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By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.

It seems that Israel and its US ally are utilizing political tactics to achieve what they couldn’t through direct force against the resistance in Gaza Strip (GS). They’re attempting to establish a political and media environment that puts pressure on the resistance, treating them as the weaker party that must concede, despite evidence of the Israeli occupation’s suffering after over 130 days of aggression. Negotiations with Hamas, offers and waiting for responses have become necessary for Israel and its allies from major powers.

Unachievable Israeli Objectives:

The stated objectives of Israel encompass the dismantling of Hamas, the release of its captives, the stabilization of the GS envelope, and the imposition of the Zionist vision on Gaza’s future. To achieve these goals, Israel’s strategy primarily relies on the gradual depletion and weakening of the resistance, the depletion of its weaponry over time, and the escalation of civilian suffering and popular discontent through massacres, destruction and deprivation of basic necessities, aiming to coerce acceptance of Israeli terms. Israel capitalizes on a context of Arab states’ abandonment and official siege, bolstered by US support and Western complicity. However, the outstanding performance of the resistance on the ground, coupled with its possession of the captives’ card, sustained popular support, and growing recognition among Israeli political and military leaders, as well as Western allies of the unfeasibility of Israeli objectives, as well as increasing international sympathy with the resistance and the Palestinian people, calls to halt aggression and measures to expose its brutality and criminalize it in international courts… render the Israeli government’s long-term pursuit of the same strategy increasingly challenging and costly.

The current political scramble aims, from the Israeli side, to settle Israel’s security concerns with Hamas and the GS resistance, ensuring a “comfortable” position for continued occupation, the subjugation of Palestinians and the seizure of their land and holy sites.

As for the resistance, it will accept nothing less than a complete cessation of aggression, Israeli forces withdrawing from GS, achieving a prisoner exchange deal that empties Israeli prisons, especially of those holding high-ranking officials, lifting the siege, opening crossings and reconstruction.

However, Netanyahu continues to insist that GS must be disarmed and brought under full security control, while closing off any prospect for a peaceful settlement leading to an independent Palestinian state supported by the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Fatah and Arab states. He stated, “I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over all the territory west of the Jordan [River].” As for the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, he explicitly said, “If the fate of Hamas is not complete dismantlement, we will not be able to live in the State of Israel,” affirming the pursuit to overthrow the movement’s rule in GS.

The current Israeli leadership finds it difficult to backtrack because it realizes, especially Netanyahu, that Operation al-Aqsa Flood has undermined the security theory upon which Israel relies. It has escalated the level of confrontation to an existential threat to Israel, by challenging the idea of a safe haven for the Jewish settlement communities in occupied Palestine. Mere ceasefire and prisoner exchange are insufficient to restore a sense of security and stability within the Israeli society. The end of the war without “securing” the southern front (Gaza envelope) will ultimately lead to Netanyahu’s political downfall, the collapse of the ruling coalition, bolstering the Palestinian resistance axis, and creating a challenging and unwelcoming environment within Israel that could prompt reverse migration, while undermining or weakening normalization pathways and ending Israel’s role as a regional policeman.

Therefore, an Israeli plan, recently circulated and crafted by a group of Israeli businessmen for the future of GS, has not strayed from the spirit of control and domination. It outlines a three-phase arrangement, starting with the establishment of a full Israeli military government in GS, followed by the establishment of an international coalition of Arab countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, that would manage the Strip. The third stage begins after stability is achieved in GS, and the success of the “new” Palestinian Authority in managing the West Bank (WB) and GS according to Israeli standards.

Thus, the Israeli proposal remains within the framework of a top-down, faltering aspirational thinking, unable to see the realities on the ground.

The US-European Proposal:

The US and European proposals are still trapped within the framework of “engineering” the Palestinian reality to suit Israeli interests. Despite the recent rhetoric from Europeans and the US about a two-state solution, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, the protection of civilians and reconstruction, all proposals share two key features:

Firstly, none of these initiatives or statements show any serious commitment to a fully sovereign Palestinian state in WB and GS, or any commitment to exert real pressure leading to Israeli withdrawal from these areas. This approach has only led to disastrous results over the past 30 years.

Secondly, there is a clear desire to assert guardianship over Palestinians, determining who represents or leads them. There is a general tendency to exclude Hamas from Palestinian political leadership or partnership, even if it were to win free and fair elections.

The spokesperson for the US National Security Council, John Kirby, asserted that “whatever the future of post-conflict Gaza looks like, it can’t include Hamas leaders.”

In January 2024, the European Parliament approved a resolution “for a permanent ceasefire and to restart efforts towards a political solution” and reiterating “its unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution,” but the same resolution calls for “the dismantling of the terrorist organisation Hamas.” Additionally, the EU’s diplomatic corps sent a discussion paper to member states in the same month proposing a 10-point plan for achieving a settlement leading to a two-state solution, but it suggested that “Palestinians will need a revitalised political alternative to Hamas”!!

The British government also proposed a five-point plan at the end of January, as reported by the Financial Times, aimed at ending the war. The UK shared this plan with the US, European and Arab governments. This plan proposes to establish a “political horizon” for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the formation of a Palestinian government that would govern WB and GS after the war, but it demands expelling Hamas’s leaders from GS, most notably Yahya Sinwar. At the same time, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron supported Israel’s desire for Hamas not to rule Gaza after the war, emphasizing that Israel has the right to do so!!

Overall, the Western mindset in the political maneuvering game is concerned with securing and perpetuating Israeli occupation and stability, while excluding the resistance line, which is the same mistake it made in 2006 when Hamas won, and it has been repeated through the conditions of the international Quartet.

It’s a mindset that ignores the occupation, the aggression, the massacres and siege. The victim is always required to present “good behavior” cards and appease the occupier and aggressor!! As for Israel, it’s beyond accountability and responsibility; it’s above the law. Despite the logic and international law leaning towards imposing a change in Israeli leadership, prosecuting its leaders as war criminals, disarming Israel due to its occupation and brutality, and punishing and besieging it until it’s forced to withdraw and meet the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people.

The problem with such perceptions is that they fail to learn from the course of history and the laws of the universe and life. They disdain the will of people for freedom, justice and liberation, contradicting natural human rights and international law, and even hundreds of UN resolutions. It’s a mindset that will find itself facing renewed and continuous revolutions that usually only end with liberation and the end of occupation.


In the midst of Israeli arrogance and stubbornness, the maximum offered by Israel in negotiations falls short of the minimum acceptable to the resistance. Consequently, a state of mutual military pressure and standoff persists for now.

In light of this, after all the powerful actions and sacrifices, the resistance has no choice but to continue, mobilizing its strength and effectiveness, and wisely utilizing its sources of power to achieve its goals.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 19/2/2024

The opinions expressed in all the publications and studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of al-Zaytouna Centre.

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