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Time to Face Reality in Gaza

Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2023
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by Walter Samuel
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52 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Walter Samuel

Macro, shallow focus highlighting the the middle-eastern region of Gaza. Surrounding regions of Israel can be seen on this general map of the middle east.

Never Again.

Those words have resonance with the Jewish people. They are also a principle that should guide Israeli policy following last week’s atrocities.

But the promise of “never again” cannot be fulfilled as long as the conditions which gave rise to Hamas in Gaza persist – conditions which were created by an international community that has used the Jewish state as a scapegoat.

The hard truth is any cease-fire which merely reproduces the circumstances which precipitated last week’s atrocity will only lead to more bloodshed.

Hamas’s attack on Israel was carried out with an almost unimaginable level of brutality, including the murder of children in front of their parents. It has produced a wave of disgust that, at least for a time, has led to widespread feelings of solidarity with the Jewish people, and an overdue isolation of the antisemitic left.

History sadly indicates that this solidarity will be temporary. Antisemitism, latent and explicit, will continue, but the driving force will not be either hostility toward Israel or sympathy for the Palestinians.

Rather, the world’s priority will be to keep the Palestinian population in an already uninhabitable Gaza Strip. This priority has been and will continue to be pursued with a disregard for the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. It is a policy promoted by the erstwhile champions of the Palestinian people and a two-state solution that has done more than anything else to cause mass suffering on the former and render the latter impossible. 

We need to be clear. Neither Hamas nor its actions appeared out of nowhere. It is not pandering to left-wing moral relativism to admit that if Hamas emerged from the widespread antisemitism of the Gazan population, and was armed as a tool of Iranian policy, its tyranny over Gaza would not have been possible without the desperation of the population.

It is also not a lie to say that Gaza is an “open air prison” – but left-wing activists miss the significance of that comparison when they speak of an Israeli “occupation.” There is no Israeli occupation of Gaza. Israel has no claims on Gazan land. On the contrary, Israel tried to give Gaza away to Egypt, and most recently an international force. The fact is that no one wants Gaza, not even the Gazans. If Gaza is an “open air prison,” it is because the Palestinians want to leave but cannot.

The cause of conflict in Gaza is not, as anti-Israel voices have screamed, an Israeli desire to drive the Palestinian population out. Rather, it has been the refusal of anyone in the world to allow the Gazans to leave and resettle.

Even now, it is Egypt, not Israel, that is blocking Gazans from leaving a combat zone out of fear they might not return home. While real historic, economic, and religious issues are at stake in the West Bank, the conflict over Gaza could have been solved any point over the past few decades if the foreign donors who have poured billions into propping up Hamas leaders’ lives of luxury in Qatar had been willing to pay to relocate any Gazans who wished to leave.

The reality is that Israel was the only actor keeping Gaza alive. Jerusalem provided electricity and water free of charge, despite the insistence by Hamas and Palestinians that they did not recognize Israel. The so-called “blockade” amounts to Israel and Egypt keeping their border crossings closed. Pro-Palestinian activists argue that Israel seeks to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, yet the actual aggrievement of Gaza’s 2.4 million Palestinians is not that Israel wishes to take their land, but rather that Israel will not let them leave it.

The desire to leave is understandable. Any sane person with aspirations for themselves or their families would wish to leave Gaza. Even in the best of historical and economic circumstances, it would be hard for 2.5 million Palestinians, or any other group of people for that matter, to build lives on that desolate territory with a population density of nearly 17,000 per square mile. A city such as Singapore or Hong Kong can maintain that density with a hinterland, but the premise of any “two-state” solution is that Gaza will not have access to any hinterland.

In a sense, this is one reason why Hamas’s message has been so popular in Gaza, and why pro-Palestinian activists denounce an “Israeli occupation” of Gaza’s straits, despite the absence of any Israeli military presence since 2005 and every settlement having been dismantled by the IDF. The very existence of an Israeli state within its 1967 borders would render the Gaza Strip economically non-viable. In effect, for Gaza to live, Israel must die.

