| The Rose Report |

The Day After Takes Years to Plan

The idea that Israel might have to occupy the Gaza Strip for even seven months to ensure Gaza’s compliance with the terms of surrender, has become unthinkable

Photo: Shutterstock Imagebank4u

During World War II, the United States and Great Britain, later joined by the Soviet Union and France, spent more than three years formulating a plan to deal with a conquered Germany, and only after convening two major international summits in Tehran and Yalta.

Goals such as “unconditional surrender” and the terms of an Allied “occupation” of Germany were set. The US and Britain appointed teams to deal with German prisoners of war, civilian refugees, and, most importantly for the long-term — the rehabilitation of Germany while ensuring that a militarized German state could never rise again to threaten the security of the world.

If Israel were to be afforded the same time frame and considerations in dealing with Hamas, it might have a better chance of arriving at a plan for “the day after” in Gaza that would make the Middle East, and the world, a safer and saner place to live.

But no one cuts Israel any slack. Demands began pouring in from all quarters for Israel to develop a plan for the day after, even before the war in Gaza started. Unconditional surrender, which the Allies demanded from Nazi Germany, is a non-starter when it comes to Hamas. If anything, Israel is the one expected to surrender — to all of Hamas’s demands, which the Biden administration has come around to supporting in its efforts to end the war and win re-election.

The idea that Israel might have to occupy the Gaza Strip for even seven months — not to mention the seven years that the Allies occupied Germany after World War II — to ensure Gaza’s compliance with the terms of surrender, has become unthinkable. Instead, Israel is expected to exit Gaza without achieving its military goals and then hand over control to a different group of terrorists who share the same genocidal goal as Hamas.

International cooperation in dealing with Gazan refugees is nonexistent. The Arab nations won’t extend a hand to their fellow co-religionists. The US refuses to use its considerable economic leverage over Egypt or its political clout with Qatar to force them to resettle Gazan refugees. The onus is entirely on Israel to make sure that the same people trying to kill them are well-fed and financed and live to fight another day.

Israel has come to expect this type of double standard, or hypocrisy if you prefer, from an international community ignorant of the realities and the history of the Middle East.

But now, those same pressures are coming from within. In recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political opponents are undermining Israel’s war efforts in their quest to topple Bibi and his religious-right coalition at any and all costs.  Internal dissension is racking the so-called unity government that has outlived its usefulness.

The Three Weeks

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, who double as the opposition leaders inside the war cabinet, have delivered ultimatums to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Gallant opposes any long-term IDF presence in Gaza, even though there is no alternative for ensuring that Hamas does not regroup to threaten Israel. According to Yisrael Hayom, Gallant even floated a bizarre plan to relocate Gaza residents to humanitarian enclaves and then arm a Gazan security force — under “international supervision” — to keep the peace once the IDF withdraws.

Israel tried that once before, under the Oslo Accords. Thirty years of terror later, the IDF and intelligence services operate 24/7 in Judea and Samaria trying to keep Jews safe and sound.

For his part, Gantz issued an ultimatum to Bibi, giving him until June 8 to release a comprehensive plan for the day after in Gaza. That’s three weeks. The Allies took three years to formulate a solution for Germany.

With allies like these, you don’t need political enemies. And it’s not as if Netanyahu or Israel has any true allies to help them arrive at any reasonable resolution.

The idea of Israel controlling more of its biblical homeland, which includes Gaza and even parts of Lebanon that once belonged to the tribes of Asher and Naftali, agitates an international community only too happy to “shrink Israel to its natural size,” a term often employed by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

How else can you explain US efforts to force Israel — after everything they have gone through — to cede land for a Palestinian state, and even to hand over territory along the Lebanese border to Hezbollah as a goodwill gesture, when dozens of Israeli communities that used to be home to tens of thousands of Jewish citizens remain evacuated?

The Trap of Statehood

Pulling out all the stops to try to force Israel to bend, the Biden administration dispatched National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week. The administration has belatedly hopped on the Abraham Accords bandwagon and would like the Saudis to come along for the ride.

The Saudis have their own interests — mainly US security guarantees and weapons, in addition to assistance with developing nuclear power plants. Relations with Israel are a distant fourth on the Saudis’ priority list, as they know Israel poses no threat to them. They will agree to normalize relations with Israel, whatever that means to them, if that’s the price they have to pay for American goodies.

Currying favor with the Palestinians is probably a distant fifth for the Saudis, and that being the case, Israel must sidestep any US pressure to agree to a Palestinian state to ease any Saudi guilty conscience over recognizing Israel.

Recent reports indicated the Saudis might suffice with a general Israeli declaration to consider a path to Palestinian statehood within the next five years.

Israel would be making a major mistake to agree even to such vague wording. The Palestinian Authority does not want a state. They are quite satisfied with the kleptocracy they’ve developed that has enriched a small cadre of terrorists who now wear suits.

Setting aside the PA’s corruption and incompetence, it’s quite likely that in five years, Hamas or an even more radical Iranian proxy will have taken control of Gaza and Arab sections of Judea and Samaria.

Israel can’t afford to be passive bystanders.  That’s why it must defeat Hamas now.

Planning for a postwar era will take time, just like it did 80 years ago.

It will also take allies that empathize with Israel’s special geopolitical plight and also understand that Israel’s conflict is perhaps the final battle in the Western world’s war on terror that began after 9/11.

It has to be won.

The day after can’t be forced. It can wait until there is a workable solution.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 1012)

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