The Day After

These days the nation’s attention properly is focused on the war effort. Major kudos to the military leadership, who so far have been able to minimize Israeli casualties. But the day after is coming, possibly sooner than most thought. After the defeat of Hamas, then what? Here are several thoughts:

  1. Bibi Netanyahu must resign and be replaced by someone with popular support, even if it’s a caretaker government. The best-case scenario is that the National Unity Party of Benny Gantz join the current coalition government, possibly with the addition of some other parties, and the coalition vote in a new prime minister.
  2. Smotrich and Ben-Gvir be replaced as government ministers. Their actions led and continue to lead to unrest in the territories, which may have been a contributing factor to the government and military being unprepared by the October 7 disaster.
  3. A temporary military government be formed over Gaza with a plan to gradually transfer governing responsibility to an internationally recognized body, similar to the earlier British or UN mandates over Palestine. Ideally, this body would be comprised of Arab state representatives, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. While the Palestinian Authority could be included in such a body, it should not be given sole responsibility – it does not have the credibility or even the ability to manage such a massive reconstruction effort.
  4. A commission be formed to investigate the catastrophic failures around the October 7 terrorist attack. Bibi Netanyahu can have no role in such a commission, except as a witness.
  5. A new election be called at the earliest practicable time.
  6. A separate commission be formed to make recommendations regarding the nation’s future relationship with Gaza and the West Bank. The commission should, among others, include Israeli Arab representatives. The current status is unsustainable as proven by the October 7 disaster. Once the commission makes its recommendations, the Knesset must decide the way forward with very specific guidelines. The then government should begin negotiations with international partners, Arab states and the Palestinian Authority for a permanent solution.
  7. Another commission be formed to examine and make recommendations concerning the nation’s governing documents. The current Basic Laws, providing a semi-constitutional foundation to the country’s governmental system, are badly flawed. As has been shown over the past few years, any coalition can change the Basic Laws by majority vote. Foundational changes to a nation’s government should be rarer and made more difficult to accomplish. Ideally, the commission would recommend Israel establish a real constitution with individual rights protected. Most of the current Basic Laws could be absorbed into the constitution and then provision could be made for future amendments by a larger majority of the Knesset.

Historic disasters have led to positive outcomes if the parties are determined to learn from past mistakes, e.g., World War II leading to the establishment of the United Nations, the nation of Israel and the prevention so far of another world war. The question is whether we, as a nation, will take advantage of the day after.

About the Author
Partner, Cohen and Brosh Law Offices, Tel Aviv - 2013-current. Former Chief Counsel of a US Senate Subcommittee and assistant to the Majority Whip of the Senate.
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