By all predictions and indications, Israel is determined to completely destroy Hamas and all of its infrastructure after Hamas terrorists murdered and kidnapped over 1,200 Israelis.
Toddlers, teenagers, the elderly. Executed. Young Israeli women raped. Hamas terrorists going door to door, killing entire families. Shooting people at bus stops and in their cars. Killing babies.
But what will Gaza look like after Hamas is gone and Gaza is essentially in rubbles?
As a result of Hamas’ use of mosques, hospitals, neighborhoods and schools as command centers, rocket launch pads and human shields, and Israel’s overwhelming and comprehensive retaliation against those sites, rebuilding will require tremendous resources. We’ve already seen the sad preliminary pictures.
Except for the most extreme right wing in Israel, we, like Jews in and out of Israel, know that Palestinians deserve a life of freedom and dignity, and the ability to create a better world for their children.
Just last week, over 20,000 Palestinians were working peacefully toward this goal, legally crossing into Israel daily to work and earn a livelihood for their families. There are even companies with ties to Israel in Gaza that employ Palestinians there. “Israeli” jobs were improving the lives of over 100,000 Palestinians.
When polled in 2022, 53% of Palestinians in Gaza said that they do not support Hamas’ calling for the destruction of Israel, and even larger numbers did not want any more war with Israel. No doubt those numbers would be much higher, if not for the fear of speaking out.
So how can the Palestinians emerge from the destruction of Gaza with a bright future for their children and grandchildren?
The answer lies with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its beloved prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, otherwise known as MBS.
Much has been written about a peace treaty between Israel and Saudi Arabia. By both Arab and Israeli accounts, Hamas was unleashed at this moment to halt those negotiations. It’s working, for now, because MBS paused negotiations as a result of the war.
Just two weeks ago, a prominent Saudi geopolitical analyst wrote that a “Samuel Accord” with Israel would not only be beneficial for both countries, but for the region as a whole. MBS similarly discussed this path in his interview with Fox News.
One of those benefits is to create a regional counterweight to the malign activities of the Iranian regime, who through its proxies, has not only attacked Israel, but Saudi Arabia. Such a treaty would be a major strategic foil against the Iranian Regime.
Of course another benefit of an Israeli-Saudi accord is economic. Trade between Israel and recent signatories to the Abraham Accords — United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco — is now in the billions and growing. Israel has made its desert bloom, and that technology can now help the deserts of the Abraham Accord countries bloom.
There’s also a benefit that transcends military alliances and economics. The people-to-people connection. When people of different cultures and backgrounds get to know each other, hatred tends to take a back seat, and instead, people become friends. Our own recent visits as Jews to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco demonstrated that clearly.
So what if in some backwards kind of way, Iran and Hamas’ terror created a golden opportunity to change the Middle East for the better?
We know that billions of dollars will be needed to rebuild Gaza after Israel destroys every last remnant of Hamas and its terrorist friends in Islamic Jihad. Innocent Gazans for sure will pay a steep price for Hamas’ assault. Not only in lives, but in the decimation of their cities.
Enter MBS and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
It has been widely reported that one of the three negotiating points for the Samuel Accords is a meaningful improvement in the lives of Palestinians.
What if that improvement was the building of a sovereign Palestinian State in Gaza?
The Saudis have the resources and experience to build mega, modern, secure, thriving cities. Skyscrapers. Green areas. Businesses. Entertainment complexes. A state-of-the-art trading port with access to the Mediterranean for the first time.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said it wants to help the Palestinians.
Let’s take them up on their offer and turn Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East.
A prosperous, entrepreneurial society that thrives alongside Israel for generations. A model for what could come for Palestinians living on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Build for the Palestinians of Gaza a prosperous life that they would fight for, and more importantly, shun war for.
Hamas undoubtedly began this war to derail Saudi-Israeli peace talks.
Dear MBS, please turn these Hamas lemons into Palestinian lemonade and rebuild Gaza into something beautiful.
Jeffrey Kass is a lawyer, community activist, award-winning author and top 50 writer on racism, diversity, history and education in the US.
David Farahi is an Israel advocate, Jewish community leader and adjunct professor in the US.