Netanyahu's Bold, Realistic Plan for "the Day After Hamas"

(Wall Street Journal) Daniel Pipes - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month presented Israel's security cabinet with a plan for "the Day After Hamas." Israel plans to work primarily with Gazans to rebuild their territory. "Civil affairs and responsibility for public order will be based on local actors with 'management experience,'" and "not identified with countries or organizations supporting terrorism" or receiving payments from them. In a step toward this program of self-rule, the Israeli military has begun to seek out community leaders whose duties will include distributing humanitarian aid. The concept is brave, bold and contested. Many Israelis and Palestinians alike insist that Jerusalem won't find local actors to work with. Yet the Israeli plan is correct. It envisages a decent Gaza run by decent Gazans. It recognizes that Gazans have endured 17 years of exploitation by their rulers as cannon fodder for public-relations purposes. Hamas sacrifices civilians for political support. The more misery Gazans endure, the more convincingly Hamas can accuse Israel of aggression and the wider and more vehement its global backing becomes. Many Gazans want to be liberated from Hamas. However hostile to the Jewish state, they desperately want to move on from their present squalor, even if that means working with Jerusalem. Israel, therefore, can reasonably expect to find many cooperative Gazans ready to establish a new governing authority capable of taking on a range of tasks, from policing, utilities, municipal services and administration to communications, teaching and urban planning. The writer is president of the Middle East Forum.

2024-03-04 00:00:00

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