Even without the historical animosity between the populations, Israel could no more be expected to open its border than America could if Mexico faced decades of total state collapse. With the animosity, asking Israel to accept the free movement of more than a million Gazans would be like asking America to accept the free movement of 90 million hostile refugees. It doesn’t matter if the Palestinians have grievances they feel are valid. Precisely because they do, it is to ask Israel to commit an act of suicide.

What does this mean? It means that in the long run there is no plausible two-state solution or any other peace deal involving Gaza. Any hypothetical agreement which allowed Gazans free movement would doom Israel even within its 1967 borders, while any movement which lacked those conditions would leave Gaza economically non-viable and dependent on international and Israeli charity. This situation would rightfully leave Gazans feeling cheated by whatever leaders made such an agreement and ready to embrace groups like Hamas which promised something better.

In the short term, any resolution to this conflict which does not deal with Gaza will only make the suffering worse on all sides. Before the current military campaign, Gaza was already economically non-viable, overpopulated, and dependent on international charity.

Fighting over the last week will have destroyed infrastructure, devastated housing, and killed enough people on both sides to create a new generation of grievances. If Gaza was unlivable before, it will be almost uninhabitable now.

That will be the case even if Hamas is destroyed. The new rulers, whether Israel, the Palestinian Authority, or an international administration, will be unable to solve these problems because they are unsolvable. When they fail, Hamas or a successor organization will reappear, playing on these grievances to create an insurgency, and the cycle will continue.

Over the next month, the world needs to decide whether it will face this reality. Are we willing to step up and build a collective solution, or will we beg Israel to forgo justice to maintain an “open-air prison” that ensures the future suffering of Palestinians and a repeat of the atrocities of last week?

At the moment, the prospects for a lasting solution are poor.

We are already seeing caveats. Even a significant contingent on the left who still claim to support Israel have said that retaliation is justified, but it must be carried out, as Joe Biden termed it, in accordance with “the laws of war.”

The “international laws” which have concerned critics have not been ones regarding civilian or military deaths, but rather Israel’s decision to cease supplying water and power to Gaza. No nation is under an obligation to provide free resources to another, but the European Union and U.N. have nonetheless suggested Israel may have violated international law, as have Turkey and Egypt.

Egypt has refused to open a humanitarian corridor for refugees, pointing out that Palestinians stated it could drive “more refugees to safe areas, including Europe.” Virtually total panic broke out in the international community when Israel requested that 1.1 million Gazans evacuate in the face of a possible ground offensive.

Israel has also bent over backward to avoid civilian losses. Over 440,000 Palestinians had been reported as displaced as of Friday, but the death toll was under 1,800, including Hamas combatants. Foreign governments worry more about displaced living Palestinians than dead ones. 

The irony is that the actual Gaza situation is the one area of the conflict where there is an obvious way to solve this in a manner acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians. Most Gazans want to leave, and the reason Israel and Egypt guard their borders is to prevent nearly the entire population from pouring out.

In turn, the migration of a large portion of Gaza’s population would aid Israel. The reason the problem persists is that the entire world insists that Israel must keep 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza against their will, and then denounces the Jewish state for creating “an open-air prison.” The European Union funds Hamas, which terrorizes the Palestinians, and when Hamas commits acts of barbarism, their greatest fear is a refugee crisis.

The words “never again” have held a special meaning for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. They resonate even more loudly after last week. If the international community refuses to confront the role they have played and continue to play in perpetuating  violence, then the atrocities we have seen will happen again. And the countries that cowardly asked Israel to sacrifice their children on the altar of international hypocrisy will have the blood of more innocents on their hands.

Walter Samuel is the pseudonym of a prolific international affairs writer and academic. He has worked in Washington as well as in London and Asia, and holds a Doctorate in International History. 

