OPINIONS

Fri 10 Nov 2023 10:01 am - Jerusalem Time

What is hidden from the plan to change the map of the region?

Netanyahu's fantasies, when he said that Israel would change the map of the Middle East, were not just an emotional act born of his moment, which is what called global affairs specialists to search for the roots of those words. 

So they stopped at the day when Netanyahu delivered his speech before the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, displaying a map of the Middle East, in which Israel’s borders extended, as he put it, from the river to the sea, swallowing Gaza and the West Bank, without any presence of the Palestinians. When the recent crisis erupted, and the bloody, destructive invasion of Gaza, the features of his plan began to appear.


After October 7, Netanyahu spoke twice, once before the mayors of border settlements, saying that Israel’s response to the Hamas attack would change the map of the Middle East. Then he repeated the same phrases in a speech addressed to the Israeli people, saying: What we will do with our enemies in the coming days will be reflected on generations to come.

Perhaps the most in-depth expert on the hidden dimensions of Netanyahu’s thinking is the American thinker David Hirst, whose research has been numerous, including a study entitled “Israel and the Myth of Self-Defense,” and another titled “A New Intifada for a New Generation,” in which he talked about the inevitable emergence of a new generation of Palestinian youth. Those youth will make their own decisions, away from Hamas and even Fatah, and they are the ones whose eyes were opened at the age of eight years since the death of Yasser Arafat.

Hirst's latest study takes an in-depth look at what Netanyahu now intends to change the map of the Middle East, even though Israeli and American officials had preceded him in doing so on previous occasions, and many continued to view their statements as empty talk.

Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres had previously presented the idea in his book “The New Middle East,” but in a different way. This is what called on Netanyahu, at the annual meeting of AIPAC in Washington 20 years ago, to announce his rejection of Peres’ idea. He said: There is no new Middle East. The Middle East is the same Middle East that we know, and he meant by that to implement his idea aimed at emptying Gaza and the West Bank of their population, and forced them to migrate towards Sinai and Jordan.

Here Hearst asks: What is the larger plan that the Israelis are now revolving around? What are the consequences that will come from it? What risks will it pose to the entire region?

Then he refers to the announcement of Israeli Colonel Richard Hecht to journalists that he will advise the Palestinians in Gaza to cross the Rafah crossing into Sinai. This means pushing the Palestinians against their will toward Egypt. If that had happened, as they imagine, the next episode would have been pushing the Palestinians in the West Bank to immigrate to Jordan.

Hearst adds that US President Biden gave a green light to Israel, but Hearst does not believe that America can push the situation into a dangerous game that will have devastating results.

In his analysis of the Palestinians’ position on these plans, he sees that the Palestinians say that the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in itself is a symbol of our national identity, and that the Israelis must look at themselves in the mirror and think about the value of reconciliation according to the principle of equality with a people living in their land. The two, Palestinians and Israelis, can live together. This will not happen unless they become aware that the Palestinians are here to remain, generation after generation.


In light of all this, the components of Netanyahu’s plan will not achieve for Israel what it aspires to. The Palestinians, like any people whose land is occupied, will not leave their land, even under daily and destructive bombing. Sinai is also closed to any transgression of Egypt's national borders, and what results from what is on the mind of the Israeli government will only lead to igniting a conflict that may extend to an area beyond its circle, in which they imagine that they are the only ones who are moving. And Israel will not be the winner of the agreement with the "Gulf."

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What is hidden from the plan to change the map of the region?