The day after the war in the Holy Land

The day after the war in the Holy Land

There is great interest in the day after the war in Gaza. As horrific as the Israeli genocide and the magnitude of the Palestinian sacrifices, the obvious question is the following:

“What comes after this new Nakba?” Will Hamas end or will it remain? And which Hamas: the organization or the idea? Will its leaders be eliminated, while keeping the fighters alive? What about the sympathizers? What about the idea of resistance and the inevitability of armed struggle?

There are many questions around the scenarios for the day after the Gaza tragedy, and among these are: What about the future of Gaza, and who will fill the void if Hamas is removed; what about the Palestinian Authority and the Oslo understandings; what about the future of the peace process, the two-state solution, the normalization process with Israel?

Have the foundations of the relationship between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the rest, such as the Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan, been damaged? Will Washington emerge unscathed or will it lose its credibility and integrity as a mediator in a peace process?

Another question is related to which type of peace: Peace according to the rule of land in exchange for peace, or peace in exchange for the advantages of improving the economic conditions of the Palestinians, or peace based on the theft of land in exchange for displacement to other parts of the earth. Is it the peace that ends the Palestinian issue by displacing the people of Gaza towards Sinai and the people of the West Bank? Towards Jordan as an alternative homeland, and the overthrow of the Hashemite family?

You see, if all of this is achieved, the forces of extremism and racism in Israel will stop their colonial project from the Nile to the Euphrates. Rather, will the rest of the Arab countries and neighboring countries survive the conspiracies and ambitions of Israel, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Türkiye? Rather, will the region live in peace, or will creative chaos, the division of the region, and the establishment of a Kurdish state at the expense of Türkiye, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, continue on its path?

I think the most important question is: Is peace possible while the two-state solution is still alive and breathing? Is the region likely to take a break to catch its breath, or has it entered a new phase of escalation, with the Gaza fires expanding to turn into a major conflagration in the region? Here we will try to read the day after the war in Gaza.

Permanent peace

Many hope that from the womb of the Gaza tragedy will emerge the “bird of peace” that some have long preached, and which many people have longed for throughout the life of the Palestinian tragedy. They argue that permanent peace is now possible. Among them is the Guardian writer Roe Kibrick, who wrote in an article on November 23, 2023, that the Hamas attack on October 7 had returned the Palestinian issue to the international agenda, and posed a challenge to the idea that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be managed at low cost. He also put forward the idea that Israel can integrate into the Middle East while ignoring the demands of the Palestinians.

Although the issue has returned to the forefront, the experience of recent years indicates that America and the West usually resort to the trick of “conflict management” instead of resolving it. This trick through the maze of “endless negotiations” suits Israel and its important international sponsors, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. It seems that the technique of movement in the place suits Washington and London, especially since they are in the midst of preparing for elections that will be held this year, and they are busy with Ukraine and the impact of the war there on energy prices. Meanwhile, other countries have many internal issues to worry about.

If this was true, and of course it is true. The absence of reliable leadership in Israel and the Palestinian territories makes things difficult, makes achieving a comprehensive settlement far away, and places the task of achieving peace on the shoulders of Biden and the international community.

Here a question arises: What has changed so that Biden, who is biased towards Israel and the incapable international community, can achieve a breakthrough and implement the two-state solution?

Vision of Netanyahu and Biden

Beginning in order to understand what the next day of what is happening in Gaza might bring, we must stop at the vision of both Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Joe Biden, the President of the United States of America, at a time when Netanyahu believes that “Israel” has accepted a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan.

In principle.

But he ignores the demand for a road map on how and when operations in Gaza will end, and he ignores warnings not to enter Rafah. The road map that he presented to the War Council recognizes Israel’s freedom to conduct military operations in Gaza, and refuses to transfer administration to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas. Instead, Netanyahu talks about managing civil affairs with some local Palestinians cooperating with “Israel.” Once again we return to the idea of “civil administration” under occupation.

