history of agunot and iggun from medieval times to the present, across the Jewish map. It also presents analysis and critique of current policy on Jewish marital capitivity and proposals to end this abuse. Entitled, "Thinking Outside the Chains About Jewish Marital Captivity," it is forthcoming from NYU Press. She is a founder of women's group prayer at the Kotel and first-named plaintiff on a case before the Supreme Court of Israel asking enforcement of Jewish women's already-recognized right to read Torah at the Kotel. Her opinions have been published in the Forward, Tablet, EJewish Philanthropy, Moment, the Times of Israel, and the Jerusalem Post.
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