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The Regional Security Alliance Plan

The Forum advances the Regional Security Alliance Plan according to which it is in Israel’s top national security interest to join a moderate regional-international coalition and bolster the moderate axis in the Middle East, in order to counter the jihadist axis. This course of action would facilitate the establishment of a regional security alliance — the only way to ensure Israel’s security on all its borders for present and future generations.


What is a regional security alliance?

 

A regional security alliance is a framework of multi-state agreements, designed to formalize relations between the countries and their commitment to supporting each other’s security interests. A regional security alliance enables the mutual safeguarding of a broad geographical area, capitalizing on the relative strengths of each member nation.

In the Middle East, such an alliance can be realized today through the cooperation of all the moderate Middle Eastern states — including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman — with the backing of the United States (and potentially European countries as well). A regional security alliance is an Israeli interest, and is necessary to ensure Israel’s security in all of its territory.

 

Why does Israel need a regional security alliance?

 

Hamas is just one of Israel’s adversaries in a multi-arena conflict. Beyond the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israel faces challenges and threats from numerous other fronts, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and other pro-Iranian militias — in other words, the jihadist axis, spearheaded and supported by Iran. The State of Israel cannot defeat the Iranian-jihadist axis alone — but nor does it have to in today’s reality. This axis also poses a threat to Saudi Arabia and many other countries in the Middle East aligned with the moderate axis, as well as to the interests of the US and other Western nations. Israel’s long-term security in all of its territory will only be achieved if it can harness the interests of the various countries (primarily the US and Saudi Arabia) as part of a regional security alliance comprising the moderate axis states. Together, these nations would robustly confront Iran and its jihadist proxies wherever they operate. Beyond the security and economic aspects of such an alliance, its establishment would represent the rejection of the notion that the State of Israel can be destroyed: this would mark a total victory over Hamas.

 

Analysis of the geopolitical landscape after October 7

 

•      The conflict is between two opposing axes: The Israel-Hamas war is one component of a regional and global conflict. On one side is the Iranian-jihadist axis, which includes Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq, and which is backed by Russia and China. On the other side is the moderate axis, which encompasses the majority of the Middle Eastern nations (including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and the Gulf states) and is supported by most Western countries.

 

•      October 7 as a turning point: Following October 7, a consensus emerged among Western and moderate Middle Eastern countries, recognizing Hamas as a destabilizing force in the region and uniting them in their desire to see the collapse of its rule in Gaza.

 

•      A regional security alliance as a solution: Israel has the opportunity to guarantee its long-term security by aligning itself with the moderate Middle Eastern axis, which would involve, inter alia, normalization with Saudi Arabia. Such an alliance would strengthen the moderate axis, weaken the foothold of the Iranian-jihadist elements in the region — including among the Palestinians — and serve as a deterrent against Hezbollah.

 


 

What can be derived from this analysis?

 

•      The scenario of an Israeli victory in the war against Hamas would entail the following: The release of all the hostages; the return of the residents of the Western Negev and the Upper Galilee to their homes; the validation of the State of Israel as a legitimate member of the Middle East and the Western world with an unquestionable right to exist, and as a pivotal component of a regional security alliance (based on the Abraham Accords countries and others), countering Iran and its jihadist proxies and working towards the rehabilitation and deradicalization of the Gaza Strip; the weakening of the Iranian-jihadist axis; and the unequivocal dismissal of any notion that Israel's existence is negotiable or eradicable.

 

•      The scenario of a Hamas/Iranian victory would be as follows: Israel remains isolated in the confrontation against Iran and its proxies; the war continues, with Israel alone responsible for governing and rehabilitating the Gaza Strip amid escalating tensions in the West Bank; the jihadist axis gains strength due to a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran; and the fantasy of annihilating the State of Israel becomes more potent than ever.

 

 

The connection between a regional security alliance and the Palestinian arena

 

Because the war between Israel and Hamas is but one facet of the broader struggle between the moderate axis and the Iranian-jihadist axis, it is clear that the critical question for the security of the State of Israel is whether, at the end of the war, the Palestinians align with the moderate or the jihadist axis. In pursuit of achieving the Israeli interest in undermining the jihadist axis and bolstering the moderate axis, the Palestinians’ affiliation with the moderate axis must be secured, a goal achievable through two avenues — by shaping the nature of the Palestinian governing mechanisms, and by influencing the Palestinian public.

 

•      Governing mechanisms: The Israeli government must take the lead in discussions on the future of the Palestinians to ensure that governance in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank aligns with the moderate axis. This entails, inter alia, the demands that power be transferred to the Palestinians only once they demonstrate the ability to establish a stable, accountable government that strives for peace; that Hamas and any other party subscribing to the ideology of obliterating the State of Israel are excluded from the Palestinian governing structures; that the Palestinian education system be deradicalized; and that the territories under Palestinian control be demilitarized.

 

•      The Palestinian public: Alongside the significant blow inflicted upon the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the IDF, the Israeli government must offer the Palestinians a clear trajectory towards independence, security, and prosperity. Only through this approach will it be possible to reap the fruits of its military achievements and ensure that it leads to security for Israel. Historical precedents demonstrate that a severe military strike is only effective if accompanied by such a vision. A striking example is the transformation of Germany into one of the safest, wealthiest, and most stable countries in the world after its defeat in World War II; in contrast, post-World War I Germany descended into Nazi rule, precipitating World War II. Similarly, the Allies’ assurances to Japan at the end of World War II that they had no interest in ruling it and that it was guaranteed a future of independence, security and prosperity — subject to comprehensive reforms —led to Japan’s transition from one of the world’s most belligerent and dangerous countries in the decades before the war to a peaceful, affluent, and stable nation after it. 

 

Without action in these two dimensions, and notwithstanding the IDF’s achievements on the ground, the outcome for Israel will be failure. Hamas will continue to find ways to carry out terrorist acts, and to position itself as the true representative of the Palestinians. The moderate axis will be weakened, Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan will be damaged, and normalization with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations will remain elusive. On the contrary, a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran will ensue, and Israel will remain isolated against the entire jihadist axis.

 

Hamas's manifesto explicitly advocates for the destruction of the State of Israel. In this it is similar to other jihadist elements in the region, who not only seek Israel’s demise but also aspire to establish Muslim control of the entire world. A regional security alliance and the integration of the Palestinians into the moderate axis (implying, among other things, the exclusion of Hamas from Palestinian governing bodies) represent a complete victory over Hamas. Conversely, Israeli control of the Gaza Strip would enable Hamas to claim itself as the true representative of the Palestinian people, via acts of terror against Israeli authority. Furthermore, Israeli control over Gaza would strain Israel’s ties with the moderate axis states and in fact weaken the entire moderate axis. This would be the materialization of Hamas’s triumph over Israel. Indeed, many analysts suggest that one of the motivations for the October 7 massacre was Hamas’s desire to thwart any normalization efforts between Israel and Saudi Arabia and undermine the historic achievement of the Abraham Accords, as well as to consolidate its influence within the Palestinian leadership.

 

The war must end with a decisive defeat: a defeat of the idea of annihilating the State of Israel, which serves as the guiding principle of jihadist ideology. There is only one way to achieve this goal — a regional security alliance of the moderates, in the Middle East and among the Palestinians, who will unite as a formidable force against the extremists. A regional security alliance is the key to ensuring Israel’s security in all of its territory for generations to come.

 

What can be derived from this analysis with regards to the Gaza Strip?

