Dr. Mordechai KedarDr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.
What is going to happen in Gaza?
The question worrying everyone who has an interest in Israel's security is how Operation Protective Edge will end and what the near and distant future of Gaza will be. The media are filled with Israeli and foreign speakers who know what should happen to Gaza, each according to his own mindset. In this article we will attempt to evaluate the predictions according to the way Hamas sees things. Let us enumerate some of them:
1.Hamas will need outside help on a massive scale to rebuild its ruins.
The "proof" of this claim is Hamas' turning to the nations of the world for aid in reconstruction. Except that the real truth is that the Hamas leadership does not want to rebuild the ruins, it wants to use them for many years to milk the world for funds. Leaving things the way they are is in Hamas' interests, rebuilding is not. They will bring journalists, politicians, human right activists and ordinary tourists to look, get them to open their hearts and wallets and pour billions into the hands of Hamas. This money is needed to reconstruct their military infrastructure, to dig tunnels leading to Israel, to manufacture arms, rebuild the rocket-manufacturing sites and continue building underground Gaza.
2. Gaza must be demilitarized
Demilitarizing Gaza is a pipe-dream, which a few people in Israel and the world believe can come true, even though demilitarization on such a large scale has never succeeded when there is local resistance to it. There isn't an army in the world that is willing to come to Gaza to battle Hamas, Palestinain Islamic Jihad and other organizations who refuse to give up their weapons. This mission will lead to widescale bloodshed of the force that tries to take away large and varied amount of arms from a terrorist group. And even if some armed force manages to take some of the weapons of a few groups, they will buy new weapons with Qatar funding and from other countries who do not check what the Palestinians did with the money they received before the Operation.
3. Hamas will have to change for the sake of the Gazan civilian population
That, too, is a pipe-dream. Jihadist movements listen only to Allah and the commandment to do Jihad for him, not to the needs of any man woman or child. Allah and Jihad are way above any human needs, and the welfare of Gazans doesn't interest the Jihadists any more than did the lives of the Gazans who were their human shields. On the contrary, the more the people suffer the easier it is to bring the media and politicians to see them and thereby squeeze some more international funds for "humanitarian purposes" – like digging tunnels and acquiring more rockets.
4. Gazans will rebel against Hamas rule
The probability that the people of Gaza will protest against Hamas rule or act against the organization is very low, because Hamas rule is no different from any Islamic State: the terrorists have no problem killing, torturing and humiliating anyone who acts against them or even demonstrates against them. The rule of fear and terror that Hamas has built in Gaza since its 2007 takeover is still going strong and will continue in the future, in the name of Allah and the Palestinian people, of course.
5. Hamas' demand to lift the sea blockade is sensible and justified
There are people in the world, some even in Israel, who think that the people of Gaza have the right to have access to the sea, to import and export merchandise freely, as do most of the nations that border the sea. Hamas also thinks it has this right, but for a totally different reason: the terrorists must get their "irrigation pipes" from Iran, cement from Turkey, and raw materials for manufacturing "humanitarian goods" from North Korea. Those tired souls who believe in removing the siege are acting as if they don't know just why Hamas wants the blockade lifted.
Worst of all, Israel has several organizations, most of them funded by the New Israel Fund, that used legal and public measures to make it easier for Hamas to prepare its military infrastructure. For example:
a. The Organization for Civil Rights published a document entitled: "A Year Since Cast Lead: A Siege Meant to Hurt a Civilian Population and that Prevents Reconstruction".
b. A suit filed was at the Supreme Court in defense of free transfer of goods to Gaza by that same organization and Doctors for Human Rights, The Center for the Defense of the Individual founded by Dr. Lota Zalzberger, Betselem – The Israeli Center for Information on Human Rights in the Territories, The Public Commission against Torture in Israel and The Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.
c. Gisha turned to the Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Miniser of Justice and the Attorney General with a Hebrew document entitled "Lowering the level of transfer of goods to Gaza as political pressure is a form of illegal collective punishment".
d. Doctors for Human Rights-Israel, Adallah, Yesh Din, The Center for the Defense of the Individual, Gisha and The Committee against Torture in Israel drafted and submitted a document for the infamous UN Goldstone Commission.
e. How long will it take for these organizations and others of their type to go back to working on the legal, political and public level in Israel and abroad, trying to "ease the life of the residents of Gaza" by removing the siege on importing "humanitarian goods" for the peaceful army of Hamas? Someone will say that instead of cement, one can allow boards and sheets of hammered metal, so that houses can be built. It is worthwhile remembering that a terror tunnel can be built with a ceiling supported by metal sheets held up by vertical boards. That is how the IDF once built fortifications, and Hamas is capable of doing that in the future.
