How will Israel handle Gaza after the war with Hamas?


Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently flew to Turkey for a series of meetings intended to prevent further escalation of the current conflicts in the Middle East. (And what could possibly go wrong if we have Winkin’ Tony Blinken on the job, right?) Meanwhile, officials in Israel seem to be sensing that Joe Biden’s resolve to continue supporting our ally is weakening in the face of political headwinds from the left. Perhaps as a result, the Israeli Defense Minister proposed a series of steps to be taken to return Gaza to some semblance of functionality after Hamas has been removed. Critics were quick to jump on the proposals, saying that they lack specificity and urgency. So how will Israel “fix” Gaza without “occupying” it? 

From the The Guardian:

Israeli officials are scrambling to head off mounting frustration in Washington in the run-up a potentially difficult meeting between the top US diplomat and Benjamin Netanyahu by offering a series of policy proposals on Gaza that critics say lack detail or commitment.

The US has offered staunch support to Israel since the outbreak of its war with Hamas three months ago but is anxious to secure some concessions from Netanyahu to lower regional tensions and help avert a wider conflict in the Middle East.

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, arrived in Turkey on Friday to begin a week-long Middle East tour.

The proposal offered by the Defense Minister isn’t outlandish, but I would have to agree that it’s a bit vague at best. Once Hamas is removed, he suggests that Israel can maintain “security control” of Gaza, but leave the day-to-day operational governance to an “Israeli-guided governing body.” He further nominates the United States, the EU, and other Western partners to take charge of rebuilding Gaza’s shattered infrastructure and oversee the distribution of aid during the process.

I’ll give him credit for seeing the need to keep Israel’s touch on the Gaza Strip as light as possible after the war. That will do less to inflame the resentment, tensions, and potential violence among Gaza’s residents. But with that said, there are many details missing from the proposal and some obvious assumptions being overlooked. First of all, without Hamas, there is no Palestinian governing body to be “guided” by Israel. Such a structure would have to be built from the ground up because the Palestinian Authority wants nothing to do with the situation and the Gazans don’t think much of the PA anyway.

There is also the important question of how well and truly “gone” Hamas will be even after the IDF has rounded up all of its fighters and commanders. It isn’t as if the rest of the population of the Strip is brimming with people yearning for a peaceful coexistence with Israel. Gaza is filled with generations of people who were indoctrinated from birth to hate and wish to destroy Israel and who view the Jews as demonic monsters who must be eliminated. It’s not hard to imagine new ranks of Palestinians showing up to take up arms and regrow something similar even if it’s under another name.

On the plus side, if the West is to go in and rebuild Gaza (provided the terror tunnels are all flooded and permanently sealed), we could ensure that resources are actually going toward constructive purposes, both literally and figuratively. Without Hamas around to steal all of the relief aid, perhaps the residents of Gaza could see the potential for a better, more normal life. That might change at least a few hearts and minds, or so we can hope.

Unfortunately, the Defense Minister’s proposal carries no weight at this time. It would still need to be approved by the rest of the ministers and the Israeli government, and that is far from a sure thing. Still, this could provide an opportunity for Joe Biden to stiffen his spine a bit and publicly endorse the proposal or something close to it. And he could stop trying to backstab Netanyahu in private while he’s at it.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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