Thu 20 Jun 2024 6:06 pm - Jerusalem Time

Washington Post: America and Israel must agree to stop the war in Gaza... demilitarize it forever, with an Egyptian role

The Washington Post published an article by former American negotiator Dennis Ross and David Makovsky, a former employee of the US State Department and currently a professor at Johns Hopkins University, in which they said that Israel and the United States must agree to end the Gaza war, which must remain a demilitarized zone forever.

They said that the shock of the October 7 attacks is still fresh in the minds of Israelis, especially since the prisoners are still in Gaza, which is a reminder of what happened that day.

Biden has focused on a deal that leads to the release of prisoners and the end of the Gaza war. As for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he says that the war will not end unless Hamas is defeated militarily, the end of its rule in Gaza, and the liberation of its prisoners.

The writers say that the American and Israeli sides share the main goal, but neither of them provided a clear vision about when and how the war will end.

 From the beginning, Netanyahu has been talking about “complete victory,” which is in fact a slogan, not a goal. The slogan gives Netanyahu room to maneuver. However, his ultimate goal is broader than Biden’s vision, which is the inability of Hamas to carry out widespread attacks against Israel. If Netanyahu's definition is broad, Biden's definition is very narrow, and opens the way for the possibility of Hamas returning and reorganizing itself again.

They believe that there is a way for America and Israel to agree on a common vision, which is to disarm Gaza and ensure that it does not obtain weapons. They believe that Israel is close to dismantling Hamas militarily.

When Israel completes the destruction of what remains of “Hamas” brigades in Rafah and central Gaza, and loses any military force, and will no longer have command or control, then Israel must, in order to complete the disarmament process, destroy “Hamas” and its infrastructure, weapons laboratories and facilities. production and weapons stores, so that it cannot rebuild itself and obtain supplies.

They added that these are measurable goals, and because the Israelis are close to defeating “Hamas” militarily, the Biden administration must search for an agreement with the Israeli government regarding the extent to which Israel must go in order to destroy “Hamas” militarily. In return; The Israelis must ask the Biden administration to provide a detailed vision about the guarantees that America and the countries allied with it will provide to cut off sources of funding, materials and weapons for the Hamas movement, so that it will never be able to rise again.

They called for securing the border with Egypt to prevent smuggling above and below ground.

Despite all Israel's attempts to restrict what enters Gaza, Hamas succeeded in smuggling everything it wanted to build a 300-mile tunnel network and establish a military industrial base capable of producing weapons.

Hence, a US-Egyptian agreement on managing these borders is necessary. The United States could provide sensors to detect or prevent tunnels from being used or rebuilt.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi must know that closing the smuggling crossings is a test for American-Egyptian relations.

The Biden administration may have provided important financial support to Egypt in order to prevent smuggling and give Egyptian contractors a leadership role in rebuilding Gaza.

They say that stopping smuggling is very important, but if there is no reliable team on the ground for reconstruction, Hamas will be able to divert the imported materials legally and use them for its own purposes. We must be clear; The efforts that were agreed upon to stop the diversion of materials and aid, and were supervised by the United Nations, failed after the 2014 war, and the United States must do something better, which is to demand the establishment of a mechanism to follow the materials from the point of their entry to their storage and use. Any loss of materials means stopping reconstruction operations.

For the next day, the Biden administration must plan an international task force in which the UAE, Egypt, and other countries participate, in order to provide security after the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the release of prisoners, and a special task force in which the Palestinians must have a role, provided that these Palestinians are not tainted by the relationship with “Hamas.” “, or any other faction.

It said that Palestinian figures with a reliable record, such as Salam Fayyad or Jihad Al-Wazir, could play this role. They are both products of the IMF system, and they know a lot about development and the reality of Gaza.

Although Israel is close to disarming Hamas, it will not be able to disarm Hamas no matter how long it remains in Gaza.

The question is how the international community will deal with what remains of Hamas. Will it try to impose order, or reach an agreement with it in order to maintain peace, and are there circumstances in which they can accept Israeli intervention when they are unable to contain the threat? They certainly know that Israel will act immediately when it discovers any threat to Israel. Any force willing to contribute to achieving stability in Gaza can answer these questions. It will be sensitive for Arab leaders who do not want to appear as using force against the Palestinians on behalf of Israel.

 The two writers say that they did not raise all the questions related to the post-war period, whether the process led to Palestinian self-rule, and whether the National Authority was reformed. But you don't need to answer all the questions in order to start thinking about the endgame.

If America and Israel agree on the end point of the war, then many other things will be achieved. If they do not agree, worse outcomes await the region.


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Washington Post: America and Israel must agree to stop the war in Gaza... demilitarize it forever, with an Egyptian role