Purpose of the Paper:
This paper aims to pave a way for a sustainable solution to the situation in Gaza.
About the Columnist:
This paper is written by an Israel native and an active IDF reserve infantry soldier. Contribution to this paper was made by another Security academician, and an Israeli citizen.
On October 7th hundreds of Hamas terrorists invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip. The attacks had caused over 1,000 casualties, thousands of injured citizens and over 100 men, women and Children were taken hostages.
Currently, Israel has stabilized the situation and has gone on the offensive, mainly using airstrikes against enemy targets, and preparing for ground operation. These efforts stem from a strong internal motivation to dismantle the Hamas, and rescue the 200 plus hostages.
At the same time, Gaza’s situation is dire. Israel has put it under siege, depriving it of water, food electricity and fuel. Several Thousands were killed in the strikes, and more injured. Also, after receiving the notice from Israel, some 400,000 people fled toward Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese terror organization, Hezbollah, has attempted to prevent Israel from going into Gaza. Israel’s reaction was to place large armed forces on its northern border. This deprives Israel from concentrating its full power in the southern arena. Yet, Israel’s counterattack of the Gaza Strip is progressing.
To conclude, the tremendous amount of Israeli casualties and over 230 hostages held by the Hamas organization, result in Israeli determination to dismantle Hamas. This intention is bolstered by high fighting moral and lack of regard for the economic or military fighting consequences. Nonetheless, it seems that there is a deep concern regarding the absence of a plan for the day after completing the military operation in the Gaza Strip. Still, taking a heavy toll on Hamas will likely contribute to Israeli security, by deterring rivals in other fronts.
Analysis of Alternatives:
In the post- counterattack period, Israel’s ranging involvement degrees present 3 alternatives:
Strike & Retreat (Revenge), Deadly Attack on Hamas:
a) As the Hamas organization will understand that it is doomed and would fight till the last bullet, it would cost Israel in many casualties and the killing of the hostages.
b) The maximal destruction and loss of life would put Israel in a dire situation regarding its international support, that might halt the even endanger the operation’s continuation.
c) As we have seen in the past, this is a temporary solution.
a) A cheap alternative, as it will not necessitate the future presence of troops in the Strip.
b) Will harm Hamas rehabilitation, likely leading to years of stability on the Gaza front.
Conquer & Regulate (Control), Full-blown Martial Law Occupation:
a) Upholding martial law will necessitate tens of thousands of soldiers and will need to grow as Gaza’s population grows, will likely result in a significant number of casualties.
b) Would not be looked upon positively by the international community.
a) Promises to ensure the security of the surrounding settlements.
b) Israeli military control over the Gaza strip will limit terrorism and regulate chaos.
c) Israel will burden the management of the hostile Gazan’s, instead of moving forward, toward a more sustainable solution.
Annex & Invest (Partner), Applying Israel Sovereignty & Responsibility Over Gaza:
a) A complex effort that carries risk economically and would cost more than other military options.
b) As it deprives Gaza of the right to self- determination, it risks the continuation of conflict.
a) As the most humanitarian attitude, should receive the most support and funds to recover, internationally and internally from the Gaza inhabitants.
b) Economically beneficial in the long term, as it empowers the immense population into productivity and welfare.
c) Offers more and greater sustainable security advantages.
Alternatives Evaluation and Recommendation:
Applied Decision Analysis (ADA) is utilized to compare the above alternatives and illustrate their relative power. ADA is a method used by political scientists in the research of Foreign Relations Decision- making. It is based on definition of the possible Alternatives (rows) in relation to the relevant dimensions (columns), along with reflecting their relative importance, by attributing weights for each dimension (Mintz & DeRouen, 2010).
Here we suggest that Feasibility is the most important dimension (Weight of 10/10). It is related to a second dimension, Legitimacy, as an educated estimate of the international community reaction to the said course of action (9/10).
Differently, the Israeli internal dimensions, the alternatives’ contribution to the internal interests of Israel, are split into Security impact (8/10), which is deemed more important than the Economic impact (7/10):
Therefore, The Partner alternative is hard (Feasibility=3), but it is the most beneficial and right.
Now we arrive at a new level of decision, as this action path can be regarded by Gaza in two contrasting attitudes, fighting or Cooperation, which would impact Israel’s utility. One should remember that this interaction does not necessarily simulate a ‘Zero- sum game’, so that Israel’s utility can (and should) go hand- in hand with Gaza Utility. To illustrate and simplify it, we will use the following table to rank the utility for Israel in 4 different scenarios (A,B,C,D, higher numbers represent higher utility):
Meaning, Israel is willing to engage only if Gaza will begin to cooperate.
Rational for a Gaza Solution:
The rational for the execution of the Partner alternative is trifold:
First and foremost, there must be a differentiation between Hamas criminals and the uninvolved population. Hamas terrorists will be eliminated in combat or brought to justice, while the others will receive empathy towards their situation along with extensive material care.
Secondly, the execution of any solution, and especially one building upon co-operation between Israelis and Gazans, must be gradual, as Gaza’s situation is terrible and fixing it takes a lot of time, effort, and funds.
Thirdly, this complex alternative requires multiple partnerships: first, building trust between Israeli and Gaza sides. Secondly, regional states’, supplying physical inputs (land, materials, water, electricity etc.). Thirdly, international community economic support (loans and grants).
One cannot escape the urgent need for recalculation of the relations between Israel and Gaza. Israel’s generous move out of Gaza, in 2006, did not prove to improve Gazan’s living conditions. Mostly, these dire economic conditions are due to a terror regime, which sole legitimacy is standing up to Israel. This situation is maintained by a hostile education system, in which future generations are being brainwashed and encouraged to kill Jews.
The result is very bad life to Gazan’s, who try (and have succeeded) to attack Israel, which in return makes their life even worse. It is time to stop this tragic circle. We can think of a brighter future, one in which Gaza gets aid in becoming a booming port city and perhaps even the first station in a (Mediterranean) Sea-to-(Dead) Sea hydro-electric canal.
In the short term, the following steps can be done to actualize this goal:
Formulation of an international coalition.
Countries in the region should be contacted and organized to take action in shaping and applying the economic rehabilitation plan (and also hosting a significant portion of the displaced population). Also crucial is reaching out for embracement of the plan by the international community, by a formal UN conference and an IMF- lead bonds funding.
Announcement of a peace proposal
Hamas will need to lay down its weapons and deliver the Israeli hostages. So, Israel will manage the economic rehabilitation of the Gaza strip. This would include building new settlements and houses, power plants, desalination facilities, various factories, seaport and airport, different schools, hospitals and parks, business quarters and hotels.
Massive humanitarian aid
which is vital, since the people of Gaza needs help right now, so Israel should make sure every basic need is taken care of, but the full scope of Israel’s support would be conditioned on Hamas laying down its weapons.
Fourth Step: New temporary buildings
will need to be built, mostly on the Gaza Strip and also within the territory of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and other countries in the region. Along with which should be built factories- in Gaza and hosting countries, contributing to the local economy.
will be transported via sea and land to temporary dwellings in neighboring countries, in accordance with economic planning.
Mintz, A., & DeRouen Jr, K. (2010). Understanding Foreign Policy Decision making. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.