The “day after” Israel’s war with Hamas, the United States must help ensure that nothing like the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre can ever happen again. Yet even now, Washington is pressuring Israel to replace Hamas in Gaza with the Palestinian Authority. This would be a serious mistake.
First, no P.A. government would last. Among the Palestinian public, Hamas is far more popular than the Fatah-led P.A. and, even if Hamas is destroyed, a similar radical Islamic group would likely overthrow the P.A. in short order. Indeed, backed by the Iranian regime, Hamas already has succeeded in infiltrating areas nominally controlled by the P.A. in Judea and Samaria.
Moreover, the P.A. is hardly innocent of terrorism. In fact, it actively promotes terrorism through its “pay-to-slay” payments to terrorists and their families, as well as its school system, which is a virtual factory for Jew-hatred and terror. Despite repeated pledges to reform, the P.A. has refused to do so.
Despite all this, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly already offered rule of Gaza to P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas, who apparently accepted.
It is unlikely that Blinken put any specific conditions on a P.A. takeover of Gaza, such as ending pay-to-slay payments, eliminating Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives in the areas under P.A. control, reforming the P.A.’s school system by revising antisemitic teaching materials and firing educators who promote Jew-hatred, or demanding that Abbas tell his people in Arabic that such reforms are necessary and steps will be taken to implement them.
There are no indications in reports of the Blinken-Abbas meeting that Blinken raised any of these issues. It appears that there is no hope on the part of American officials that any of these necessary reforms can be achieved, which in the case of the P.A. may well be true. Yet the Biden administration’s virtue signaling and pious pronouncements continue even though they serve no useful purpose and are, in fact, counterproductive.
The truth is that there is no substantial difference between Hamas and the P.A. Neither has accepted the existence of Israel and it has been reported that Fatah has bragged about its participation in the Oct. 7 atrocities. Oct. 7 terrorists are already being paid off by the P.A. Mohammad Shtayyeh, the P.A. prime minister, reportedly wants to include Hamas in any P.A. government of Gaza.
After 9/11, then-President George W. Bush said that the U.S. would treat terrorists and those who give safe haven to terrorists as equally culpable. He coined the term “Axis of Evil” for such terror-supporting regimes. It is antithetical to U.S. interests to install an anti-American terror-supporting entity in Gaza, whether it is ruled by the P.A. or a hybrid Hamas-P.A. confederation. Instead, it is time for a realistic plan that can secure peace and security for Israel.
Consider, for example, the case of France and Monaco. Under the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918, Monaco was recognized as a sovereign and independent state. However, it was stipulated that France was responsible for the defense of Monaco. France patrols the adjacent sea and the airspace above. The only security forces within Monaco are the police force and the Prince’s Guard. There are no other domestic armed forces. Monaco’s foreign relations are the responsibility of a minister of state, who is a French citizen appointed by the prince from among several senior French civil servants proposed by the French government. This arrangement has been successful for over a century. In fact, it was reinforced in 2017 with the signing of a general security agreement.
The Monaco solution provides for self-government, independence and sovereignty, as well as security for all parties concerned, especially against foreign threats.
Such an arrangement could work in the case of Israel and Gaza, but it cannot work so long as Hamas or the P.A. is considered a legitimate participant. Neither is interested in living side by side in peace with Israel, which is the prerequisite for any political solution. The only solution, then, is to find an alternative to Hamas and the P.A. Responsible parties on the Palestinian side must be identified and invited to join the political process.
To accomplish this, however, Israel must first win the war. Hamas must be destroyed and Gaza must be completely demilitarized. Security protocols must be put in place that prevent rearming, rebuilding tunnels or any other terrorist activity.
Until this is achieved, there should be no equivocation or ambiguity about American support for Israel. May Israel succeed in its sacred mission and may the valiant soldiers of the IDF and the hostages return home safely.