The future of Gaza: What should Israel do?
Israel’s forces south of Wadi Gaza should leave once two objectives will be achieved: the destruction of the military infrastructure of Hamas and the return home of the Israeli hostages. Israel should not seek the elimination and replacement of Hamas as a governing body south of Wadi Gaza. Israel should leave this task to the people of Gaza. Regime change will not happen today or tomorrow: It may take a generation-time. It will happen when the Palestinians will realize the catastrophes this regime – that they elected and supported – brought upon them.
Allow the new reality to sink in the minds of the people
Genocidal movements and horrendous acts of aggression, like the one perpetuated by Hamas on October 7th on Israeli soil, must have consequences and these consequences must be long-term and be seen, so the people in the region internalize them, and change their behavior accordingly.
A precedent of recent history: Neither the Western Allies nor Russia thought that the German people were innocent victims of World War II, and that they were entitled to a restoration of the pre-war Germany borders, and ethnic Germans were unceremoniously expelled in the hundreds of thousands.
Nazi Germany was not offered a red carpet at the end of World War II, and neither should Gaza.
The Gaza Strip should stay divided (de-facto, if not de-jure) into its northern section (north of Wadi Gaza), under Israel’s jurisdiction and its southern section (south of Wadi Gaza) under Egypt’s jurisdiction. Egypt, for political reasons will probably not recognize this arrangement, but a large part of the actual burden and responsibility of any future military adventures of the Palestinian rulers south of Wadi Gaza will actually fall on Egypt, because Egypt will control its border. Hopefully, a formal arrangement could be agreed upon to station Saudi Arabian, Jordanian and Egyptian lightly-armed forces south of Wadi Gaza.
North of Wadi Gaza
North of Wadi Gaza will be demilitarized and remain under Israeli jurisdiction. This will allow for a safe return of the large majority of the tens of thousands of presently displaced and war-traumatized Israelis to the border towns next to Gaza, and the rebuilding of their communities. Israeli civilians will not return to rebuild their lives there, after the horrible traumas they experienced on October 7th, if they do not see iron-clad basic changes on the other side of the border: the leaders of Hamas are on record promising another “October 7th” again, and again.
South of Wadi Gaza
Israel should disconnect itself from any future responsibility of providing electricity, water, work permits and humanitarian aid to Gaza south of Wadi Gaza: It will be up to the Palestinians to procure these necessities by themselves, as any other people on this planet do. Israel should not interfere with the flow of goods and people through the Rafah crossing: What comes and goes through the Rafah crossing will be for the Palestinians and Egypt alone to decide.
The Israeli policy regarding Gaza south to the Wadi Gaza should consist in the foreseeable future only of mainly defensive measures, to avoid a repetition of the territorial invasion into Israeli territory by creating effective buffer zones, or to repel any aerial attack, either using the Iron Dome or air force strikes on the sources of fire south of Wadi Gaza.
If one could find something positive in the horrible events of October 7th, it is in that the Gordian knot tying Gaza and the West Bank, and impeding any political solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, can be now effectively untied: The political clock for Gaza does not have to be tied to the political clock in the West Bank. Let the Palestinians in Gaza get the time to decide what future they want for themselves and their children: get rid of Hamas and live in peace with Israel, or persevere in the path of Hamas, that only brought to them one catastrophe after another.
The future of the West Bank
The Oslo Accords signed in 1993 between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel were proven wrong during the Camp David meetings in 2000 between the US, the Israelis and the Palestinians: the Palestinians saw then the Oslo Accords – and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank of today still see them – as part of a two-stage approach: first stage, the return to the pre-1967 borders by an ephemeral creation of a two-state solution: one state, Israel, within its pre-1967 borders, and a second state, Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza. The second stage envisaged by the Palestinians is the implementation of the “right-of-return” of millions of Palestinians to Israel within its pre-1967 borders, eliminating thus, in fact, the Jewish State (how this influx of millions of Palestinians into Israel could be implemented pacifically is left unexplained by the Palestinians.)
A different approach for the West Bank is needed. Essentially, the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 between the PLO and Israel represented a sharp turn for the worse, away from the UN Resolution 242 of November 1967, and led to nowhere. Israel must propose a return to the UNSC 242 resolution and negotiate with Jordan the solution to the conflict. This means, the reunification of Jordan with a demilitarized West Bank.
No one will be forced to leave his/her home
After a recognized international border between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine will be established, replacing the armistice (cease-fire) lines of 1949, some small Jewish towns, presently in the West Bank, might appear within the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine international borders. Similarly, some small Arab towns, presently in the West Bank, might appear within the international border of Israel. The same might happen with some small Arab towns presently within Israel’s 1949 armistice borders: they might appear within the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine international borders. No one will be forced to leave his/her home, and the individual civil rights of these people will be respected. This will include their rights to keep their ties with their fellow citizens on the other side of the international border. This will also include their right to hold dual-citizenship.
The return to the 242 UNSC resolution should also include addressing the refugee problem: Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees, both victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict. An international aid program – similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II – should be established to develop the economy of Jordan and integrate the Palestinians in the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine. And the international community should also address a just resolution of the claims of the almost one-million Jewish refugees, who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab countries.
For more details see my book “The root of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the path to peace” (February 2024 edition).
The book is available at Amazon (in eBook and paperback formats). However, the book is also available for free download (pdf) for all at: