Coalescing two grand bargains; a pathway to Israel’s survival

Enough is enough already. Though the trauma of October 7th is still a gaping wound, we must unite, make tough decisions, swallow our pride and take calculated risks that give hope for a brighter, peaceful future.

There is validity in the argument that there is no total victory over Hamas by purely military means. There is validity to the argument that soon enough there will be no hostages left alive. There is validity to the argument that we can’t do it all alone, especially a war with Hezbollah, no matter how powerfully we scratch and scrape our way forward. There is validity that after 8 months of fighting, conscripts, regulars and reserve units are tiring, and there is a human limit to performance at their top levels.

Meanwhile, we are consumed with the debate on whether to “surrender to Hamas” in order to get back our people from the dark tunnels of Gaza, or to retrieve them by force and pressure. There is no palatable deal to be made with terrorists of Hamas; nor one with Hezbollah, Houtis, Iraqi militias nor the head of the octopus itself, but that does not mean there are no deals to be had.

Our closest allies and important sectors within our country demand a plan for “the day after”. Our coalition government demands flexibility in “day after” planning and to be decided once the “day after” becomes “the day of”.

President Biden has his vision of “the day after” and is throwing his remaining political capital into his “Grand Bargain” with Saudi Arabia, which in his view would flip the Middle East into a American-Israel-Sunni Axis to counter the formidable Iranian Axis. It would solidify a true us vs them almost cold war alliance. It would grant Saudi, Emirates, Egypt and Jordan the real impetus to pressure Hamas to release the hostages in a way that Israel can neither do by force nor by negotiation. It is presented as a win-win for Sunni Arabs, Palestinians and Israelis alike. In addition, just entering into these negotiations would immediately revitalize our collapsing alliances with both the Americans and Europeans, as well as several third world and unaligned countries.

Any thinking, rational person easily can rhyme off a series of inherent risks to such a “Grand Bargain”, but to not seriously enter into negotiations to determine how to best mitigate such risks and how to best safeguard the country against those remaining risks seems to be unconscionable. By not seriously exploring this “Grand Bargain”, we ourselves become the very people who “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

Besides the inherent risks, there is the loud cry, why gift the Palestinians a road map to their prized state as a reward for October 7th? If against all odds, such a “Grand Bargain” is somehow successful, the gift would be one of the greatest self-gifts this country could ever give itself, and if the Palestinians don’t blow their opportunity, so be it for them too.

Which leads me to the second Grand Bargain, or “Pre Grand Bargain Bargain”.

Yes, the reality is that there are factions within the current Coalition that will absolutely refuse to even entertain such a solution; and certainly not while still fighting in Gaza and certainly not before “total victory” is achieved. Bibi, even if he wants to consider the Grand Bargain, is in no position to actually consider or even hint at seriously considering it, as the ideological beliefs of further right wing parties would certainly mean the collapse of the Coalition and his fatal fall from power.

The Pre Grand Bargain Bargain would fundamentally have all Zionist parties join in a National Unity government with the sole goal of managing the war, the “day after”, and negotiating the Grand Bargain. All other issues will be put on hold for two years (similar to the agreement between Bennett and Lapid). The Unity Government would declare that regardless, no elections would be called until the end of this government’s term in 2026. Bibi will thus retain his premiership until that time, after which the public will determine all parties’ fate.

For leaders like Lapid, Michaeli and Lieberman; it means swallowing their pride and working with Bibi and other Likudniks they claim little respect for. It means allowing Bibi to maintain his alliance with Shas and UJT by limiting the new draft legislation for two additional years. It means sucking it up and putting their loyalty to the state above their personal feelings and ambitions.

For Shas and UJT, it affords them a less costly compromise on the draft repeal, and buys them an additional two years before this issue demands full resolution..

For Bibi, it gives him the platform to be the greatest statesman the country has known versus the man who funded Hamas and thus enabled the greatest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. By ridding himself of the fanatics, it guarantees Bibi at least two more years as Prime Minister, and is most likely the best way to ward off both the ICC and the ICJ.  If he plays this hand right, he will perhaps even negotiate pardons on his three indictments. In 2026, he will be able to run for office again on the “only he can” platform, and this time the claim may be valid.

True, the above bargains would be unthinkable to many prior to October 7th, and even to the vast majority of us after the mass trauma inflicted upon us by Hamas, but hard truths must be spoken and more powerful than Iran and its proxy terrorists, we are for the first time since 1948 facing a real existential threat. We can go down whining that the whole world is against us as we are turned into a pariah state with little to no future; clawing and scratching our way down or alternatively we can make strong heroic choices, full of risks, but if successful will ensure a bright strong Israel future for generations to come. I plead with today’s leaders in not just the political, but all sectors of Israeli society to unite and ensure that the Zionist vision carries forward for the sake of our children and our children’s children. We must act now.

About the Author
Parry Rosenberg is a strategic analyst who guides international clients through complex issues and a labyrinth of corporate landscapes. He received an Hons.BA in Political Science from Haifa University, and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from York University. In 2021, he and his wife made Aliyah, and have since called Tel Aviv home.
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