By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
An emerging Western and Israeli political debate concerns supposed projects and solutions for the future of the Gaza Strip (GS) in the event of overthrowing “Hamas’s rule.”
Attempts to Co-opt and Break the Palestinians’ Will:
Discussion revolves around how to co-opt GS; ensure Israel’s security, prevent Hamas and other resistance forces from holding power; accommodate the forced displacement of the people of Gaza, and restore Israel’s deterrence capacity and its artificially positive public image, after the aggression on GS has exposed its brutality and barbarism.
Western discourse is preoccupied with identifying how to bring the Palestinians back under control, rather than liberating them from it. It has automatically focused on prolonging their suffering, ignoring their basic rights and consolidating Israel’s occupation and oppression.
After thirty years of British colonization; 75 years of Israeli occupation; 105 years of oppression, tyranny and suffering, and years of Palestinian resilience, uprisings and revolutions, Western disregard for the natural rights of the Palestinian people has remained. It has not progressed, even towards the partial solutions it previously adopted and that were accepted by the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Arab states, such as the “two-state solution.” Instead, Western powers provided cover for Israel to override this solution and continue its Judaization and settlement programs in Jerusalem and the West Bank (WB). Eventually, this two-state approach collapsed, and the Israelis were on the verge of closing the Palestinian file in collaboration with Western powers and those Arab states willing to normalize relations.
All the proposed solutions were attempts to entice Palestinian and Arab parties to continue along ambiguous paths, offering no genuine or decisive commitments, thus serving the occupier alone. However, this approach unwittingly provided all the elements for an explosion and revolution against the occupation.
The primary message of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the strongest blow received by Israel since its establishment 75 years ago, is that the Palestinian people cannot be ignored or coerced and resistance movements are capable of turning the tables and imposing their equation on the Arab, regional and international levels. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood showed that the theory of Israeli deterrence and security is outdated, normalization paths have failed, and there will be neither security nor stability for settler communities in occupied Palestine at the expense of the rights and lives of the Palestinian people.
GS Management Projects:
The proposed projects for what the Israelis and Western forces call the “post-Hamas” phase, include placing GS under temporary Arab administration from normalized countries approved by the US, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, and supported by US, French, British and German forces. A second proposal is to place GS under a temporary United Nations administration, and a third suggests an internal Palestinian administration of GS prominent figures, supported by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and security forces from Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. It proposes that the forces be led by a Moroccan, as geography would make this more acceptable to the local population. A fourth proposal envisions temporary Israeli rule pending the fulfillment of Israeli conditions, while a leaked Israeli scenario suggested a fifth solution involving forcing GS people into Egypt, preventing their return, considering it a radical solution to the “Gaza problem,” and settling them in Egypt and other countries that can host them. The sixth solution under consideration calls for the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah to take over GS, although as the PA presents itself as a national authority, it would almost certainly refuse to appear in GS as if it had been carried on an Israeli tank. Therefore, most proposals tend towards a transitional period (of two or three years) to arrange the situation in GS under a Palestinian administration that does not involve Hamas; rather it seeks to eliminate Hamas’s influence in ministries, institutions and influential positions.
Rejected and Failed Projects:
All these projects are rejected by Palestinians and should be considered as failed ideas from the outset, lacking solid foundations and a conducive environment for the following reasons.
Firstly, such projects scorn the Palestinian will and do not respect the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own leadership. They seek to impose leadership according to Israeli-US designs and want to remain a guardian over them. This is an arrogant and outdated mentality that reflects delusions of domination, coercion and subjugation that have proven their failure over the past hundred years. The Palestinian people are a conscious, mature people, who have sacrificed so much already. They will continue their struggles and sacrifices until they impose their will.
Secondly, some of these projects talk vaguely about the necessity of giving Palestinians hope, but they neither commit themselves to anything nor seek to bind Israel to anything. In other words, they seek to return the situation to its previous state, keeping the Palestinians under control.
The third reason is that the approach and ideology of Hamas will not be eliminated through military assault. It is an Islamic project for Palestine that mobilizes the Ummah (Muslim nation), not just the Palestinian people, towards the idea of liberation. The popularity of Hamas and its Palestinian, Arab and Islamic roots are broad and deep. All attempts at uprooting the movement including the previous wars against it, only increased Hamas’s strength, and the breadth of its support. The resistance approach has become the one that best expresses the Palestinian conscience, around which more than 80% rally. This war will give Hamas more credibility and facilitate its expansion, at a time when the peace process and its program face failed.
The fourth reason is that the Israeli theory of deterrence is no longer valid, and the Zionist project is facing existential questions related to its security, stability and its ability to play significant roles in the region (such as the role of the policeman). The ferocious and atrocious Israeli revenge and its massacres targeting thousands of children and women, and the destruction of schools, hospitals, mosques and churches, will only fuel the revolution. It will only increase the desire for revenge and the continuation of the liberation project.
The fifth reason is that the battle is still at its peak, and the resistance continues to perform heroically. The people in GS continue to show utmost patience, sacrifice and steadfastness. The Israeli occupation will not be able to impose its will on a steadfast resistant people. Hopefully, it will face significant setbacks, adding to the blow of October 7th. Thus, the Israeli government is now haunted by the fear of failure in its war on GS, because it will mark the reverse countdown of the occupation.
Sixthly, such projects and proposals must be viewed as part of the psychological warfare operations practiced by Israel and its Western allies. They will shatter on the rock of resistance, just like dozens of other failed projects that tried to impose the Western will of the occupation over the decades.
Finally, the Palestinian people, supported by the Ummah, are determined to liberate Palestine. All attempts to co-opt, subdue, or to impose a settlement are destined for the garbage heap of history.
Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 13/11/2023