Dan Ehrlich

Post War: Maybe Israel will get it right this time

An elusive two-state solution, if ever enacted, is no guarantee of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Economic well-being and education are the magic bullets needed for peaceful coexistence.

Look around the world. Nations economically secure, with growing middle classes, seldom go to war with their neighbors. These people have better things to do with their lives. War is for the uneducated have-not peasant classes.

The Abraham Accords between Israel and the wealthy Gulf Arab states was based on mutual economic and security interests between developed nations with high living standards.

Now look at the Gaza Strip, an area of highly prized beach front property that could have been a commercial and tourist hub. As with Haifa, it could have been a multi ethnic area of economic well-being for both Muslims and Jews.

Two key events secured Gaza’s present day reality. Israel left it and Hamas took it. Hamas also took billions of international aid funds to finance its endless war with Israel…funds that could have been used to develop Gaza into a thriving economic area.

Now it has become a bombed out wreck. On the upside, it’s ready for redevelopment at a bargain price.

Oddly, Gaza is the only part of the post war British Mandate where the tag Palestine correctly applies. In Biblical days it was part of the Philistine’s wealthy kingdom, a non-Semitic people who immigrated there from Aegean islands.

The kingdom was eventually destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Philistines were absorbed into it in the 5th Century BC.

As much as the Palestinian Arabs claim a long history with this region, they don’t have an Arabic name for it. They renamed Jerusalem to al- Quds. But, they prefer to keep a Roman territorial name on it, a name that was designed by the Romans to erase the Jewish identity of Eretz Israel after a series of lost wars with mighty Rome..

There’s no getting around the fact that the disaster of October 7th onwards could have been avoided had Israel remained on the Strip and taken an active interest in the growing Arab population of Gaza; helping with planning and handling the finances making sure the funds were used properly in developing a residential and commercial center.

The idea that Israel could remain in a protective bubble isolated from the Palestinians has proven to be a recipe for disaster. As tough as it may seem, more sane and insightful political leadership is needed after the present war ends.

The Gazans may hate Israel and Jews more than ever now, but this hatred may be mitigated in time by decent education and living standards for residents there.

Along with improved living standards, a proper democratic government needs to be installed in Gaza and the West Bank, as well. The main reason a Palestinian state has been so elusive are the unacceptable demands made by the dictatorial Palestinian leadership.

Mamhoud Abbas was elected in 2005 to serve as President of the Palestinian National Authority until 15 January 2009, but he’s remained in office since then without another election in the West Bank or Gaza. This must change with a new democratic combined West Bank and Gaza leadership, one that will work closely with Israel in developing the areas for all concerned.

About the Author
A London based American journalist with a long wide ranging career spanning print, radio TV and online news.