 

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Lieutenant Beale
Lieutenant Beale
6 months ago

Putin can bomb Ukrainian civilians, schools, power plants, water treatment facilities, and hospitals with impunity but Israel cannot defend itself ???
To heII with the U.N.
Hamas is pure evil period.
You cannot coexist with evil.
You cannot compromise with evil
You cannot negotiate with evil
Evil must be destroyed

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
6 months ago

Israel turned Gaza over to the “Palestinians” over 15 years ago! What happened? The people they voted in–Hamas terrorists–either build up their own bank accounts or use the money to buy weapons!
The “government” gets plenty of money but the “people” get a load of excrement. Why would we want these “refugees” to come to the US? Haven’t we learned anything from Ilhan Omar and her fellow Somalis?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
6 months ago

It ain’t a war crime to kill human shields. Protesters have ignored that fact. It’s only a war crime to hold humans as shields for military targets. The ONLY war criminals are Hamas. Under the rules of war, any military installation is a legal target, regardless of whether there are civilians on or near the target. If there are civilians on or near the target, it is the resposibility of the controling authority, in this case Hamas, to evacuate the civilians as best they can. Hamas tries to stop civilian evacuations, because they want to maximize civilian casualties. Again, that’s Hamas’ war crime and ONLY Hamas’ war crime, no matter how many civilians are killed.
Hamas has over 400 km of tunnels under Gaza, but no bomb shelters for civilians. Hamas has supplies for months of siege, but Gaza civilians are already running out of drinking water, fuel and food. In short, Hamas values civilians in Gaza only as casualties and human shields.
Everything Hamas does is a war crime: genocide, killing babies, taking hostages, killing prisoners of war, using human shields and making no provision for the civilians under their control. Nothing Israel does is a war crime.
As a former USAF Officer, I was trained and remember the rules of war. It’s typical that leftists who identify as journalists haven’t bothered to look them up.

phoenix
phoenix
6 months ago

Destroying Gaza and making it unlivable should be the goal. Its a long term project. If Israel wants to be safer (er) Then NO ONE ( not even them) can live there. Then all they have to worry about is The west bank ( which has been quiet. I suppose its populated by normal people?
So.

  1. Bomb every building over three stories. If anything is rebut destroy it forever.
  2. Dig trenches to the sea to bring the ocean to flood the tunnels. Or use fuel/ air bomb, poison gas whatever.
  3. Assume all hostages are dead and have been since the start. Just add them to the list of all the other people Hamas has murdered.
  4. NEVER EVER turn on the water and power again. In fact DESTROY the infrastructure so No one can ever come back.
  5. Forget international opinion etc. Do what needs to be done. So that everyone can be done with this garbage.
Barbara
Barbara
6 months ago

I believe Israel should clean out Hamas from Gaza and destroy their tunnels. The crimes against the Israelites are terrible and I believe they need to protect themselves from this in the future. God bless them!

Ron St .Martin
Ron St .Martin
6 months ago

Hamas and the rest of the radicals kidnap, rape, mutilate children (something they and some Democrats have in common), the would stone and mutilate LBTQ++++++. Yet all across the U.S., college students and LBTQ+++++ers are protesting in favor of these despicable human beings. Killing babies and anyone who disagrees with them, hey they sound like demoncrats!

Russ
Russ
6 months ago

The only way for Israel to be safe is to kill all of Hamas. Every last one. These animals cannot be reasoned with, appeased or deterred. They must be killed and Hezbollah. Iran and anyone else wishing Israel ill must see that attacking Israel will result in their own death. I hope Netanyahu stays strong despite Biden making him pause the Gaza operation.

anna hubert
anna hubert
6 months ago

Time to face reality was decades ago when palestinians rejected a statehood every time it was put before them Any agreements or talks with them are waste of time

JudyG46
JudyG46
6 months ago

If other Arab countries and Arabic people are so concerned about the Palestinians (or Philistines of the OT), then they should give the Palestinians homes in another Arab country. End of war, end of conflicts period.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
6 months ago

What a coincidence that the same hospital getting all the press during its evacuationn gets hit “accidentally” by a HAMAS misfire; I think it was intentional. Most of the major networks and newspapers took HAMAS word that it was Israel that did it resulting in violent protests worldwide and cancellation of Biden’s Jordanian summit. Saudi Arabia also put peace talks on hold as well. How eager they are to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon. They can’t wait to show the “innocent bodies”!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
6 months ago

Were in a 2 front War
Hamas & Islamic Jihad work together
All against Israel

Melinda
Melinda
6 months ago

I know little about foreign policy, but whatever it is, it’s not working. The UN is useless, each country trying to gain advantage, money and power. This upheaval may go on for more centuries, no one wants blame or credit for what evil men do.