Israeli radio reported that Benjamin Netanyahu presented to the security mini-ministerial council a document of principles related to the “day after” policy for the war in the Gaza Strip. It reporetd that Netanyahu’s document includes Israel’s freedom to operate in the entire Gaza Strip without a time limit, and also includes the establishment of a security zone in the Gaza Strip adjacent to Israeli towns.

The report pointed out that Netanyahu’s document stipulates that Israel will maintain the southern closure on the border between Gaza and Egypt, and also includes a clause to close UNRWA and replace it with other international relief agencies.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry rejected the document because it aims to prolong the war and implement the displacement plan.

For his part, Biden wants to strengthen Israel’s firepower and protect it in the UN Security Council – “veto 3 times against a permanent ceasefire” – demonstrate its strength and prevent the opening of other fronts in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Biden had acknowledged to Netanyahu his right to pursue Hamas, but with the necessity of a ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, accepting the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and negotiating for a two-state solution. Of course, all of this is for the security of “Israel,” and he pledged that Saudi Arabia would be ready to recognize “Israel”. But Netanyahu is determined to destroy Palestine for the sake of his political future and the Zionist project. He is not at all prepared to revive the Palestinian Authority, transfer to it Gaza, and the plan for a two-state solution. He rejects calls not to make the occupation of Gaza permanent and not to expand the occupation in the West Bank.

From here, it seems to us that the matter does not carry anything new, and perhaps a temporary truce under the occupation, and another version of “endless negotiations” and an Israeli failure to commit to anything it pledged, continuing to devour more Palestinian land, and deporting more Palestinians away from their land.

Who wins the war?

At the same time, the future does not seem clear in Israel, and the scenarios for the second day are disputed, and Yuval Noah Harari, the famous Israeli historian, paints a different picture than what Netanyahu sees. He believes that Hamas’s political goals are “quite clear” and some of them have already been achieved, while in Israel they are “vague to non-existent.”

He said in an article in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper: “Who wins the war between Israel and Hamas?….” In war, the winner is not necessarily the one who kills more people, takes more prisoners, destroys more homes, or occupies more territory. The winner is the one who achieves his political goals.

In an important vision of the day after the war in Gaza, the Israeli writer confirms that Hamas is close to defeating Israel, and he clearly said, “Without a political horizon, Hamas will defeat us.”
“Hamas is the side that achieves its political goals.”

He added, “We are capable of winning all the battles, but we will lose the war… Hamas’s goals are completely clear. In the near term, Hamas’ goal on October 7 was to sabotage the agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia… which Hamas achieved.”

He added, “When it comes to preventing an Israeli-Saudi agreement and destroying any chance for future peace and normalization between Jews and Arabs, Hamas is very close to victory. Hamas has already achieved much more than it had hoped for.”

He points to “hatred… in the minds of hundreds of millions of people around the world (against Israel)… Anti-Semitism is on the rise, while Israel’s international standing is at an unprecedented low level, even in the Western democracies that have been our friend for years.” Every additional day that Palestinians are killed or starving in Gaza, Hamas takes another step forward toward victory.

Harari says, “The war on Gaza… will lead to future generations not concluding any peace or normalization agreement between Israel and the Arab world… Filming and documenting the atrocities in Gaza will cause the greatest possible harm to Israel.”

He asserts that “Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is waging this war without specifying political goals… Even if Israel succeeds in disarming Hamas, this is a military achievement and not a political goal. Does Israel have an organized plan that explains how defeating Hamas will lead to saving an agreement with Saudi Arabia, or a settlement? A permanent settlement in Gaza, restoring our international standing, or any other political goal we long for? Without such a plan, it is impossible to make military decisions such as attacking Rafah or a ceasefire.”

Harari concludes by saying, “If Israel succeeds in disarming Hamas at the military level, it still remains without a political horizon. This means that Hamas has defeated us.”

