It’s really up to them, isn’t it? I’m posting below Gershon Baskin’s current analysis:
The government of Israel had little choice but to use military means to confront the challenge of the rockets from Gaza. The indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel’s civilian population is intolerable, a war crime and had to be stopped. In the course of confronting this challenge Israel has discovered that a much larger strategic threat is the tunnels, estimated by the US to number more than 60 where Hamas combatants could enter into Israeli civilian communities along the border and carry out mega terrorist attacks.
The massive air force bombardment of Gaza by Israel did not lessen the challenges; the rockets kept being shot into Israel and in fact intensified. The tunnels became active and continue to be used, so far killing soldiers only. The ceasefire proposals being offered by Hamas do not include the demilitarization of Gaza. Hamas rejects any thought of an agreement that will prevent them from rearming and massing more military strength to kill Israelis.
The Israeli ground operation is aimed to confront the threats, but as we have already seen, the killing of non-combatants, not unexpectedly, even with all of the care that the Israeli army takes to prevent innocent casualties, are unavoidable. Gaza is an extremely densely populated area and there is no place to hide. The underground bunkers are protecting the Hamas leadership and its military commanders. Those taking the hits are the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Not a single important Hamas commander has been killed, but hundreds of civilians have paid with their lives.
The bottom line is that there is no military solution that Israel can offer. The Hamas regime can be brought down by Israel; Israel has the capabilities to do this. But it will require a full re-occupation of Gaza for an extended period of time and in the end, I fear the Israeli victory in Gaza will look very much like the victory of George W. Bush over Sadaam Hussein – and look at Iraq today.
Gaza must be dealt with but the end result should be comprehensive including security, political and economic. The framework must be done through the region: Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the national reconciliation Government of Palestine – under President Abbas. The Arab League must give backing to a regional-Arab led force to demilitarize Gaza. This together with a US led technical team locating and destroying tunnels that lead to Israel from Gaza. There must be a political plan, supported by the Arab League and Israel and backed by the Security Council, utilizing the Arab Peace Initiative to finally end Israel’s occupation over the Palestinian people and creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. New Palestinian elections to elect a legitimate and recognized Palestinian leadership must be convened as soon as possible. And a very large international fund for the reconstruction of Gaza and Palestine of multi billions.
In the absence of a comprehensive approach such as this, the casualties will have been in vane and we will return to this situation with worse conditions in the not too distant future.
Wait, haven’t we been there before? “Occupation” ended, a multi-billion fund, peace plans backed up by everyone – just 20 years ago the peace was within our grasps, according to the Oslo dreamers. Wasn’t it just that dream that brought this nightmare upon us (especially the Gazans)?
So perhaps this time, another course than the one we’ve walked several times before is worth considering? One which does not include armed gangs ruling Gaza or Judea and Samaria? Because if there is one thing we’ve learned from the past 20 years is that anything less than I Israeli control results in criminal terrorists taking over territory and using it (with the kind help of the billions in aid) to continue pursuing their plans to destroy the only state in the region where all citizens are free and equal.
Or, in perfectly clear words – “Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza” – not a bloody chance. Thanks, but no thanks.
Michael, As a two state supporter, I have not opposed any of the post-Oslo military campaigns in Gaza or Lebanon, including this one and the next one, I’m sure. It’s not that i don’t see where you are coming from, but I don’t see where you’re heading. What happens next? Re-occupy Gaza, and give them all the right to vote both there and in the West Bank, and let’s call it the end of the day. It’s a nightmare on top of a nightmare.
But it won’t be the end of the day. Do you have a B-plan in case it won’t work? And it doesn’t work, as we’ve all seen.
Step one would be admitting that Oslo failed. That “Palestinian” self-rule has failed. That peace can only be made in return for peace, not by slicing parts from Israel. Until Arabs are ready to make peace, unconditionally, without demanding anything in return but peace, there won’t be any progress. Sadly, we’re miles away from such a settlement, especially since the Arab “spring”, so in the meantime, we need to make the best of it, containing the conflict and managing it.
Disarming Gaza and perhaps letting Egypt assume control over it can be a part of the management package. Present Gaza with two options – Israeli occupation or Egyptian one. I wonder what they choose.
I have no idea what “peace for peace” means.
The PA’s securitu arm, at least, has demonstrated that it it can work successfully with Israel and Bibi (I hold his group responsible) could have worked with them etc etc to build something lasting. Much as I distrust the Palis in one way, I also distrust Bibi in another.
But as to Egypt running Gaza, they did for many years (48-67) and surprised Egypt they didn’t offer Gaza some sort of semi-autonomous status to give Palis experience in running their own show. Plenty of room for mistakes by everyone east of Gibraltar.
“Peace for peace” means the opposite of “land for peace”. It means both sides are genuinely interested in not fighting each other more than they are caring about grievances about (supposed) injustices and “land grabs”.
The PA’s security tentacles are mostly busy defending their corrupted chiefs, when they are not busy killing Jews. The scarce moments they decided it was more profitable to cooperate with Israel are really not worth mentioning.
I don’t understand the last part of your comment about Egypt, so perhaps you could state it in clearer terms.
I see what you mean about ‘peace for peace’ and OK but it will be long time.
But something short of complete warm peace with WB is an essential.
As to Egypt, best solutions for all is build wall around Gaza (except for Egypt border of course) and let Gaza be part of Egypt as semi-autonomous district. Seems obvious solution to a lay-person.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, a wall won’t be enough – the tunnels need to be dealt with. But, fortunately, Egypt has a great deal of experience with that, having efficiently dealt with tunnels on their border.
Boiling it down since Baskin’s last para garbled it, and all ok except the fourth which is true but gibberish.
• President Abbas takes control of Gaza.
• Arab led force to demilitarize Gaza.
OK but will they? and when?
• Destroy tunnels that lead to Israel from Gaza.
This one is too big:
There must be a political plan, supported by the Arab League and Israel and backed by the Security Council, utilizing the Arab Peace Initiative to finally end Israel’s occupation over the Palestinian people and creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.
• New Palestinian elections to elect a legitimate and recognized Palestinian leadership must be convened as soon as possible.
OK but didn’t we already do this and they elected Hamas?
• Fund for the reconstruction of Gaza and Palestine of multi billions.
i just don’t see how it happens. the EU is proposing that Hamas and Islamic Jihad demilitarize? i don’t see how that happens either.
I have no idea how this plays out but I think it will be bloody.
Let the EU come to Gaza – they can demonstrate to the IDF how to demilitarize Hamas and IJ without any civilian casualties.