Without ‘de-Hamasification’, any Arab-led entity will be hostile to Israel

Palestinian women take part in a protest . (File Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua/IANS)

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Installing the Palestinian Authority in Gaza would inevitably lead to the re-emergence of a terror state and any future autonomous entity in Gaza should meet conditions that ensure it will live in peace with the State of Israel and promote the prosperity of its residents, according to an expert.

Since the beginning of the war, some prominent figures in the US and the Israeli media and former establishment have raised the idea of installing the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the governing body for civilian affairs. However, such a course of action would inevitably result within a few years in the emergence of a new terrorist state hostile to Israel, possibly even under the control of a re-emerged Hamas, Raphael BenLevi writes in The National Interest.

BenLevi is a fellow at the Misgav Institute for Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem, a reserve officer in the IDF intelligence branch, and director of the Churchill Program for National Security of Tikvah-Fund Israel.

If the IDF fights to eradicate Hamas rule and a similar entity rises in its place, this will constitute a historic failure, a fatal blow to Israel’s national resilience, and an existential threat to the future of the country, he wrote.

The most feasible alternative is an autonomous Arab civilian entity in Gaza, with Israel maintaining overall security responsibility for as long as required by the security situation and threat assessment.

In Gaza today lives an entire generation that has been indoctrinated into Hamas’ genocidal ideology, and there exists no organized opposition movement to speak of. As a result, if a new leadership would be established tomorrow based upon local or familial allegiances, it would almost certainly be comprised of Hamas sympathizers, if not supporters, opposed to coexistence with Israel, he said.

Without such a process of “de-Hamasification”, any Arab-led political entity that arises in postwar Gaza will be hostile to Israel and eventually lead to the re-emergence of the terrorist state. Transferring power to the PA would guarantee this outcome. The PA is itself already a political entity hostile to Israel’s existence.

The current model in Judea and Samaria—overall Israeli security responsibility alongside PA civilian rule—is highly unstable, and its future is uncertain even in the near term.

The PA is perceived by the public over which it rules as a deeply corrupt institution and holds dismal levels of support, he said.

According to a June 2023 poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would defeat PA Chair Mahmoud Abbas by a large margin if Palestinian elections were held today.

In the 2006 elections for both Gaza and Judea and Samaria, Hamas won a decisive majority. It is widely recognized that the reason Abbas has not agreed to hold new elections since 2006 is because Hamas would almost certainly win again, he said.

“Even if some Palestinians also feel disillusionment towards Hamas as an organization, a vast majority (71 per cent) support the formation of new terrorist groups such as ‘Lion’s Den’ and the ‘Jenin Battalion’.

“This demonstrates that the goal of murdering Jews and destroying Israel enjoys broad support in much of Palestinian society. The political debate centers around choosing which organization is best suited to attain these goals”, the article said.

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