James Carlyle
James Carlyle
6 months ago

Great article & insight.

Adler Pfingsten
Adler Pfingsten
6 months ago

There is a place for every Arab in Gaza and the West Bank but first one must accept the time for negotiating with a fictional people has passed. It is time to relocate Arabs from Gaza and the West Bank; a two state solution as God would have it. Talk of integrating Palestinians into Israel is as foolish as giving Islamists Gaza in the first place. 
There is a common sense solution to the “Palestinian” issue; when one calculates the length of the coastline going north from Lebanon including the Tartus/Latakia Governorates of Syria combined with the Hatay (appendix) Province of Turkey it constitutes a strip of land on the Mediterranean that equals Israel’s shoreline. The Tartus Governorate is 731 sq. mi. / the Latakia Governorate is 887 sq. mi. / the Hatay Province is 2133 sq. mi. for a total of 3751 sq. mi. far exceeding the 1450 sq. mi. of arable land in Israel…enough shoreline to create an Arab Riviera and enough land to absorb the every Palestinian and Muslim in Europe wise enough to recognize mathematics incapable of deceit i.e. the Convergence Matrix.
Hatay Province is a dirty little secret kept quiet and away from outside eyes; Hatay was annexed in 1939 within a year of the death of Turkey’s founder Ataturk who recognized it as a Syrian province and since then has remained an unresolved issue…until now.
Land for peace has been a mantra for decades as have the two state and one state “solutions” and all have failed miserably. It is both reasonable and logical a just God of Sinai would impose upon Islam the definition of justice they themselves imposed upon Israel. The land for peace solution requires detaching the festering appendix that is Hatay Province from Turkey to be joined with Tartus and Latakia to create a federal district much like the District of Columbia; the capitol of the nation of Ishmael which would form around it; an Arab Mediterranean Riviera.   
It would be very easy to evacuate Gaza by ship for the short 340 mile trip to Hatay Province. Once there the pretense of an identifiable “Palestinian” people can be dropped and they can start to build a Mediterranean Riviera that was originally envisioned by the fools who ceded Gaza. 

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
6 months ago

Islamic nations rely on Hamas and those referring to themselves as Palestinians along with other Islamic terrorist organizations to be their militant arm to attack non-Muslims worldwide. The core problem is Islam, a socio-political organization posing as a religion.

Jack
Jack
6 months ago

The UN is the problem, not the solution. That has certainly been demonstrated. So weary of world-class politicians virtue signaling ‘peace’ but doing everything possible to destroy any semblance of it. Politicians are the same worldwide: all hat, no horse. EXCEPT for starting and financing wars. They all do that extremely well. There’ll be no peace in the middle east. Every effort has been and will continue to be an exercise in futility. Plan accordingly.

John Thomson
John Thomson
6 months ago

To start there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. They are a bunch of ungrateful Arabs that wandered it to leach off of Israeli prosperity. There is no such thing as a peaceful Muslim. They only act nice when it suits them. Otherwise their stated goal throughout the history is to terrorize any and all who disagree with their beliefs. Their hatred is especially focused on the Jew- all Jews. It’s their teaching, training and entire belief system. To ever trust a Muslim is to invite eventual suicide. History does not lie! And the sweet little Gazan majority supports the Islamic terrorist organization. Israel must destroy this enemy. Not stop and negotiate but destroy. Islam only negotiates when they are weak. Read their teachings!

Rick Allen
Rick Allen
6 months ago

This is very well written, Until now I had no idea that Israel offered Gaza to Egypt, for free, and they turned it down. I, too, believe there is no solution to this problem so a new problem must exist, and I believe that should be an elimination of Gaza all together

EDWARD
EDWARD
6 months ago

“EXTERMINATE ALL TERRORISTS!!!!” “EVERY WHERE!!!!” “NOW!!!!” U S ARMY VETERAN , AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER & COLLEGE GRADUATE!

