Scaling Down the Investment… Mini-Israel
“There’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on Oct. 6, …when this crisis is over there has to be a vision of what comes next, and, in our view, it has to be a two-state solution.” President Joe Biden.
Eventually, the bloody devastation in Gaza will end. And no matter how it ends, there is no turning back to October 6, and Israel will not be the same as before.
The New York Times recently wrote about the smashing of four assumption about the conflict: 1) the containment of Hamas; 2) Israel’s invincibility and superiority; 3) Peace with the Arab world while ignoring the Palestinians; 4) America ignoring the Middle East. There is a fifth assumption that was smashed, and in our view, it is the most significant one, “Israel is no longer a ‘safe haven for the Jews of the world’”, quite the contrary.
According to the Times of Israel, by October 22, 2023, there were 200,000 internally displaced Israelis. Unofficial reports coming from occupied Palestine speak of half a million. While many reservists rushed back to Israel, many Israelis are rushing in the opposite direction using the Jordanian Queen Alia airport due to western airlines suspending flights to Ben Gurion airport. This sharpens a trend that the Times of Israel also alluded to back in July, when it reported that 28% of Israelis are considering leaving due to the judicial upheaval. What about “Aliyah”, or immigration to Israel? Aliyah had gone down by 20% in the first six months of 2023, also due to infighting over the judicial overhaul. How many of those leaving will return, or will Jews still reconsider moving to Israel after the war? Many Israeli leaders and ordinary citizens have said that if there is no decisive and complete victory over Hizballah and Hamas, the State is finished.
Could Israel win such a decisive victory? Most likely not. It’s attempts, dating back to its hasty withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, including 2006, 2014, 2018, 2019 wars with Hizballah and Hamas have failed.
At the going rate of destruction, Gaza will be uninhabitable for a long time. Where will its 2.2 million inhabitants – minus those killed in the incessant Israeli bombing – go? Israel would like to transfer them to Egypt. Egypt’s response was short and clear, move them to the Negev.
What about the North of Israel? As we write this article, 28 communities have been evacuated from the border area with Lebanon? Should the confined operations widen into a full-scale war, the numbers of evacuees will grow. Will they return without a “decisive victory over Hizballah? permanent and durable peace agreement with Lebanon? Not likely.
The American and western “best ever investment” has not panned out. They have to spend huge amounts of cash to protect Israel and prevent its collapse. Is it worth it? People all over the world are saying NO, while their leaders are scratching their heads in bewilderment.
This brings us back to Biden’s statement about the need for a two-state solution. Barring that illusive total victory over Hizballah and Hamas, Israel will most likely be a mini version of itself, partially declawed, and forcibly living next door to a Palestinian entity the shape of which could not be predicted yet.