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Jaime Kardontchik

End the Gaza crisis in 24 hours and set the parameters for peace

First the crisis, how to end it and eliminate the unnecessary friction with the US administration, especially in a year of fateful presidential elections. The immediate crisis consists of two elements: humanitarian aid to the civilian population and the Israeli hostages.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza South of Wadi Gaza

Israel should not interfere – nor even give the impression of such thing – with the flow of humanitarian goods through the Rafah crossing, nor should Israel inspect them: Israel should take at face value declarations issued by recognized international aid organizations and Egypt about the contents of the humanitarian aid they provide. The flow of this humanitarian aid should only be limited by the capacity of these humanitarian organizations and Egypt to deliver it.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza North of Wadi Gaza

Israel will ensure that all the needed humanitarian aid reaches the civilian population North of Wadi Gaza. All this humanitarian aid will use terrestrial routes between Israel and northern Gaza, and will be inspected by Israel.

The above humanitarian solution could be implemented immediately, if it were not for two things: a lately total change of direction of the US administration in its attitude towards Israel, including an unprecedented public call to replace the Israeli government, and a corresponding lack of flexibility from Israel’s part. The reason for the former is clear: the incoming November elections in the US, and the need of the Democratic party to succeed in key swinging states, where a few per-cents difference due to the Arab and “progressive” vote, could make the difference between reelection or defeat of President Joe Biden. Ideas like the de-facto division of Gaza for years to come into a northern and southern part (as Nazi Germany was divided after World War II) are presently an anathema for the US. For its part, due to the massacre and atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th, Israel has switched from a long-held perspective that a rule of Gaza by Hamas is tolerable, to a totally opposite perspective that even a temporary continuation of the rule of Hamas on any part of Gaza (south of Wadi Gaza) is intolerable.

Israeli Hostages

The second element that has put Israel and the US in a crisis mode are the Israeli hostages. Israel and the US should stop the endless public spectacle of negotiating with Hamas. Where did the principle of not negotiating the release of hostages with terrorists go? (Or, at least, not in the open, to avoid the publicity that they so crave to get.) This only increases their demands, and sets incentives for future massacres and hostage takings.

The official position to end the hostage crisis should be straightforward. To put it bluntly, at the risk of oversimplifying: For as long as Hamas will not release the Israeli hostages held in Gaza, any armed men on the streets of the Gaza Strip will be fair target for the IDF. Gaza civilians should be cautioned to stay away from armed men, to avoid being caught in the crossfire and be killed.

And now to the parameters for peace.

The parameters for peace

The first step is to begin solving the refugee problem. Now.

The refugee problem

All the past peace initiatives failed because they relegated the refugee problem as the last item of the peace process. This is why the negotiations held in Camp David in 2000 between the Israelis and the Palestinians, under the auspices and guidance of the US, failed. This is why the “Arab Peace Initiative” from 2002, became just a piece of paper and nothing more.

The ball for the solution of the refugee problem is in the Arab and Muslim world court. And it is directly related to what president Joe Biden said in May 2021: “Let us get something straight here. Until the region says unequivocally that they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace”.

The first step in a genuine Arab Peace Initiative should be to give descendants of Palestinians, who were born in the Arab countries, full citizenship rights in their countries of residence. The wealthy Arab countries should provide all the needed help for the full integration of these refugees in their present countries of residence, including the eradication of all the refugee camps. According to the UNRWA, about 2,700,000 Arabs of Palestinian descent live today in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Among them, more than 2,000,000 are in Jordan.

This is long overdue: this is an elemental recognized right for all descendants of refugees in all the other conflicts in the world: the right to rebuild their lives in their new countries of residence. The Palestinians became the exception to the rule: They were kept for generations as refugees in the Arab countries to sustain and provide a justification for the continuation of the war against the State of Israel.

Israel did its part by integrating more than half a million Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. Around half of the present Jewish population in Israel is descendent from Jewish refugees from Arab countries. It is time for the Arab states to do their part in integrating the Palestinian refugees in their countries of residence. Now.

The 242 UNSC resolution

The second step in a peace settlement is to set international and mutually recognized borders between Israel and its Arab neighbors, to replace the present 1949 “cease-fire” lines. The 242 United Nations Security Council resolution from November 1967 should be the basis for the settlement.  This step should begin with setting the international borders in the West Bank:  As part of the 242, the West Bank will be reunified with Jordan, and remain demilitarized.

A re-unified Jordan with the West Bank, following the 242 UNSC resolution (Map source: Central Intelligence Agency, USA)

In the cruel reality of the Middle East, a miniature separate state in the West Bank, 55 miles long by 40 miles wide (or with the addition of the minuscule Gaza Strip, 25 miles long by 8 miles wide), will become a failed state, and a fertile soil and launching pad for an irredentist movement to continue the war with Israel, or as the pro-Palestinian mobs in the European cities and at the university campuses in the US proudly chant: “From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine will be free”. With the academic and intellectual circles in the Western world either supporting this call, or cowardly staying silent, intimidated. Or gaslighting the public, saying that this call is just a spiritual aspiration, with no actual violent genocidal connotations.

For further details, see my book “The root of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the path to peace” (March 2024 edition.) The book can be downloaded for free at:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/364057784_The_root_of_the_Arab-Israeli_conflict_and_the_path_to_peace

The book is also available at Amazon, in eBook and paperback formats. It is also available in Spanish and Hebrew editions.

About the Author
Jaime Kardontchik has a PhD in Physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He lives in the Silicon Valley, California.
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