A Golden Bridge For Gaza

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Israel’s repeated wars against Hezbollah and Hamas have had two simple goals: constraint and deterrence. Israel wants to constraint their ability to make war and deter them from doing so in the future. The common term for this is “mowing the grass.”

It is a horrible term, reflecting the hopelessness of resolving anything.

Hamas has goals of their own. The shortest-term goal is to remain accepted as the leaders of the Palestinian people by demonstrating their dedication to resistance. Their longer-term goal is to work away at Israel’s territorial peace until they and their allies are in a position – through military might or public relations – to remove Israel entirely. The creation of a Palestinian state would emplace Hamas rockets within 20 miles of every Israeli population center but Eilat. Even Iron Dome could not resist that. It would be a major coup in their policy of ethnic cleansing. This policy pre-dates Hamas. 99% of Jews were ethnically cleaned from Muslim-governed lands in the years following 1948. Hamas simply wants to finish the job.

Israel recognizes they can’t defeat Hamas. After all, they are widely supported by their civilian population. Removing the Hamas government and occupying Gaza once again would only lead to an endless guerrilla war. And Hamas recognizes that they must continue to fight, periodically – even if their goals seems hopelessly out of reach today. They believe, eventually, that they will win.

Historically, Hamas is right. Muslims pushed out the Crusaders. Muslims pushed out the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Muslims forced the French out of Algeria. Muslims even pushed out the Mongols, after the massacre of almost all Muslims in Baghdad in 1258. Israel, in the long term, can’t be that different. Right?

I know of only three other Muslim-governed lands from which Muslim rulers were successfully replaced by non-Muslim rulers. These lands include Spain, India and parts of Western China.

Spain carried out a total ethnic cleansing of all non-Christians (Jews included). China appears to be following in Spanish footsteps, with Communist Party ideology replacing Christianity as the orthodox religion of the conquerors.

India remains the other example. Like Israel it has a significant Muslim population (somewhat reduced by a massive population transfer at the founding of the state in 1948). Like Israel it has internal sectarian conflicts with a Muslim population and external wars with a Muslim country (Pakistan). And, like Israel, it has resolved next to nothing.

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Texan Hunter 4 weeks ago Member's comment

I realize it sounds harsh, but wouldn't everyone be better off if Israel just wiped Hamas out? Yes, many of their soldiers would die in he short-term. And yes, thousands of Palestinian civilians would probably die. But as the violence drags on, likely many more than this will be killed in the future. And the Palestinians will never have freedom, peace and prosperity until they are free of Hamas.

Joseph Cox 4 weeks ago Author's comment

Freeing them from Hamas wouldn't deliver that either.

Terrence Howard 4 weeks ago Member's comment

Would you agree on this assessment of the situation with Hamas?

talkmarkets.com/.../defeating-hamas-takes-more-than-bombs

IB Trading 4 weeks ago Member's comment

Thanks for the link. Lots of interesting articles lately.

Leslie Miriam 1 month ago Member's comment

Congratulations on your cease fire. I assume that's a good thing?

Adam Reynolds 1 month ago Member's comment

It is hard to make peace with a terrorist organization dedicated to the extermination of Israel and the Jewish people. It's like that old joke where Hamas and Israel meet to negotiate peace and Hamas said their demands are "death to all Jews" and the Americans say to Israel - can't you at least try to meet them in the middle?"

Joseph Cox 1 month ago Author's comment

I'm not suggesting making peace with Hamas. But Gazan population is made up of clans, each of which have a very different relationship to Hamas. As much as we like to imagine mass groups of people as perfectly unified blocks, once you scratch the surface a different and more complex reality tends to emerge.

Texan Hunter 1 month ago Member's comment

I thought Israel built a wall to keep terrorists and suicide bombers out. Now you want to invite Gazans in? How can you be sure the person you are letting in your front door, isn't there to hurt you? Either with an attack or to radicalize Israeli Arabs already in Israel?

Joseph Cox 1 month ago Author's comment

You can't be sure. But there are 2 million people in Gaza - you'll only allow a relatively small number in. And Israel has data on many of these people. They know the relationships, the families, the structure of the terror organizations. I would venture Israel can have a very good idea of risk levels of families before you let anybody in. And, again, collaborators have already been let in - although AFAIK their treatment once here hasn't been awesome.

Ayelet Wolf 1 month ago Member's comment

It's a nice thought to try to win the hearts and minds of the Gazan people. But they've been indoctrinated to hate since infancy. It would be an uphill battle. Plus, even if you succeeded, Hamas is a bloodthirsty, ruthless regime that has no qualms about killing their own people. They would not hesitate to torture and murder any Gazan whom you managed to turn against them. In fact they would probably murder anyone who agreed to even enter Israel, as an Israeli collaborator. How would you get around this problems?

Joseph Cox 1 month ago Author's comment

They apply via an app and go to Egypt - a perfectly normal thing to do - from whence they can be brought over.

This model isn't unheard of either. The West brought over refusniks and collaborators from the Soviet Union. It was hard and thus quite limited, but there were pathways. They tended to go through third-party countries. These people ended up being great allies in the combat with the evil empire.

Some collaborators already brought over (like the Green Prince) fall into the same bucket.

Susan Miller 1 month ago Member's comment

It is a great idea, but how would you possibly get Hamas to agree to this? It would be a dramatic step towards normalization. And doesn't Hamas consider anyone who even visits Israel to be a traitor, punishable by death?

Joseph Cox 1 month ago Author's comment

Hamas would never agree, you'd do it unilaterally.

Danny Straus 1 month ago Member's comment

"Put another way, Gazan Palestinians could be more like Arab Israeli..." you mean the very people who are rioting all across Israel, burning down synagogues, lynching Jews, dragging people from their cars and beating them, throwing molotov cocktails and firebombs at homes? Sound like you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. All you'd do is bring in more people that hate you and want you dead.

Sure, some my volunteer to help clean up after, but when the leader of the the most moderate of Israeli Arab parties - Ra'am, tried to show his solidarity by visiting the mayor of Lod and a razed synagogue, his own party told him to resign. Seems like the moderates are in the minority.

Joseph Cox 1 month ago Author's comment

The moderates are always in the minority (at least in terms of volume) in the midst of this sort of violence. Roll back a month and the situation was quite different. Roll forward and it could be much worse or somewhat better.

I've had moderate Jewish friends of mine question whether any Arabs were interested in living in peace. This is something they never would have thought a month ago - they work with Arabs and interact on a regular basis. I'm sure there are Arabs in exactly the same boat. The extremism of radicals forces people into their corners and it is very hard to pull them back out.

What happens if you fail to do so, though?

We don't need to look at Israel to see the answer to this question.

The answer is horrifying.