6. We must bring the PA to Gaza to replace Hamas' rule.
That, perhaps, is the most egregious statement of all. As opposed to the mantra repeated by Oslo Accord supporters, that "Arafat will deal with terror without having to worry about Betselem (see above organizations, ed.) or the Supreme Court", the PA led by Mahmoud Abbas has never had to commit itself to eliminating terror organizations. The PA has labored throughout to "calm" the terror organizations, which used the period to get stronger and better armed. There were those in Israel and the world who knew the truth, who read the books by Ronen Bergman and Kenneth Levine.
Israelis and others deluded themselves and the world into thinking that the PA is on the right path. Meanwhile Hamas won a majority of the seats in the PA legislature in January 2006, and forcibly – and bloodily - gained control of Gaza in June 2007, establishing a terror state there.
Will the PA agree to get Gaza back? Very possibly it will, but not so as to demilitarize Hamas. It will do so to be on the receiving end of the money sent to rebuild Gaza from Europe, America, Qatar, the UN and private donors. What these donors do not know is that the PA's leaders will siphon off, as they have done in the past, a good part of the money for their private bank accounts before they buy one brick for Gaza. There are those who will say that they can be supervised in order to prevent that, as if past supervision ever did any good.
It is possible that if the PA gets to Gaza, the Dayton Force that the US established will battle the Jihadists in the tunnels? Will the PA "Security Forces" discover the tunnels and destroy them? Will they take on the terror organization fighters who refuse to give up their rockets and arms? Will Abbas close the rocket factories? The answer to these questions is as clear and bright as the August noon sun: NO and once again, NO. The opposite will occur: the PA presence in Gaza will make it harder for Israel to act against terror and will add another "mediating" factor which will soon become a terror-masking entity whose actions vis a vis Israel will be chosen with a Hamas gun to its head. Is there someone in Israel who can promise that this is not what will happen?
7. The "secure passage" from Gaza to Judea and Samaria must be opened.
This, too, is an idiotic idea that is meant – either on purpose or through utter naivete – to allow Hamas and the other terrorist organizations to establish Hamastan in Judea and Samaria, a terror state that will be able to look over the entire length and breadth of Israel from Beer Sheva and Dimona in the south to Afula and Beit Shean in the north and including the coastal plain from Ashkelon to Haifa, Tel Aviv and its suburbs.
No airline, Israeli or international, will agree to put its airplanes and passengers in danger during landing and takeoff in Ben Gurion Airport when Jihadists are perched on the hills of Beit Aryeh setting their light weaponry's sights (the ones given to them by Israel) on those airplanes.
Opening the "secure passage" will allow the transferring weapons of war and the practical knowledge needed to manufacture them from Gaza to Judea and Samaria and will allow all the enemies of Israel, whenever they wish, to aim at Tel Aviv, Dimona and Afula - and paralyze Israel's economy. What will those tired souls say then, when Hamas deals with the PA without worrying about Betselem and the High Court? Is there anyone in Israel and the world that can give their word that this scenario won't be played out? Can anyone prevent Hamas from, once again, winning most of the seats in the legislature democratically? And what will the countries of Europe, America or the UN do when Hamas controls Judea and Samaria the way they control Gaza?
Three main conclusions can be reached from the above:
The first is that we must not reach any agreement with Gaza. What can bring quiet to Gaza is only fear based on the sure knowledge that any provocation – and it doesn't matter which organization does that provocation – will be answered with a non-proportionate response. The idea of removing the sea blockade should not even be broached and certainly not the thought of an airport. Israel can continue to sell Gaza food, water, medicines, gasoline and electricity to prevent a humanitarian tragedy there.
The second is that it is important to start moving towards the only solution that can result in security, stability and quiet in Judea and Samaria, and it is establishing seven Emirates for the "hamulot" (family tribes) living in the Arab cities of Ramallah, Jericho, Kalkilya, Tul-Karem, Shechem (Nablus), Jenin and Arab Hevron. Israel must remain in the village areas while offering Israeli citizenship to the residents of those villages. The program is described in full here.
Under no circumstances can Israel allow another Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, as within a short time it will become a Hamastan. Israel and the world must take apart the PA and on its ruins establish the 8 Emirates, which include Gaza - which can stay under Hamas rule, just as long as it is deterred from hostile actions against Israel.
The third is that Israel and the world must understand that in the Middle East one only achieves peace through victory. He who manages to convince his neighbors to leave him alone for their own good can enjoy tranquillity. There are no kisses and hugs in the Middle East, just disputes and struggles, look at what's going on in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and wherever. In the Middle East there is one rule, that phrased by Helene Ensign Maw: Freedom is for those willing to defend it".
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky