From Day One, the Palestinian leadership have proven themselves to be dishonest, hateful, dangerously violent, ambitiously aggressive, feverishly obsessive in what they don’t have rather than make a success of what they do. When they are not killing Jews, they are killing each other.
The fifty-year record of Palestinianism is awful and reached a bloody crescendo on 7 October 2023.
This was the day that the world should have come to its sense and said, “No more!”
The two-state experiment died that day as we saw the ultimate aim of the much vaunted Palestinian movement. To murder Jews.
This is where it leads. This is where it must die.
It must die is the ruins of Gaza, but in these ruins comes new hope. An experiment, a possibility of a new and better future not only for Gaza but for the Middle East. The creation of an independent state of Gaza and a three-state solution to the Palestinian problem.
Put aside, for heaven’s sake, the idea of bringing in the corrupt, failed, leadership of the Fatah-PLO in Ramallah. They don’t even have the support of their own people according to recent polls and actual elections.
And let’s be brutally honest and acknowledge that the half century experiment of a two-state non solution is dead in the water.
It should not be revived because this will condemn this area of a violent Middle East to another half century of conflict. Best to offer a better non-violent prosperous newer future to the people of Gaza and use that as an example to those suffering under the failed Ramallah regime.
Clearly, Gaza needs to be built from scratch. The rubble of its violent past has to be swept away with its ideology. It must not be mismanaged by those whose principles led to its ruin. It must be led by people rejecting its violent past, totally dedicated to making Gaza a better place to live rather than looking obsessively at other territories they do not possess.
Without being overly ambitious, the location and size of Gaza makes it a place that can become the Cote D’Azur of the Middle East. The sort of place that Beirut and Lebanon once were before the intrusion of dangerous and deadly forces such as radical Islam, Syria and, yes, Palestinianism under Yasser Arafat, a man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for making a promise he never intended to keep and who continued a deadly ambition that is alive and killing today. His stain on history not only ruined Lebanon, it gave root to the dangerous and hateful radicalism preached and indoctrinated in Western academia and fed into the bloodstream of too many Westerns societies. This Palestinianism is seen on the streets of major Western countries leaving docile governments that chanted the long dead two-state mantra without realizing that it had died way before 7 October 2023.
The Gaza project must be based on rejecting the intrusion of radical Islam and Palestinianism into the founding values of a new Gaza. These two ills would ultimately lead to a failed project.
Instead, the new experiment should be incorporated into the spirit and fabric of the Abraham Accords.
Let me make it clear. Not only should the PA have no role in governing a future Gaza. Neither should Israel.
Israel, though, must have a commanding presence in the creation of a new Gaza. Following the October events, it has a vested interest in ensuring that the curse of Palestinianism will not strike again out of Gaza.
The reconstruction of a new Gaza should be established by a regional board led by Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, and the United States, and incorporating both the UAE and Bahrain into its management.
The plans and the financing of a new Gaza will contribute to a new Middle East with Gaza as its showcase of positive cooperation.
The labor involved would give gainful employment for the local Gazan workforce.
Its potential should be based on Gaza being a demilitarized agricultural, light industry, and tourism economy with the potential of becoming a hi-tech data center to the Arab world.
The peace and independence of Gaza will be protected by its two neighbors, Israel and Egypt who both have shared vested interests in maintaining a peaceful Gaza. Both have transit points for goods, services, and people to flow in and out of Gaza for work or business.
Israel once proposed a Gaza with an offshore airport, a marina and port, and certainly Gaza City should become a hotel and services-based economy.
Gazans will be relieved of the security burden of border crossings, ports and airport by Egyptian and Israeli police.
These projects alone will assure gainful employment and prosperity for the people of Gaza.
The potential is there. It needs a combined will and successful management to make it happen.
And I have the right man to be the managing director until the people are ready to elect the initial Gazan government.
Mohammad Dahlan – whose origins began in Gaza.
Dahlan received a BA in Business Administration from the Islamic University of Gaza.
A young Dahlan was arrested eleven times by Israel for his involvement as the Gaza leader of the Fatah youth movement.
After the signing of the Oslo Accords, Dahlan was made head of the Preventive Security Forces in Gaza. He built up a force of 20,000 men and became one of the most powerful Palestinian leaders, dealing regularly with the CIA and Israeli intelligence officials.
Dahlan angered Arafat in November 2001 by expressing dissatisfaction over his lack of a coherent policy. He was criticized by human rights groups for his methods during crackdowns on Islamic militants. This is precisely what Israel has been forced to do today.
Divorcing himself from the anti-Israel terrorism of Arafat, he attempted to gather support for an electoral challenge to Arafat, but stopped out of loyalty to Palestinians after the Bush administration demanded a change in PA leadership in July of the same year.
Prior to his resignation from the PA in June 2002, Dahlan was a member of negotiating teams for security issues in peace talks, even attending the Camp David Summit in 2000.
In 2006, Dahlan was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Palestinian legislative election as a representative for Khan Yunis in Gaza.
Dahlan took an increasingly tough stance against Hamas, calling their 2006 election victory a disaster and threatening to “haunt them from now till the end of their term.”
On December 14, 2006, gunmen attempted to assassinate Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and Hamas accused Dahlan of orchestrating the attack.
On January 7, 2007, Dahlan held the biggest-ever rally of Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip, where he denounced Hamas as “a bunch of murderers and thieves.”
In response, Hamas accused Dahlan of bringing Palestinians to the brink of civil war.
In March 2007, despite objections from Hamas, Dahlan was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas to lead the newly re-established Palestinian National Security Council, overseeing all security forces in the Palestinian territories.
In April 2008, Vanity Fair revealed that, after the 2006 elections, Dahlan had been central in a U.S. plot to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power.
According to the report, America provided money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men, and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, the elected Hamas government forestalled the move and carried out their armed countercoup in a bloody civil war against the Fatah-PLO Palestinian Authority in Gaza which they have controlled ever since.
In 2007, after resigning from his post as national security adviser, the Bush Administration exerted heavy pressure on Abbas to appoint Dahlan as his deputy.
In June 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, who saw Dahlan as a serious political rival, expelled him from the Fatah party based on claims that he had murdered Arafat. Dahlan moved to the United Arab Emirates, where he made his fortune.
Dahlan is a close confidant of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed, the Emirates’ de facto ruler. Officials in Ramallah have blamed the UAE’s decision to normalize ties with Israel last year on Dahlan’s influence.
Dahlan doesn’t like Israel much but neither have any of the past and present Palestinian leaders. He is anmbitious technocrat with an ego that can be restrained by the moderate but powerful Arab states deeply invested in the Gaza project.
He remains a popular figure in Gaza. More so than Mahmoud Abbas.
All this points to Mohammad Dahlan being the perfect candidate to be the Senior Executive to head the new Gaza Abraham Accords project and potentially the head of a future Gaza government.
A successful new Gaza can be an example to Palestinians living under their failed Ramallah leadership.
In that future, Gazans can and will decide on their own whether they want to remain independent, or join a confederation with either the PA, Israel, or both.
A three-state solution is a far better vision than a half century two-state failure.
A new Gaza heralds a new Middle East.
International Public Diplomacy Director,
Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.