The road back from hell is an opinion

How bad can Israel go into war? – The fate of the israel-israel conflagration in the northern hemisphere

In the long term, the Israeli government’s commitment to destroying Hamas risks becoming another unobtainable holy grail. It was clear October 7 that Israel cannot provide security for citizens by controlling millions of Palestinians who are denied their rights and freedoms. The “no cease-fire” crowd must desist from encouraging Israel to hang on to the historically discredited fiction that armed resistance rooted in an oppressed people can be eliminated by the deployment of even more ferocious military methods.

In the north, relatively measured daily exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah could explode into a full-blown conflict any day, engulfing much of Lebanon and Israel. The ramped-up U.S. military deployment in the region may be framed as preventive, but it also signals to Israel’s leaders that it can drag America into this war — a risky addition to calculations, miscalculations and unpredictability all around. The wider regional conflagration is already here. The question is how bad it will get.

The displacement, along with the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, were historical wrongs that had to be righted by force. Hamas viewed peace talks with Israel as a capitulation to their control of occupied Palestinian land and dismissed them as a betrayal.

Israel granted some concessions, agreeing in 2018 to allow $30 million per month in aid from Qatar into Gaza and increasing the number of permits for Gazans to work inside Israel, bringing much needed cash into Gaza’s economy.

Moreover, the alternative offered by the Palestinian Authority, sustained via security cooperation with Israel, has been discredited in the eyes of most Palestinians by the entrenchment and intensification of Israeli occupation, including a more than fourfold increase in illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank since the Oslo process began.

That may sound like a pipe dream. How can Israel be expected to engage with a political body which is part of Hamas? This is what coming to terms with conflict looks like. Security and rights for Palestinians are part of the path to Israeli security. Any future Israeli government that is serious about moving forward should engage with a reformed P.L.O.

The road back from the hell of a zero-sum “us or them” begins with the humanizing of the other. Maybe it’s a road that eventually leads us back to a two-state dispensation. Maybe the partition paradigm is a part of the problem because it encourages separation between Palestinians and Israelis. There are not easy or quick solutions. If our nightmares came in failing to prepare and prevent the horrors of October 7th, then perhaps it’s time to start dreaming about a future of life and hope.

Some factions had signed accords with Israel, meant to pave the way for a two-state solution. The Palestinian Authority, envisioned as a Palestinian government in waiting, had limited authority over parts of the West Bank and remained officially committed to negotiating an end to the conflict.

During the war surrounding the foundation of the Jews’ state, more than one million Palestinians fled their homes in what is now Israel.

Hamas, too, bolstered the idea that it was prioritizing governing over battle. Twice, the group stayed away from fighting with Israel because of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas’s political leaders were trying through mediators in Qatar to increase the aid going into Gaza and the number of laborers going out to work in Israel, according to diplomats involved in the discussions.

When Mr. Sinwar became the overall head of Hamas in Gaza in 2017, he sometimes projected an interest in accommodation with Israel. He spoke to a journalist from Italy working for an Israeli newspaper and appealed for a cease-fire to help the people of Gaza.

“I am not saying I won’t fight anymore,” he said. “I am saying that I don’t want war anymore. I want the siege to end. You walk to the beach at sunset and you see all these teenagers on the shore chatting and wondering what the world looks like across the sea. What life looks like,” he added. I would like them to be free.

Two-State Solution of the Palestinian Problem and Israel’s Right to Exist, as Declared by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Blinken

Hamas also issued a political program in 2017 that allowed for the possibility of a two-state solution, while still not recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

The Israelis were only concerned with how to get rid of the Palestinian cause. Mr. Hamdan said. They were on their way, but not even thinking about the Palestinians. All of that could have taken place, if the Palestinians did not resist.

According to people familiar with the assessments, the National Security Council and military intelligence thought that Hamas wanted to avoid another war in 2021, which is when it happened.

Many in the security establishment in Israel believed that its border defenses could keep Hamas contained and shoot down rockets.

According to American and other Western analysts, Hamas had as many as 40,000 fighters, with 15,000 rockets made in Gaza and most likely smuggled in through Egypt. The group had mortars, anti-tank missiles and portable air-defense systems as well, they said.

Iran had severed its relationship with the group when it shut down its office in Syria due to the Syrian civil war.

“These must include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza,” he said. It must include the Palestinian-led governance of Gaza and the West Bank.

Mr. Biden wields key leverage as a world leader strongly allied with Israel, and his administration has sought to rally Arab nations and others behind a vision that looks beyond the fighting and the deep emotions that have divided the region for years.

The remarks by Mr. Blinken on Wednesday reflect a deep anxiety on the part of Mr. Biden and his aides inside the White House as the conflict enters its second month. The president has been challenged to help define an alternative to the war in the Middle East after a rush to defend an ally.

John F. Kirby is a spokesman for the National Security Council. “And I don’t know that it would be reasonable for us to think that we could, at this particular point, one month into the conflict. It has to be different than what it was under Hamas.

In the immediate hours and days after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7 and killed more than 1,400 people, Mr. Biden fully embraced Israel’s right to respond, a position that White House officials still repeat frequently.

In his comments on Wednesday, Mr. Blinken made no reference to the presence of Israeli forces remaining inside Gaza, home to about 2 million Palestinians.

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