 

In the Gaza Strip, too, Israel’s goal is to bring the Gazans into the fold of the moderate axis. To this end, alongside the military operations to dismantle the Hamas regime, it is imperative to ensure that governance of the Gaza Strip transitions to a moderate authority, rather than leaving Hamas in power or letting control fall into the hands of another jihadist organization. Achieving this objective necessitates the war being conducted, already at this point in time, within the framework of a regional-global coalition, with a division of responsibilities between the relevant players. Israel would be entrusted with the military aspect, namely, the dismantling of Hamas rule; The countries of the region would assume responsibility for civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip, including taking control over the areas in which the IDF has concluded its operations, ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches the Gazan civilian population and not Hamas, facilitating the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, deradicalizing Gazan society and its education system, and supporting the establishment of stable, peace-seeking, and corruption-free governing bodies capable of eventually ruling the Gaza Strip. The international coalition would be tasked with ensuring the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 to push Hezbollah north of the Litani River, enacting reforms within the Palestinian Authority, promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as with other Arab and Muslim countries, and facilitating a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

What should the Israeli government do now?

 

Israel should state clearly that it is at war with Hamas and not the Palestinians; that the war’s objective is the safe return of the hostages and the removal of the Hamas regime; and that Israel’s plan is to transfer control of the Gaza Strip to a temporary governing body. Such a clear declaration, made in coordination with the relevant countries (particularly the US and Saudi Arabia) and accompanied by practical steps by the Israeli government, would enable Israel to join a coalition of moderate Western and Middle Eastern nations. This coalition would play a pivotal role in achieving the war’s goals — the return of the hostages and the dismantling of Hamas— and would begin the process of establishing a regional security alliance, which is what will ensure the State of Israel’s long-term security.

 

What would transpire after this coordinated statement?

 

•      In the immediate term:

 

-       Greater international support in realizing the war aims of toppling Hamas and freeing the hostages. The need for this support has become even more crucial in the wake of the deliberations in the International Court of Justice, the UN Security Council’s resolution of March 25, 2024, and escalating global criticism of the Israeli government.

 

-       A resumption of the normalization process with Saudi Arabia and the advancement of similar processes with other Arab and Muslim countries.

 

-       The implementation of measures by the temporary governing body in the areas where the IDF has concluded its operations. This is critical to translating the IDF’s military achievements into tangible outcomes; it will ensure the replacement of Hamas by a stable and moderate Palestinian administration, and mitigate the risk of another terrorist organization taking Hamas’s place. Furthermore, this step would send a clear message to the people of Gaza: Hamas is not returning. While there is opposition to Hamas among the Gazan population, there has also been a rise in the proportion of Gazans who believe that Hamas will remain in power. Only when Gazans are assured that Hamas is not coming back will opposition increase, leading to direct confrontations with Hamas forces (as is already happening). Residents will have the motivation to turn over Hamas members to the IDF, return hostages, or pass on information about their whereabouts.

 

-       The prevention of a further escalation in the north.

 

•      In the medium term:

 

-       In the Gaza Strip, the temporary governing body would focus on deradicalizing the Palestinians, including reform of the education system, and would facilitate the establishment of stable, peace-seeking, and corruption-free governing institutions.

 

-       Concurrently, similar reform processes would be initiated within the Palestinian Authority.

 

-       In the north, UN Resolution 1701 would be implemented, forcing Hezbollah to withdraw to the north of the Litani.

 

•      In the long term:

 

-       The weakening of Iran and its jihadist proxies.

 

-  The cementing of Israel’s place within the moderate axis in the Middle East, which will be consolidated through a regional security alliance.

 

-    The establishment of a stable, responsible Palestinian government committed to peace, and a diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

 

 

What are the advantages of this plan for Israel?

 

•      The regional security alliance plan leverages the interests of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries to realize Israel’s paramount interest — living in security, on all its fronts.

 

•      The success of the plan is not dependent on Hamas’ response.

 

•      A political-diplomatic victory over Hamas, in the form of normalization with Saudi Arabia and the bolstering of the moderate Middle Eastern axis through a regional security alliance.

 

•      Integration into a regional security alliance will realize what has been Israel’s aspiration since its establishment: recognition as a legitimate state whose right to exist on the world stage and in the Middle East is indisputable.