Peace or armed resistance

On the Palestinian side, One of the next day’s scenarios is the continued debate over which of the two paths is more beneficial for the Palestinian issue: the path of peace or the path of armed resistance. The process of answering the complex question will remain with us for a long time: What is the true outcome of this round of conflict, and whether the results of the Al-Aqsa flood were worth the price paid by the Palestinian people, rather by Hamas, Jihad, and the resistance movements.

We are witnessing from now that it has sparked widespread controversy, as some are steadfast in denying that it has achieved any strategic achievement in the struggle for Palestinian liberation. On the other hand, supporters of the resistance insist that it has proven, on the contrary, that it has stirred stagnant waters since the signing of the Oslo Accords, and has even frozen many of the agreement’s understandings, embarrassing the Palestinian Authority, which now had to look for the next day, not only in Gaza, but also in Ramallah.

What is this tragedy does not succeed in reuniting the Palestinians and arrive at a road map for the future and working mechanisms to achieve the dream of an independent state, with more division likely instead. If the Palestinians are disappointed by the improvement of their situation, the situation will most likely explode and more radical armed movements will emerge, such as Hamas, Jihad, and Fatah.

Most likely, the Fatah camp and the Authority will from now on be subject to sharp divisions and conflict on the day following the removal of Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. There are many who support him and want him to leave voluntarily, otherwise he will face the fate of Yasser Arafat.

Before another generation is lost

There is no doubt that the day after the war in the Holy Land is controversial, and Mara Rodman, former deputy US envoy to the Middle East, argues that peace between the Palestinians and Israelis is important, not only for them but for the region and the world, and that recent events have confirmed the importance of the two-state option, and demonstrate the catastrophe of extremism and the impossibility of imposing a unilateral solution, by saying, “And if the world needs an argument… A convincing justification for the disastrous slogan “from the river to the sea” in the reality of a single state, whether it is an extremist version of Palestine or Israel. We are now witnessing how the facts unfold on the ground”.

Rodman presents her vision for the solution in an article in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper entitled “The Next Day” in Gaza now before another generation is lost. The solution is in 5 steps: First, Saudi Arabia must activate its role in the peace processes as a gateway and guiding framework for the next stages.

Political earthquake will hit the region

And from afar, the Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin presents to us his vision of the day following the war in Gaza, which he summarized in several points in a lecture at Saint Petersburg University. The most important ones are:

1- Israel suffered a resounding defeat on October 7, but it will suffer a defeat that is the harshest in its history after the end of ground operations.

2- If Israel defeats Hamas militarily, it will suffer a political defeat, and if Hamas defeats it militarily, it will be the real beginning of the fall of a state that is more than 75 years old, and it seems that it will not reach the threshold of 80.

3- Hamas’ victory in Gaza will transform it from a mere liberation movement into a political pace setter and a central partner in drawing the political map of the Middle East.

4- If Saudi Arabia, as an important country in the Islamic and Arab world, does not accelerate the political containment of the Hamas movement, this will greatly contribute to severely affecting the royal rule in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

5- The victory of Hamas will have political consequences for the Middle East region greater than the consequences of Khomeini’s revolution in Iran.

6- In Russia, we are closely monitoring the course of the Israeli war in Gaza, and we believe that a major political earthquake will hit the region.

7- The United States will leave its allies in the Middle East to face a bad fate similar to what happened in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

8- The Arab and Islamic countries are exposed to strong internal shocks if the holy month of Ramadan begins for Muslims, while they are watching the children of Gaza being killed by American planes.

9- The American administration and the neoliberal forces of the West were shocked by October and shocked by the attacks of the Houthi group in the Red Sea.

The future in the Holy Land seems uncertain

Most likely, the future in the Holy Land seems uncertain. Palestinians need to see that there is a path to a better tomorrow.

Firstly, this requires the establishment of an interim governance and security structure that will serve as a transitional tool capable of moving things forward towards the establishment of a sustainable Palestinian state. And work to provide water, electricity, and food, and quickly rebuild homes, schools, and hospitals, and secure good job opportunities. West Bank residents also need to see a clear prosecution of Israeli settlers for their abusive behavior.

