Israel must completely separate war in Gaza from the ‘day after’ plans – opinion

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November 8, 2023 | The Jerusalem Post

Israel will have to deal with Iran and Hezbollah later, while the world is starting to understand, even if slowly, that the Iranian problem is not Israel’s problem alone.

Jacob Nagel | Senior Fellow

Israeli troops are pictured during operations in northern Gaza on November 8, 2023. (DAPHNE LEMELIN/AFP via Getty Images)


The “day after” dilemma in Gaza, as important as it may be, should be currently secondary to the war being waged by land, air, sea, under the ground, and on the international front.

Israel’s leadership must focus on achieving a complete decisive victory, meeting all the war goals, as defined by the cabinet: a complete negation of Hamas’ existence in Gaza, destruction of its military, governmental, and organizational capabilities, and killing of all its leaders (regardless of their geographical location) and those who took part in the planning and execution of the barbaric attack on Israel, and first and foremost the return of all the hostages and bodies to Israel.

An absolute and unequivocal victory is necessary for Israel’s continued existence in the region as a strong, independent, and democratic country, whose enemies are deterred by its capabilities, and for the return of Israel’s southern residents to their homes in complete security. Victory is also important for Jews throughout the world.

When Israel is seen as weak and deterred, antisemitism, and persecution of Jews increases, so the world Jewry preys for a complete and total victory, for Israel but for themselves as well.

Without going into fighting details, Israel’s responsibility and obligation, after the surprise it suffered, is to fundamentally change the rules of the game, making it clear its reaction will not be the same as before, surprising Hamas with the strength of its overall response. The IDF is doing this very well, up to now, and should not be disturbed. Thinking about the “day after” situation and solution should not influence any combat strategy or serve as any brake upon completing the mission.

Iran has a direct and clear responsibility for the attack, including funding, training, arming, and providing guidance. This is part of Iran’s ambition to drag Israel into a multi-front war, to achieve hegemony in the Middle East, and in the future to go nuclear and destroy Israel.

Israel will have to deal with Iran and Hezbollah later, while the world is starting to understand, even if slowly, that the Iranian problem is not Israel’s problem alone.

Principles needed for the ‘day after’ Gaza

The “day after” in Gaza, after Israel will end the war with a complete and decisive victory, will be based upon the following principles:A fundamental change in Israel’s National Security Strategy, especially against terrorist groups. No more the old four pillars of deterrence, early warning, defense, and decisive victory. A clear lesson from what happened is that the core pillars of deterrence and early warning must fundamentally change, along with strengthening the pillars of defense (in all aspects) and decisive victory.

Oslo, the disengagement, and the withdrawal from Gaza were serious mistakes, but in post-war Gaza, there won’t be anyone to talk to, and Israel must not return to controlling the daily lives of millions of civilians in Gaza.

Israel should not be interested now in peace agreements in Gaza, and Gaza should not be a part of any political solution, especially in light of the voices starting to be heard in that direction.

Regardless of who will gain the civil responsibility for Gaza, its status should become “similar to” or less than “Area B” in Judea and Samaria.

Israel will be the sole entity to define and control the security arrangements on the ground, for years to come.

The PA will not be part of any civilian responsibilities in Gaza. Who will it be then? There are many solutions that Israel will discuss in the future, in cooperation with its friends that proved their support during the war, mainly the United States and Europe.

The entire Gaza Strip will be demilitarized (DMZ) and will not contain tunnels, weapons, or the ability to produce weapons or missiles. Everything that enters the Strip will be fully monitored by Israel, and Israeli security forces will be able to enter Gaza at any time and place, in order to ensure the removal of any potential threat.

In addition, a new security zone, several kilometers wide, will be built along the old fence. The new zone will not be defined as a DMZ, but as a “Killing Zone,” with all this implies. In this area, which will be completely cleaned and empty, anything that moves without authorization will be in danger of immediate death.

Until it reaches a stable solution, rooted on these basic principles, Israel will face a long “ongoing campaign,” but it will be on its own terms, without constant fear of escalation, or avoiding necessary actions on the ground, because of such fear.

Part of this plan might sound Utopian, but Israel has no other choice in order to restore deterrence against the “circle of fire” that Iran has built around it, and to restore the public’s faith in the IDF and its commanders.

Brigadier General (Res.) Professor Jacob Nagel is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a professor at the Technion. He served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s national security advisor and as acting head of the National Security Council.

The Jerusalem Post



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