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Op-Ed: An angled step forward, maybe — Israel to share oversight of Gaza with Arab states and US?

This idea might work. Do not obstruct it.

Journalists film from atop a damaged building facing the ravaged Al-Salam hospital in Khan Yunis in Gaza in April 2024
Journalists film from atop a damaged building facing the ravaged Al-Salam hospital in Khan Yunis in Gaza in April 2024 - Copyright AFP/File -
Journalists film from atop a damaged building facing the ravaged Al-Salam hospital in Khan Yunis in Gaza in April 2024 - Copyright AFP/File -

This idea has some obvious merits. If Israel shares oversight with other parties, the now totally impossible gap between the Palestinians and Israel can be at least theoretically bridged.  

The proposal is to share the role with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. There are already some issues with the idea, but it makes more practical sense than the previous arrangement. Instead of Israel being the sole arbiter in Gaza, other parties are in the mix and can contribute positively to fixing Gaza’s encyclopedia of issues.

This proposal would also effectively nullify and eliminate the role of Hamas as it was before October 7. That also reduces Iranian influence over the Palestinians and the region in general.

That doesn’t seem to bother the Arab states much. Saudi Arabia in particular has been at loggerheads with Iran for many years. Iran’s sole point of leverage is its “support” for Palestinians, and they’ve been monopolizing the pro-Palestine issue for decades.

…Not that Iran’s support seems to have ever done the Palestinians any good. The October 7 attack was a disaster for Gaza and the Palestinian cause. It was sponsored and carried out by Iranian clients. It’s really a proxy war and it’s been going on for many years. This is just the latest iteration. The attack also effectively ended any movement towards a Palestinian state.

Everyone in the Middle East except Iran knows that. The only way forward is to defuse the direct confrontations and eliminate the disruptive elements. Iran cynically uses the Palestinians as a publicity stunt for its own agenda. Iran’s involvement in Gaza hasn’t delivered even market-rate groceries to the Palestinians, let alone a nation.

The current situation in Gaza is as usual hideous. There is a real need to find a way forward. This option could do that or at least create a framework for doing that.

There is a stumbling block to the proposal. Saudi Arabia insists on steps toward a Palestinian state. This has been standard policy for the Saudis and others for decades.  

That is a major task made much worse by constant conflict for generations.

The Palestinians do NOT have and have never had:

A clear vision of a future Palestinian state

Any sort of solid capital base.

Working infrastructure.

They don’t have the beginnings of an economic model or economy strong enough to support a nation.

This is the net result of 80 years of misery and absolutely no real progress.

They don’t even have clearly defined borders for a Palestinian state. No thought whatsoever has gone into that. The current borders are based on old post-World War 1 colonial borders and have rarely related to population demographics. The British took over the area from the Ottoman Turks at the end of World War 1. As usual, the local populations, Jewish and Arab, didn’t get a word in edgewise.

The problem is that the old colonial borders effectively created the territorial issues. Historically, the most that can be said for territory borders is that the region is in the same place. The demographics were very different.

Modern Israel was created by a revolution, very much against the wishes of the British. The last thing the British wanted was an independent Israel. At one point, they were even turning back Holocaust survivors from Europe from entering “their” colony.

The creation of Israel created a severely polarized situation. Then the Soviets and others decided to “help” the Palestinians and made it much worse. This was in fact a Cold War scenario in which the Palestinians were little more than an excuse.

Nor was a Palestinian state ever much more than rhetoric during the Cold War. No thought whatsoever seems to have gone into actually achieving any such thing.

Arafat’s PLF, one of the few credible Palestinian organizations, was very much ignored in the politicking. If the West Bank is so much less of a disaster area than Gaza, that’s mainly thanks to sanity and deliberation on all sides, not politics.

The territorial issues are extremely complex. For example – Gaza is traditionally Palestinian, going back thousands of years. The Palestinian and Jewish populations cohabited in other regions.

There are no black-and-white situations. The colonial borders never had much to do with populations or their traditions and property rights. It’s like trying to unscramble an egg.  

The new Israel in 1947 was of itself bounded by the old borders. If you ask an Israeli or a Palestinian where their homeland is, all you’ll get is a few derisive and pretty sour references to the colonial borders.  It was always a lousy fit.

The Palestinians were then further displaced multiple times by further wars and all that outside “help” which made their situation much worse over time. Gaza itself was at best a temporary “solution” to a problem that has never been seriously addressed. It was an administrative area at most.

Another problem is that so many people make so much money out of the Palestinian cause. The theory that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” doesn’t deliver much value to the Palestinians. They pay a fortune for groceries, up to three times market prices. Very expensive weapons systems and an endless parade of loudmouth advocates don’t seem to have equated to anything useful for the inhabitants of Gaza or the Palestinians as a whole.

Let’s not leave out the stupidity as a factor preventing Middle East peace and any possibility of a Palestinian state.

The October 7 attack was Israel’s 9/11. It was done in the name of the Palestinians. The 9/11 attack led to 20 years of warfare and untold deaths and destruction. October 7 has led to tens of thousands of Palestinian deaths.  

What kind of fools thought that Israel wouldn’t respond with military force? Did anyone with half a working brain cell seriously believe that there wouldn’t be a massive military response?

I’ve had enough of people squeaking about “sacred causes” and delivering nothing while millions suffer. To hell with the politics and religious pretensions. This idea might work. Do not obstruct it.


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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