Secondly, the Arab alliance (Egyptian – Jordanian – Gulf) must be pushed forward, and the Palestinian Authority, in its form, must participate in the front seat until it is able to assume leadership. This coalition would call on the United Nations to rebuild its existing civilian infrastructure, work with others to ensure adequate security to protect the daily lives of Palestinians, and stop new threats that Hamas may pose at home or to Israel.

Thirdly, Israel must be governed by the political center, where the Israeli majority is located. The Israelis expect a comprehensive investigation into the leadership failures that may have contributed to the lack of preparedness for the October 7 attacks. This is likely to lead to the emergence of a new prime minister and a more centrist ruling coalition. During this period, Israelis will need to regain confidence in the state’s ability to guarantee their security.

Fourth and finally, the regional and international community, including Israel, will need to provide significant support to these efforts.

Of course, this sees Washington as one of the first parties capable of helping to reach a solution, and calls on Saudi Arabia for normalization with Israel to help implement the two-state solution.

The endless war in the Holy Land

And it remains. There are high hopes that peace will finally be achieved, but peace seems far away, and nothing awaits us but suffering. This is a logical conclusion for an American administration that is biased and even involved, and sees Israel, as US President Joe Biden recently said, “Israel is the best American investment.” At a time when waves of sympathy from the peoples of the world are increasing for the suffering of the Palestinian people, the inability of the international community to impose a two-state solution or a siege of Israel as a racist, pariah state is a matter of sadness.

On the other hand, the priorities of China and Russia seem closer to their borders, whether it is Taiwan or Ukraine. As for the countries of the region, everyone is immersed in their internal problems, and Israel is divided, becoming more extremist and racist, and day after day, it is moving away and pursuing its illusions of building a Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates. The West in general sees an opportunity to engineer the “Greater Middle East” and divide the Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, and even Türkiye by starting with the Kurdish state, dividing Iran through the Kurds and Baluchis, and annexing Iranian Azerbaijan and annexing it to Azerbaijan.

Aside from the armed conflict in Gaza, one of the most prominent strategic goals of the West and America is related to the implementation of several major economic and strategic projects in the region, such as the project to exploit the natural gas abundantly available in the territorial waters adjacent to the Gaza Strip, which experts estimated in a special program for the Russia Today channel at 360 billion Dollar, the Ben Gurion Canal project, which is intended to harm the Egyptian Suez Canal and cause economic and strategic damage to Egypt, the Indian Corridor project that is opposed to the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative, and other projects that highlight the strength of the international conflict over the eastern Mediterranean region as a whole.

Energy projects, gas pipelines, roads, and alternative channels appear carefully designed to distance and blockade Russia and China, eliminate Türkiye’s attempts to pursue its national interests, and prevent the much-needed rapprochement between Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

Amidst all of this, it is likely that the day after the war in Gaza will witness a return to managing the Palestinian crisis, not resolving the crisis. Most likely, Saudi Arabia will be attracted to the normalization train with the carrot of endless negotiations like Oslo. The Palestinians will find themselves with no hope or path other than armed struggle. At that time, a fiercer wave of fighting and relentless war will erupt. We will come back to talk again about the day after the endless war in the Holy Land.

Mohamed Sabreen
Mohamed Sabreen is Managing Editor of Al-Ahram Newspaper, Cairo. Contributing Editor for Forbes Arabia Magazine, United Arab Emirates, and a member of EUROMED and the Media Task Force. Among the numerous positions he held previously include the Managing Editor of Al Bayan Newspaper (2006- 2007), Media Advisor for the European Union’s Trade Enhancement Program (TEP-A) (2005-2006), Media Coordinator at Al-Riyadh Development Authority, Saudi Arabia (1991-1994), and has been the Contributing Editor for Al-Shark Al-Awsat Newspaper,  Al-Eqtisadiah Newspaper, Sayidaty Magazine, and Al-Majallah Magazine. He is the Permanent Fellow of the World Press Institute and has been a member of the Egyptian Press Syndicate since 1982.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


April 2024