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Gaza: The Day After the War

posted on: Mar 26, 2024

Protest for Palestine

By: Bishara A. Bahbah / Arab America Contributing Writer

No one knows what will happen once the vicious genocidal war comes to an end in Gaza.

However, several things must happen before discussing the type of peace that can potentially emerge between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Israel, the new Palestinian government, Hamas, and the international community must agree on these critical issues.

Israel must adhere to the following terms:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out some of these in early November in Tokyo.

  • Israel cannot re-occupy the Gaza Strip.  
  • Israel may not alter the borders of the Gaza Strip nor use any of Gaza’s territory to create a buffer between itself and Gaza.
  • Gaza’s residents must return to whichever part of the Gaza Strip they have been forced to evacuate from.
  • None of Gaza’s population may be expelled to Egypt or any other country.
  • Israel must accept that the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations are at the center of post-war governance in Gaza. This must include Palestinian-led governance, and Gaza unified with the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, under a Palestinian-led government.
  • Israel must accept and facilitate a sustained effort for the reconstruction of Gaza. 
  • “Israelis and Palestinians must live side-by-side in a space of their own with equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity,” Blinken declared.

The Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority must adhere to the following:

  • Mahmoud Abbas must resign and make room for a new Palestinian leadership.
  • Fatah and Abbas have become defunct, riddled with corruption and nepotism. They can no longer be allowed to dominate the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
  • The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) must be revived and open to the admission of new parties. Some factions currently holding membership in the PLO’s executive committee represent only a handful of individuals. 
  • The PLO must lead the Palestinian people in historic Palestine, in refugee camps, and the diaspora.
  • A new creative method must be established to hold elections in historic Palestine and other parts of the world. 
  • Palestine must agree to a two-state solution. Many of us view Israel as a colonial settler state, which it is. However, realities on the ground have been created, and Israeli Jews have become part and parcel of historic Palestine. It is Israel, nonetheless, represented by Benjamin Netanyahu, who has become an international outcast and a certified lunatic who has been rejecting the principle of a two-state solution.

Hamas must accept the following conditions:

  • Once the fighting is over in Gaza, Israel withdraws entirely from the Gaza Strip, and the diplomatic path for a new Palestinian state with strict deadlines is established, Hamas must agree to disband as a military force.
  • Hamas should be allowed to join the PLO and participate in the political decision-making process affecting the fate of the Palestinian people.
  • Any Israeli or international demands to exclude Hamas will be rejected by the Palestinian people.
  • Despite the regrettable civilian victims during Hamas’ October 7th attack on Israel, Hamas has become more favored by the Palestinians as a national liberation movement. Many might disagree with Hamas’ Islamist ideology, but most Palestinians would agree that Hamas should be allowed to become a political entity within the PLO.
  • According to my sources with knowledge of Hamas’ intentions in the post-war era, Hamas indicated that it had no desire to become part of the Palestinian government but did insist on having a role as a political party within the PLO. 

The international community must:

  • Exert all its influence through diplomatic and other means to force Israel to withdraw entirely from Gaza and accept negotiations with Palestinians to pave the road for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, within a strictly defined timetable. No one wants a repeat of the Oslo Accords’ failed experience. The Oslo Accords were supposed to be implemented entirely within five years. Yet, no country had the stomach or the courage to force Israel to meet its obligations under those accords. 
  • The international community, especially Israel, the United States, Germany, France, and the UK, must be significant contributors to a fund that would rebuild the Gaza Strip and pay for the establishment of a Palestinian state. 
  • Proper and adequate compensation should be provided to Palestinians who lost their lives, lands, and homes during the 1948 and 1967 wars. Compensation should be paid to Palestinians whose lands have been expropriated for the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 
  • In cases where lands can be returned to their rightful owners, that should be the first option, along with the proper compensation for the loss of use, pain, and suffering. 
  • Arab Gulf countries should not be made to pay for Israel’s destructive policies in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. The United States and other countries should not exploit these Arab countries. 
  • Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem should be evacuated, and the settlement buildings and facilities should be handed to Palestinians as part of the compensation for losing their homes and lands.
  • Unfettered return of refugees should be allowed to the new Palestinian state. 

These are highlights of what must be carried out by the various parties to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. 

These musts are the least common denominator of Palestinian demands. It is high time that Israel and the international community recognize that Palestinians can no longer be the only nation in the world, and during the 21st century, that is without independence and a country of their own.

About the Author: Dr. Bishara Bahbah is a senior fellow and distinguished columnist at Arab He taught at Harvard University, where he served as the associate director of its Middle East Institute. He is currently president of the Palestinian American Congress and previously a negotiator in the Middle East peace talks.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Arab America.

The reproduction of this article is permissible with proper credit to Arab America and the author.

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