 

•      The plan will encourage the residents of the Gaza Strip to openly oppose Hamas in anticipation of its promised downfall (nascent signs of dissent are visible on the ground, but cannot gain momentum while Hamas is reemerging in the areas that have been cleared by the IDF).

 

•      International legitimacy for the continuation of the war, should Hamas refuse to disarm.

 

•      The war with Hamas will be framed within the broader context of the coalition countries' ongoing battle against jihadist militias in the region, including ISIS, the Houthis, and pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq.

 

•      The disarmament of Hamas at any stage will lead to the achievement of the war’s objectives (the collapse of Hamas rule and the release of the hostages), as well as the eradication of the ideology that underpins the Hamas movement. Hamas, as a movement whose goal is the annihilation of Israel, will cease to exist.

 

•      Initiative and leadership rather than being dragged into responding.

 

 

What are the alternatives — or the potential consequences — if the State of Israel does not pursue this path?

 

•      In the Gaza Strip:

 

-       Hamas rule: For Hamas, maintaining its rule in Gaza would signify a major victory over Israel. While this may enable the return of the hostages, it would severely compromise the security of the State of Israel and its citizens and embolden the jihadist elements in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Middle East in general.

 

-       Israeli rule: If control is not transferred to Hamas or another governing body, the IDF will be forced to maintain its presence as an occupying force in the Gaza Strip. This would lead to prolonged guerilla warfare, which would result in significant casualties and allow Hamas to solidify its image as the protector of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, Israel would have to bear the heavy financial burden of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the civilian administration of a hostile local population. Additionally, the occupation of the Gaza Strip would escalate calls for resistance among all Palestinians; strain Israel’s peaceful relations with its neighbors Egypt and Jordan as well as with the Gulf states; hinder efforts towards normalization with Saudi Arabia; and jeopardize support — vital to Israel’s military, economic, and diplomatic strength — from Western countries, particularly the US.

 

 

•      Vis-à-vis the Palestinians:

 

Without an Israeli initiative, efforts to recognize the State of Palestine by other countries and its acceptance as a member state of the United Nations will progress without Israel having any say in the matter. This lack of influence would also extend to Israel’s capacity to ensure the alignment of the Palestinians to the moderate axis; that is, there would be no demand that Hamas and other proponents of the ideology of destroying the State of Israel be excluded from Palestinian governing structures, that the education system be deradicalized, and that territories controlled by the Palestinians be demilitarized.

 

The debate in Israel over the question of the establishment of a Palestinian state is a distraction. 134 countries have already recognized the State of Palestine. While Palestine has yet to attain full membership status of the United Nations, this is primarily due to the Security Council refraining thus far from recommending such recognition because there has been dialogue on the matter with Israel. However, for as long as the Israeli government persists in its refusal to engage in this dialogue, the Security Council will make decisions regarding Palestinian statehood independently of Israel’s stance. If the Israeli government continues to be passive rather than proactive, it will not be able to ensure that a future Palestinian state is demilitarized, moderate, and stable.

 

 

 

•      Vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia

 

Saudi Arabia’s primary motivation to normalize ties with Israel is to mitigate the Iranian threat (like Israel, Saudi Arabia views Iran as its most significant geopolitical challenge). To this end, Saudi Arabia is pursuing two main avenues: strengthening ties with Iran and China, and bolstering its relationship with the United States. Normalization with Israel is in effect the “price” that the Saudis are required to pay in order to improve their relationship with the US. This price has increased in the wake of the war, due to increased public hostility toward Israel in Saudi Arabia and the broader Arab world.

 

If the normalization process between Saudi Arabia and Israel does not progress in the foreseeable future, two developments are possible, both of which pose significant risks for Israel: A delay in the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the US would likely draw Saudi Arabia closer to Iran, thereby strengthening the Iranian-jihadist axis, which poses a direct threat to Israel. Alternatively, the US may be unwilling to continue jeopardizing its interests in the Middle East, and could opt to enhance its relations with Saudi Arabia — leaving Israel out of the process.

