Defense Minister Yoav Galant recently presented a security plan to the Security Cabinet, outlining key principles for the post-military maneuver period in the Gaza Strip.
This plan advocates for a civil government in Gaza led by “Palestinian elements not hostile to Israel,” with representatives chosen from major clans in the region.
Recognizing that all options for a post-Hamas Palestinian government in Gaza are less than ideal, Israel must strategically choose the least damaging option.
While any new Palestinian rule will likely harbor hostility towards Israel, the nation must opt for the rule that is least adversarial.
Drawing parallels with historical attempts in Judea and Samaria, specifically the “village Leagues” established by the Israeli military government after 1977, serves as a cautionary tale.
These leagues, aimed at weakening the PLO, faced internal conflicts, corruption, and ultimately dissolved with a tainted history of cooperation with Israel.
It appears that history is on the verge of repeating itself, highlighting a potential lack of learning from Israel’s experiences in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip since 1967.
Supporting the rule of major clans in the Gaza Strip, backed by the IDF, may lead to corruption during a sensitive period of conflict with Hamas.
The IDF’s role in equipping these clans for self-defense could potentially create security chaos in the region.
Security officials warn of potential conflicts among the clans, fueled by struggles for respect, power, and control of vital resources such as humanitarian aid.
The military strength of Hamas, surpassing that of the clan representatives, raises concerns about their ability to confront and eliminate the clans, cutting off any connection with Israel.
The likelihood of clans choosing to align with Hamas or face physical elimination adds complexity to the situation.
Despite anticipated power struggles in the aftermath of Hamas’ collapse, the overarching hatred towards Israel remains a common denominator, especially considering the significant human toll resulting from the conflict.
Israel’s strategic move should involve aligning with the Biden administration and challenging the push for a “Revitalized PA” to rule the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Netanyahu should convey Israel’s willingness to support PA rule only if comprehensive reforms are implemented, including a cessation of payments to terrorists and their families, discouragement of terrorism, and an end to incitement against Israel through media and education channels.
Initiating dialogue with the U.S. and the PA is crucial.
The Biden administration, keen on PA rule in Gaza, must play a role in training and educating the PA to adopt a less hostile stance towards Israel.
Leveraging Israel’s existing coordination with the PA in military and civilian matters in Judea and Samaria is advantageous.
In conclusion, a “Revitalized PA,” meeting Israeli demands, emerges as the least detrimental option for Israel to exert control over the Gaza Strip.
Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar should articulate this perspective to the prime minister, emphasizing its superiority over the clan rule option, which is prone to collapse or may evolve into an entity supporting Hamas.