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The Forum’s Response to President Biden’s Plan (Feb. 4, 2024)

The Day After the War Forum was established immediately after the outbreak of the October 7th war. It includes academic researchers with relevant expertise, from Middle East studies, political science, psychology, law, international relations, security and others. Since its establishment, the Forum has engaged in comprehensive research, in order to examine how conflicts ends, and to outline a proper and applicable plan to end the war and ensure the long-term security of the State of Israel. Here is our position regarding President’s Biden’s current plan for the day after the war.

 

While the Prime Minister of Israel promises total victory over Hamas, his lack of action may lead Israel to a bitter loss and to international isolation that would leave it fighting on many fronts without allies. At the same time, the White House is drawing up a plan that could guarantee victory over Hamas (including the return of the hostages), as well as the security of the State of Israel on all its fronts in the near and more distant future. Mr. Netanyahu's continued refusal to engage with President Biden’s plan is particularly surprising given the many similarities between the strategic assumptions at the basis of the American plan and Netanyahu’s long-standing positions. .

 

At the core of the American plan is the urgent need to strengthen the moderate and pro-Western axis in the Middle East that includes, among others, Egypt, Jordan and the Emirates, by strengthening its alliance with Saudi Arabia (a move that also includes Saudi normalization of its relations with Israel), and concomitantly weakening Iran and its jihadist axis, which includes Hamas. Iran and its jihadist allies threaten Israel, as well as stability in the Middle East and the interests of many countries including the USA. There is thus an important convergence of interests that Israel must be a part of. Indeed, moves to join the moderate axis were enthusiastically promoted by Netanyahu not so long ago, starting with the groundbreaking Abraham Accords and ending with the attempt to promote normalization with Saudi Arabia just before October 7. Netanyahu’s efforts are consistent with his long-standing doctrine that Iran is the greatest threat to Israel's security, and with his determination to secure peace with friendly Arab countries.

 

The horrific Hamas attack on October 7 crystalized the opportunity for an overall strategic move that is designed to include not only the weakening of the Iranian axis, strengthening the moderate axis, and making Israel an integral part of it, but much more: many Arab and Muslim countries are now ready to normalize their relations with Israel; the US has increased its military actions against several of Iran’s allies (the Houthis in Yemen, pro-Iranian militias in Iraq); Israel's war with Hamas has brought about severe damage to the Hamas military and civilian capabilities; there is wide recognition that the Palestinian Authority needs to undergo extensive and thorough reforms before it can be a partner to any agreement; and that UNRWA will also need to undergo reforms if it wants to continue playing a role in the Gaza Strip.

 

Had someone had told the Israelis, before October 7th, that the world would offer them normalization with Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, extensive international cooperation in the war against Iran and its allies, political assistance in Israel's confrontation with Hezbollah, and support for and assistance with extensive reforms in the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA aimed at fighting corruption and the de-radicalization of the Palestinian education system, with the aim of securing the emergence of a stable and moderate Palestinian government - they would have rightly considered that person to be delusional. Had someone told them that all this indeed happened and that Netanyahu sabotaged the possibility of this materializing, they would never have believed it.

 

Enthusiastically joining the moves currently being led by the USA will lead to much more than a military victory over Hamas. It will in essence lead to a victory over the idea that the State of Israel can be destroyed. It will enable political and military validation of the existence and right to exist of the State of Israel, and will guarantee the security and prosperity of the State of Israel for many years to come. On the other hand, the continued foot-dragging, and certainly the active attempts by some coalition members to derail the American moves, will lead to the opposite result. Israel will lose international support in its war against Hamas, the moderate axis will be weakened, the Iranian axis will be strengthened (inter alia due to the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran), the Palestinians will become more radicalized, and Israel will be abandoned to the extent that it would have to deal with the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip entirely on its own with hostile forces on all its borders.

 

The Day After the War Forum calls on the Israeli government to fully commit itself to the efforts of President Biden, and calls on the Israeli public to vocally demand that the government does not miss this historic opportunity to ensure the existence of the State of Israel with complete security on all its fronts.



Forum on President Biden's plan 02042024
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