Appropriate Decisive Decisions 

May 10, 2022 03:45 pm

Amos Gilead and Michael Milstein – opening article in Yedioth Ahronoth 

After a year of Al-Quds Sword battle, Israel stands before a strategic crisis that is no less serious than the last year's one. This battle has showed that many of Israel's problems stem out from the possibility of explosion and that the relative calm enjoyed by some of the parties in the last year is deceptive. Hence, the real problem lies in the Gaza strip, which has been partially enjoying calm since May 2021, as Hamas started for the first time in history an initiated battle in light of the breach of understandings with Israel. Yes, Israel made strategic achievements a year ago; the most important of which is the deactivation of Hamas' offensive tunnels and the prevention of harsh operations; however, Hamas continues to practice terrorism by indirect methods, most prominently, it encourages violence in areas except Gaza; in the West Bank and Al-Quds. 

The other serious dilemma is related to the Arab audience in Israel; it moves this year between two opposing poles: 1) May's disturbances – the sharpest friction between the Jews and Arabs since 1948. Hamas considers this as a strategic achievement that would like to maintain and copy. 2) The integration of the United Arab List in the governmental coalition, which has a greater effect than the past over the capabilities of the Arab community. In May 2022, the Arabs and Jews still stand in front of the carter, while the project of the United Arab List in the only real alternative to a stable coexistence between the Jews and Arabs.

The West Bank was relatively calm in last May, as well as in the current wave of escalation (except Jenin), disappointing Hamas. This presents the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian audience' preference to maintain the fabric of their lives than to combat Israel. However, from a strategic point of view, this calm might seem as a threat because it stems from an economic and geographical mixture between Israel and the West Bank, and from a growing support from the Palestinians to the idea of one country, which constitutes a long-reaching threat to the existence of Israel as a Jewish-democratic state. 

In recent months, Israel has made great efforts to ensure that this spring does not look like its predecessor, during which there are good civilian initiatives towards the Palestinians and a political act towards the Arab world. The current escalation attests to the "glass ceiling" of economic peace, which, even if it succeeds to prevent a third intifada or battle on Gaza, the "personnel operations" that would lead to extreme scenarios, notably a religious war, would ignite a confrontation on several fronts and influence the internal arena in Israel. 
Despite Israel's strategic power, which stems among other things of its close relations with the states of the region, there are "open" problems in its midst that might undermine its national immunity.

It is necessary to develop a structured strategy in the Palestinian and internal arenas of Israel, which, as we said before, have a close relationship between them. Three critical strategic decisions are required in this context: 1) The establishment of a physical separation between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank (the Palestinian Authority should not be a state; 2) Confirmation of a new settlement in the Gaza Strip, the center of which is demanding the stoning of terrorism in the West Bank, along with preparations for a large military step in the future that would seriously harm Hamas' rule; 3) as well as the development of a settlement to be decided for the first time since 1948 accurately, and updating the Arab public with their rights, duties and relationship with the State.