Craig
Craig
6 months ago

I was going to say that your example of Mexicans facing state collapse asking America for sanctuary would only really work as an analogy for Palestinians asking Israel for help if America had first stolen a significant portion of Mexico away from the Mexicans without all that much justification, and then I remembered we did, in the 1840s!

David
David
6 months ago

Since 1948 no Arab state has admitted a single refugee while Israel took in 800,000 Jews expelled by several Arab countries, like Aden and Yemen. Since then the Palestinians have been used a political pawns. Hate has been bred into them for generations and their only goal is the destruction of Israel. The Middle East conflict is the easiest to explain and the hardest to solve. The explanation is simple: One side wants the other side dead. The only way it can be solved is when the Arabs stop wanting to kill every Jew. How that can be done is the hard part.

iRAN
iRAN
6 months ago

Sounds like Hamas wants ‘liebensraum” for the Gazans, once again at Jews’ expense. No thanks. Never again.

S. H. Kogan
S. H. Kogan
6 months ago

Here is reality. Gaza is always was a hotbed of Muslim Brotherhood radical Islamist ideology. A population of over 2 million, that didn’t support that violent most extreme version of Islam, wouldn’t accept the conditions of life that Hamas has provided for them. Nor would they accept the constant reprisals that Israel heaps on them from Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israelis. Nor would they accept the stealing of the money given to help aid them from international sources.
The reason why the Egyptians and the Jordanians or any other Arab Sunni State refuse to take them in and integrate them into their societies are they all know that the population of Gaza is Hamas. They cheered the savage butchery of Israeli Jews two weeks ago. They know these people are a danger not only to their governments but to their people.
no amount of money at this point will change who they are. Only after the total annihilation of Hamas and PIJ and the other extremist terrorist organizations can the Arab world begin to address the problem of Gaza. It’s an Arab problem and they must confront that problem. The residents of Gaza are Sunnis. A coalition of Sunni Arab States must first go into Gaza and take political control. They must give their full backing to a Gaza leader, like Mohammad Dalon, who isn’t a Muslim Brotherhood member or supporter. Only after they stabilize Gaza and they remove and wipe out all control of the Muslim Brotherhood, and it’s philosophy from the civilian population Gaza can the world begin to provide aid to the people of Gaza.

BruceM
BruceM
6 months ago

From Newsweek:
“From a statement posted on social media, the BLM Grassroots chapter responded to the ongoing fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) saying, “As the world is faced with deep questions about self-determination, as well all desire and pray for a world of peace, we must stand unwaveringly on the side of the oppressed. When a people have been subject to decades of apartheid and unimaginable violence, their resistance must not be condemned, but understood as a desperate act of self-defense.”
‘Unimaginable Violence’? From whom?
‘Self-Determination’? Haven’t the Palestinians in Gaza been independent since Gaza was turned over to them in 2005, electing their own leadership devoid of any Israeli influence?
‘apartheid’? This is defined as forced segregation under the laws of those forcing segregation. Are the Palestinians forced to live under Israeli law? No, they can live as they wish to live. But historically when they entered Israel for purposes of violence and ejection, the Israelis did what any nation state would do….defend themselves. And this is apartheid?

Rabi
Rabi
6 months ago

Pray for Israel, to massacre innocent people is pure evil.

Paul A. Barnes
Paul A. Barnes
6 months ago

The reality is that Israel needs to take over the whole area. Those who want to stay can, other can go wherever will take them. Dispose of Hamas and give decent Palestinian people a place where they can raise their kids without terrorists, evil dictators and all they have put up with all these years. Israel already gives them power and water. Now why not give them peace?

Casey C Matt
Casey C Matt
6 months ago

I have always found it strange that in disputes there are at least two sides to every story, but only one if “Gods chosen” are involved.
For purely personal reasons I want no huge losses of Israeli lives. I cannot tolerate an increase in the volume of the ever present Jewish Whine.
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