 

Missing the opportunity to participate in the rapprochement process between the United States and Saudi Arabia would be dangerous for Israel in several respects. Firstly, the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia (the wealthiest country in the region) is critical to Israel’s integration into the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia is the key to normalization with other Arab (and Muslim) countries. The acceptance of Israel in the Middle East is vital to Israel’s security, as this would allow it to align with other countries confronting the Iranian-jihadist axis, and also holds economic significance. Secondly, such a missed opportunity could symbolize a rupture in the close relationship between Israel and the US, signaling to Israel’s enemies that it may be standing alone the next time it is attacked — without supply lines of military equipment and ammunition, not to mention the presence of two aircraft carriers. The third danger of Israel being excluded from a US-Saudi negotiation process is that Israel would be deprived of any influence over the agreement, particularly regarding the critical issue of Saudi Arabia potentially becoming a nuclear state.

 

•      On the international level:

 

-       The widespread demonstrations of support for the State of Israel in the days after October 7, both from world leaders and from broad segments of the public in Western countries, have been replaced by harsh criticism from many of these same leaders, and by challenges to Israel’s very right to exist among several populaces. There is an open schism between the American administration and the Israeli government, and delays in the delivery of military aid hint at a potential shift from rhetoric to action by the administration. The US’s failure to cast its veto to block the Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire may be considered as a significant action in this regard. Several Western nations have already indicated their intention to reassess their cooperation and are considering halting military aid to Israel. Moreover, Israel is not participating in processes critical to its security — representatives from six Arab countries met with Secretary of State Blinken to discuss a peace initiative, without Israel’s participation. All the while, calls are increasing for the UN’s recognition of a Palestinian state even without the State of Israel’s consent, and fear is mounting that Israel will be excluded from the process of reconciliation between the US and Saudi Arabia.

 

-       Hence, the tangible danger lies in the continued deterioration of Israel’s relations with the US, European nations, and the moderate axis countries in the Middle East, as it is sidelined in the midst of progress in the strengthening of ties between Saudi Arabia and the US. This would leave Israel unable to play a role in formulating the agreement (for example, with regards to Saudi nuclear aspirations). Normalization with Saudi Arabia would remain elusive, and therefore so would normalization with other Arab and Muslim countries.

 

-       Simultaneously, there looms the threat of the UN Security Council imposing sanctions on Israel for not ending the war following its ceasefire resolution — an obligation that is binding on all UN member states. These sanctions may restrict arms supplies or entail broader economic measures. Furthermore, such action by the UN Security Council would heighten the risk of a ruling against the State of Israel in the International Court of Justice. This will have severe repercussions for Israel's international standing, and potentially even lead to an embargo.

 

 

A temporary governing body

 

Any area of the Gaza Strip from which the IDF has withdrawn would be transferred to the control of a provisional governing entity overseen by an international organization independent of the United Nations. An international organization is a legal framework involving multiple countries (NATO is one such example). This would not be an organization associated or affiliated with the UN or its institutions. It would be established through an international pact between the US and additional countries deemed reliable by Israel. The agreement would delineate the member states’ obligations to the organization (including funding and human resources). While Israel would not be a member state of the organization or partake in the Gaza Strip's governance post-war, security and trade regulations ensuring Israel’s security and the cross-border monitoring of goods and individuals would be enshrined in the agreement and its appendices. Ideally, the Palestinian Authority, as the body representing the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination — and recognized by Israel as such — would be a partner in the agreement, either directly or indirectly. However, there is no legal impediment to establishing this framework even without the involvement of the Palestinian Authority.

 

Outline of the governing body to be established by the international organization

 

1.     An international organization has a distinct identity under international law and is legally empowered to enter into agreements with other countries and organizations.

 

2.     The organization will have an accord with Israel, addressing coordination with Israel regarding security arrangements, the general demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, and regulations on the movement of people and goods.

 

3.     The organization will establish a similar agreement with Egypt.

 

4.     The organization will be tasked with preventing Hamas and other factions opposed to securing a permanent resolution with Israel from operating within the Gaza Strip.

