What would I have the Biden administration do on Gaza? There are answers, but they're not exactly great.
I just want you to know that even though I have some major disagreements with you on the Israel/ Palestinian issue I have a lot of respect for you. I was prepared to hate everything you wrote these past three weeks (and to be fair, I hated some of it) but I really appreciate your voice, your thoughts, and your ideas. I think there is a possibility of a better future if people like us interacted more!
I agree with most of what you say. But your point 3 about Hamas agreeing to release all hostages and voluntarily ceding power to the PA seems completely unrealistic. If they cared about the well being of the Gazan civilians they are nominally governing, they wouldn't have committed the atrocities in Israel on Oct 7. Israel's violent response was predictable and surely anticipated by Hamas, with the intention of using the harm to Gazan civilians for propaganda. How is Israel to negotiate with this organization, and why would they ever trust any agreements reached during a cease fire? Any Israeli leader who took Hamas at their word would be failing in their fundamental duty to protect Israel, as Netanyahu clearly did. He seems to have thought that he had some understanding with Hamas to not attack Israel in return for their allowing Qatar to transfer millions in support to Hamas. No Israeli leader will ever make that mistake again. Any cease fire will have to be reached in spite of Hamas, not with them.
It will take a long time for progressive American Jews like me to trust those on the left who celebrated and justified Hamas' slaughter of children, pregnant mothers, and the elderly in Israel. There are many wounds from Oct 7 and its aftermath, and they will take decades to heal.
Can you imagine a situation where Hamas willingly relinquishes control over Gaza? Admittedly, I’m no expert on Hamas, but from what I understand about their ideology is that they’d gladly die before surrendering. If I’m correct about that, then what choice does Israel have but to press on ?
"After a cessation of hostilities, the U.S. must put pressure on the Israeli government to accept a Palestinian state and commit to a peace process that would lead to the establishment of two states—"
Why does anyone think the Palestinians are finally ready for two states? The Hamas raid on Israel is the most popular thing with their people that they've done in years.
3. Hamas agrees to release all hostages and offload governing responsibilities in Gaza onto the Palestinian Authority.
4. This means accepting that Israel will kill or arrest senior Hamas military commanders.
I don't like being a wet blanket, but why would the Hamas leadership surrender the hostages and their power in in Gaza, knowing that they will be arrested or killed by Israel?
I think you neglect to include having the Arab countries put leverage on Hamas and agree to collaborate to establish an interim governing authority in Gaza that is acceptable to Israel. See Dennis Ross' piece. Having some pressure on the other side from their friends ("Do this or no more money!") should be very helpful. And full blockade seems to make the most sense (Bret Stephens). Can't fight if you can't eat. Biden and the US (where the heqq is Europe??) can, and should, be the rational force countering Israel's emotional response.
Why is this hatred of Jews and the existence of Israel such a non-starter for Hamas and other Palestinians? I recently streamed the old Exodus movie to refresh myself on the history of establishment of Israel in the region and was struck by a scene towards the end where a Nazi German meets with the local Arab leaders and gives them orders from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to drive the Jews from the Palestine region. One of the sheiks warns the neighboring kibbutz that an attack is imminent and they must evacuate their children. Later the sheiks is found hanged with a Star of David carved in his chest and the German word "Juden" painted on the wall. It was like a scene out of the Raiders of the Lost Arc.
Research confirmed the basis of the scene where the Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini did initiate attacks against the British during WWII and even ended up in Italy and Germany even meeting personally with Hitler and touring concentration camps to get ideas of how to handle the "Jewish Problem" in the Palestine region. He later was banished to Egypt meeting with the influencers of the Egyptian Brotherhood who spun off Al Qaeda, ISIS, Desh, Taliban, etc. The roots of fascism in the Palestine region are deep and not easily excised.
No cease fire. Give Hamas time and resources to build itself up again? Absolutely not. Palestinians who want to be safe can travel south as the IDF advised, if Hamas lets them. There they will find humanitarian assistance.
Imagine the Sheikh who has been visited during the night by an assassin who was sent by the Sheikh's adversary. The assassin was silent, never said a word, but nonetheless delivered the message in person to the Sheikh's tent. And what was the message? It was not written, spoken or the result of a face to face confrontation. The message was a dagger, laid at the foot of the Sheikh's bed. The message was clear. Next time, I will use this weapon. The Sheikh understood. And his security personnel were dismissed forthwith. Perhaps we should revisit subtle, though ancient, ways of communicating.
I get it: Reward Palestinians for murdering Jews and aiming to up that by an order of magnitude. Just because they've walked from several legitimate peace deals over decades doesn't mean there are consequences for their recalcitrance. Why not let other Jew-hating nations, with real armies, take charge of Israel's border. You think you're dealing with children? These innocents voted in Hamas in Gaza and numerous polls taken over many years say their brethren would do the same in current PA territory. Your approach is, to most mainstream Jews, unethical and suicidal. Thanks but we'll pass
Israel needs the Arab world to grant it the right to exist. It doesn't take a lot of words or theorising to be clear about that.
Thank you for this. My only disagreement is over the idea that a 2 state solution is workable. Israeli settlers are too entangled in the West Bank, and Gaza is destroyed. I think the hard truth is that Israel can no longer divorce the Palestinians. A Palestinian state is not realistically possible anymore, if it ever was. The boy way forward is a gradual transformation of Israel into a post-Zionist, binational state which embraces a truth and reconciliation path like SA. This seems very unlikely at the moment. My fear is it will happen one day, but only once the Palestinians are totally reduced, brutalized and disempowered and can be integrated into a state that is a pure Jewish hegemony.
Hope, belied by the reality being written in real time over the last few years.
“There are, according to the Shin Bet, two things that tend to mellow extremists: military conscription and marriage. Ben-Gvir skipped conscription, and he married someone even more radical than he was. Ben-Gvir met Ayala Nimrodi around 2002, when he was twenty-six and she was fifteen. She was one of a handful of girls in the Kach movement, and she was a devoted adherent. “I happened to see a leaflet of Kahane, read it, and found many answers,” she told the news site Ynet. About a year after their meeting, she was arrested while occupying an illegal outpost in Hebron, and, when she refused to sign the terms of her release, Ben-Gvir showed up to cheer her on in court. They were married the next year. He told her, “I can’t promise you flowers and roses, but arrests, protests, and press.” In the Ynet interview, published a month after their wedding, Ayala was asked what she foresaw in the coming year. She replied, “I wish that, God willing, next year the land of Israel will all be ours. That we will continue to conquer it—and I mean the two banks of Jordan and south Lebanon. That we will get rid of the Arabs and deport them, at long last. That whoever needs to get the death penalty there, will.”
I totally agree disagree that Israel can be excused from being a human rights organization. For a society to function well, all individuals must strive to be moral and self-policing.
To be one of the civilized nations, a nation must accept the Geneva Convention willingly and put a considerable effort into living up to it. Any nation that does not show signs of policing itself, but simply tries to get away with things until it is caught, should be consigned to pariah status.
As best as I can tell, the blood of 10/7 Has been repaid double or even threefold. I'm beginning to wonder about Israel's commitment to the Geneva Convention.
I think point 6 is a non-starter too, since Hamas is far from the only threat Israel faces. As long as Iran and its allies loom, Biden’s approach of arming Israel while coaxing its leaders privately is far more likely to work. If Israel thinks the US will stop arming them, I worry they will fear so greatly for their very existence that they will lash out in all directions.