Sun 25 Feb 2024 11:41 am - Jerusalem Time

Israeli analysis: Netanyahu's plan for the "next day" is not applicable

“The ambiguity of (the plan) stems from a lack of desire to make decisions and an attempt to maneuver between internal political imperatives. The result is general policy lines that express the ideal situation that Israel wants... and Netanyahu wants to manage the conflict, not resolve it.”

Experts and analysts questioned the seriousness of the “the next day” plan proposed by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during the political-security cabinet meeting, last Thursday-Friday night. They also pointed out that the plan is not implementable and aims to satisfy Netanyahu’s partners in the government, especially the extreme right, which are represented by Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.

Netanyahu presented his plan in light of international pressure, especially American, on him to hold deliberations within his government about the future of the Gaza Strip after the war, and at a time when the Biden administration is putting forward a broad regional plan that includes the future of the Strip and the establishment of a Palestinian state, which Netanyahu rejected and described as “external dictates on Israel."

The researcher in Palestinian affairs at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Michael Milstein, in an article published by Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper today, Sunday, noted that Netanyahu’s plan involves “ambiguity stemming from a lack of desire to make decisions and an attempt to maneuver between internal political imperatives. The result is general lines of policy that express the ideal situation that Israel wants, but It lacks details required for an actual translation or an insightful confrontation with the necessities of reality.”

He pointed out that “‘The Day After’ is not as close as the impression prevails in Israeli discourse. Yahya Sinwar is still alive, the fighting in Gaza continues, a large part of Hamas’ military system has held out, and the movement itself maintains general control even in places where the army has operated.” "The goals of the document (Netanyahu's plan) can be achieved only in the event of the collapse of Hamas' rule, and it is not currently possible to talk about when and how this goal will be achieved."

Milstein added, "Most of the problem is found in the second section of the document, which deals with the civil and political aspect, which Israel has been deterred from since before October 7. The great ambiguity exists in the description of ‘local entities with administrative experience and not involved in terrorism’, which are supposed to implement civilian control instead of Israel, as well as in the fact that the Palestinian Authority is not mentioned as a potential partner, nor has it been claimed that it is not so. It seems that this matter would satisfy both the coalition members as well as the international community, which is increasing its pressure on Israel.”

Milstein believed that this ambiguity reinforces the suspicion that “decision makers are seriously considering the possibility of establishing a regime in Gaza based on "Hama’il" clans, which is considered to be the most influential force today in Palestinian society.”

He warned, “Apart from not drawing the bitter lessons of the past, most notably the ‘village ties’ that collapsed about 40 years ago, this concept does not seem to take into account the changes that have occurred in Palestinian society.”  At the forefront is the growth of a middle class and a young generation who face difficulty in viewing the mukhtars and sheikhs as an attractive leadership. This also obligates Israel to deal with dozens of addresses that would turn into armed militias according to the Somali or Libyan model, thus preventing the establishment of a new and stable regime in Gaza.

Milstein stressed that what Netanyahu’s plan describes as “eliminating extremism in the Palestinian establishment” is “a goal that has failed to be achieved in the Middle East, especially the American attempt in Iraq, and Israel is unable to implement this on its own, and is obligated to push the Palestinians for such a step, which requires to one active address. He added that Netanyahu's plan "cannot form the basis of a workable plan of action."

Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Haaretz newspaper, Noa Landau, indicated that the impression from Netanyahu's plan document, which came under the title "The Day After Hamas," is that the "day after" is very similar to the "day before" the war on Gaza. She added, "As is the case with Hamas's rule, the document's goal is essentially to use enthusiastic, meaningless words in order to hide the truth."

She added that Netanyahu's plan is to "return Gaza to an Israeli siege, perhaps even tighter. Netanyahu's plan for a political settlement is that he has no such plan and no plan for the next day. He wants to 'manage the conflict' without ever resolving it."


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Israeli analysis: Netanyahu's plan for the "next day" is not applicable