 

5.     The responsibilities of the international organization during the transition period would focus on three objectives: wholescale reconstruction of the Gaza Strip; civil administration and governance; and ensuring the security of both Gaza residents and Israel by sustaining the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, such that there is no possible threat to Israel.

 

6.     Israel will retain the right to self-defense in the event of a threat emerging from the Gaza Strip, should the organization fail to maintain security.

 

7.     The agreement establishing the organization would demarcate the authority of the governing institutions that would administer the Gaza Strip until control is handed over to the Palestinian Authority or another representative Palestinian body.

 

8.     Operational protocols for the governing bodies would adhere to the principles outlined by international humanitarian law regarding territories occupied during conflict, which guarantee public order and protect the rights of residents.

 

9.     The organization will oversee the activities of the international organizations operating in Gaza, including UNWRA, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization, and ensure that they operate in compliance with the organization’s charters. The organization will also oversee all educational institutions, ensuring that teacher training and curricula does not incite against Israel, and instead promotes peace and the safeguarding of human rights.

 

10.  The organization will create the conditions for the gradual transfer of control to the Palestinian Authority or another representative Palestinian body committed to and capable of maintaining stable governance that respects its people’s rights and actively pursues peace.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion: What the government should do now


The October 7 massacre presented a historic opportunity for the State of Israel to guarantee its security in all of its territory, and to solidify its standing on the global and Middle Eastern stage as a legitimate state whose right to exist is not in doubt. The Israeli government still has the option of leveraging the interests of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries to advance the State of Israel’s paramount interest — living in security in all of its territory. This can be achieved by conducting the war against Hamas with the support of a regional coalition and subsequently establishing a regional security alliance. The benefits of such an initiative are manifold. The importance of this approach is becoming increasingly apparent in light of the dismal results of the Israeli government’s refusal, to date, to pursue this course of action.

 

If the Israeli government does not swiftly alter the manner in which it is conducting the war, the movement of the pendulum towards the victory of Hamas and Jihad will only intensify: Israel will remain alone in the confrontation against Iran and its proxies, the jihadist axis will gain strength due to the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the fantasy of annihilating the State of Israel will become more powerful than ever. But the Israeli government can still reverse the direction of the pendulum and achieve an Israeli victory — the release of the hostages, the return of the residents of the Western Negev and the Upper Galilee to their homes, and the validation of the State of Israel as a desirable member of the Middle East and the Western world, with an unquestionable right to exist and as a pivotal component of a regional security alliance opposing Iran and its jihadist proxies and working towards the rehabilitation and deradicalization of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Such a victory would see the Iranian-jihadist axis weakened and the notion that the State of Israel can be destroyed dispelled once and for all.

 

How can you help?

 

We must all fight for Israel’s security now. The responsibility lies with each and every one of us: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if not now, when?

 

•      Become ambassadors of the regional security alliance. Register here for training sessions.

 

•      Talk about the regional security alliance — anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

 

•      Share that two-thirds of the Israeli public believe that normalization with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, and the establishment of a regional security alliance, is the course of action that would contribute most to Israel’s security.

 

•      Upload posts and stories on the topic on social media.

 

•      Encourage people to join our WhatsApp group.

 

•      Invite us to a give a lecture — organize an event and we will join virtually. Fill out this form to get started.

 

•      Share your own ideas with us. We’re eager to hear them! Email us at thedayafterforum@gmail.com.

 

 

The Day after the War Forum

 

Since the onset the war, the Day after the War Forum — comprising academic researchers with relevant expertise from fields including Middle Eastern studies, political science, psychology, law, international relations, and security — has been engaged in comprehensive comparative and academic research to explore how challenging conflicts are resolved and devise a sound and practical plan to end the current conflict. The plan outlined here is based on rigorous research, and is informed by consultations with various parties. Its purpose is to effectively advance the war’s goals and ensure Israel’s long-term security on all fronts.

 

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