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Israel and the US believe they can determine Gaza's future. This Is Why They're Incorrect


Israel and the US believe they can determine Gaza's future. This Is Why They're Incorrect

Although there are no signs that Israel will stop its constant bombardment of Gaza, the US is already considering what should happen when the carnage stops.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken presented a number of changes for the future of Palestine to reporters last week, including the suggestion that the territory's government be combined with the West Bank.

"Hamas cannot continue to rule Gaza," Blinken declared. Furthermore, it is obvious that Israel cannot rule Gaza; instead, the Palestinian people must play a central role in governing both Gaza and the West Bank.

Days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disregarded Blinken's guidelines, announcing that "IDF forces will remain in control of the Strip" and making it plain that he will not permit the Palestinian Authority to have any influence there. (Netanyahu subsequently stated to Fox News that Israel "does not seek to occupy" Gaza, though it is unclear exactly what Israel means by "occupation" in light of the current circumstances.)

Articles like this one from NBC News, "The gap between the Biden administration and Netanyahu government over Gaza's future is widening," are a result of the back and forth over what will happen in Gaza.

However, one group is conspicuously lacking from these discussions: the Palestinian people. They don't seem to have much to say about what will happen to their land in the future.

Regretfully, nothing about this is novel. For a very long time, Palestinians have been subject to outsiders dictating how and what their land should look like. The League of Nations mandate authorized British rule in Palestine, the 1947 UN partition plan called for the country to be divided in two, and Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine. More recently, Donald Trump's "deal of the century" remade Palestine into an archipelago of factories and townships connected by tunnels so as to prevent Israelis living above from being alarmed by the presence of Palestinians.

With the former killing over 11,000 people in Gaza with weapons provided by the latter's government, which has steadfastly refused to call for a cease-fire and called the few American politicians who have done so "repugnant," Blinken and Netanyahu's plans for Gaza seem especially egregious today. Neither Netanyahu nor his extremist coalition have ever been held accountable for flagrantly breaking international law or defying US policy, both before and after Hamas's October 7 attack.

Apart from their audacity, however, these are ill-considered and probably doomed ideas.

Cynics, for example, could find something incongruous with Blinken's claim that Palestinians ought to participate in their own government, provided that they keep out what is arguably their most well-liked political party. Some may argue that although US policy has been to reject Hamas's rule in Gaza since the George W. Bush administration, Hamas is still in charge of the territory. (Some might even be shocked to learn that Israel hasn't been occupying Gaza all along, like the UN.)

The enormous expense of keeping its soldiers and settlers in Gaza under fire from Palestinian armed resistance was the impetus for Israel's 2005 "withdrawal" from the territory. Given that Palestinian fighters' capabilities have increased dramatically in the interim, if the Israeli military decides to stay inside Gaza for an extended period of time, the price will probably be much higher and bloodier than it was previously.

Israel attempted to absolve itself of its duty as the occupying power for the welfare of Gaza's populace when it withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. It also aimed to remove that population from the demographic ledger that Israeli leaders are so preoccupied with; it's easy math to pretend to be a Jewish democratic state when, in reality, most of the people living under your rule are not Jewish and have no political rights.

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