What Comes After the Gaza War Ends?

Despite the proposal of three post-war Gaza plans the outcome of Israeli-US differences and power struggles will impede the implementation of any plan
Adnan Khan2nd April 202412 min

The plausible genocide taking place in the Gaza Strip has now passed 6 months and the whole world continues to watch as the 21st century’s first genocide is beamed live across the world. As Israel prepares for its long-awaited onslaught of Rafah it would seem the conflict will not be ending anytime soon. This is despite the fact that global public opinion has decisively turned against Israel. US officials have consistently spoken out against Israeli atrocities, whilst simultaneously providing them arms. Despite these developments, what comes after the war ends in Gaza has been taking shape for months and faces a number of challenges, whatever is agreed in the end. 

With respect to the plausible genocide in Gaza currently taking place, US president Joe Biden criticized Israel for not having a day-after plan as the death toll increased and as the IDF destroyed infrastructure, hospitals and residential areas in Gaza. The first post-war plan took a month for the Israeli government to present. The post-war plan was to expel the population of Gaza into Egypt. Netanyahu even contacted Egypt to discuss the subject. The Israeli military began moving for this plan and was working to make Gaza practically uninhabitable by causing mass suffering. This included cutting the people from Gaza off from food, electricity and water, a form of collective punishment that is a war crime under international law.

Israel struggled to get support for this plan. The US refused to offer verbal support for any of the plans. Instead, it has consistently called upon Israel to utilise a different military approach. Biden even spoke to Egyptian president Sisi to ensure Egypt would refuse the idea.[1] The US warned Netanyahu that Israel’s military approach would lead to a strategic defeat for the country, as it would make it lose international support.

While the US has criticised and blocked the Israeli plan, it has consistently laid out what it believes Israel should do instead. It has been pushing Israel to finally accept the two-state solution that has been the US vision for decades. It has been working with the Palestinian Authority to prepare it to take the leadership position in the to be formed, unified Palestinian State, both politically and from a security perspective.

The Netanyahu government rejected this US plan and on numerous occasions Netanyahu and other Israeli officials openly contradicted this US plan. Speaking to Democratic donors in Washington, in December 2023 Biden voiced criticism of Israel’s hardline government: “I think he has to change, and with this government, this government in Israel is making it very difficult for him to move,” Biden also said, Netanyahu’s government is the “…most conservative government in Israel’s history.” Netanyahu responded that he and the US president disagree on what should happen to Gaza after the war. In a statement, the Israeli leader said: “Yes, there is disagreement about ‘the day after Hamas’ and I hope that we will reach agreement here as well.”[2]

The Netanyahu government rejected this US plan and on numerous occasions Netanyahu and other Israeli officials openly contradicted this US plan

Egypt’s Peace Plan

In late December 2023 and early January 2024, it was revealed Egypt was leading negotiations with Hamas and Israel in order to bring an end to the War on Gaza. The Egyptian efforts were in full alignment with the plan of the US. Egypt proposed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad relinquish power in the Gaza Strip in return for a permanent ceasefire. Egypt proposed a multi-stage ceasefire, with an initial temporary ceasefire lasting for a period of one or two weeks. The temporary ceasefire could be renewed. According to Palestinian officials, it was a three-stage ceasefire, during the first 10-day humanitarian truce Hamas would release all women, children and old men held captive. In return, Israel would release an agreed number of Palestinian prisoners in the same categories, stop all fighting, relocate tanks to outside populated territory, and allow delivery of medical and food aid, fuel and cooking gas. Egypt’s proposal also included a post war set up where a government of technocrats which would handle relief aid and reconstruction of Gaza and hold a legislative election. The final phase of the proposal would see an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and allow the displaced to return.

By January 2024 Israel officials began to change their tune. The Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant said, during a joint press conference with the US defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, “Soon we will be able to distinguish between different areas in Gaza (and) we will be able to transition gradually to the next phase and start working on bringing back the local population”[3] This was a major departure from pushing the people of Gaza into the desert.

Netanyahu’s ‘day after’ Plan

Netanyahu presented his first official ‘day after’ plan for the Gaza Strip on the 23rd of February 2024, saying Israel will keep security control over Palestinian areas and make reconstruction dependent on demilitarisation. In response, speaking at a press briefing the US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said “…the Palestinian people should have a voice and a vote… through a revitalised Palestinian Authority.” Kirby said Washington has been “…consistently clear with our Israeli counterparts…” about what was needed. He said the US doesn’t “…believe in a reduction of the size of Gaza… we don’t want to see any forcible displacement of Palestinians outside Gaza and, of course, we don’t want to see Gaza dominated or ruled or governed over by Hamas.”[4]

The US plan for Gaza is at odds with the Israeli plan for Gaza. Netanyahu and his right-wing government keep humiliating the Biden administration by openly contradicting US demands for the Palestinian authority to rule Gaza after the war and to establish a Palestinian state. Senior State Department official Barbara Leaf made the US plan clear in November 2023, speaking to US lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Whatever its shortcomings, it is the government for the Palestinians in the West Bank. We do believe that ultimately Palestinian voices and aspirations have to be at the centrepiece of post-conflict governance and security in Gaza.”

The US plan for Gaza is at odds with the Israeli plan for Gaza. Netanyahu and his right-wing government keep humiliating the Biden administration by openly contradicting US demands for the Palestinian authority to rule Gaza after the war and to establish a Palestinian state

But after six months of the brutal war the Biden administration has had little success in its attempts to steer Israeli policy regarding Gaza. There has been a great number of additions to the list of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, as a result of which the suffering of the people there has increased to unimaginable levels.

Israeli military strikes on Gaza have continued relentlessly, driving the death toll up to above 33,000. This is the highest death rate than any other 21st century conflict. Despite this the US has continued its diplomatic pressure on Israel, in order to make it change its course. In January 2024 President Biden began explicitly calling upon Israel to scale down its military operations in Gaza. The White House also released information to let it be known that it was reviewing the possibility of slowing down weapons deliveries to Israel, in order to force it to comply with American demands.[5] Also, it formally told Israel that it would only continue to supply weapons if the Israelis gave a written assurance they would abide by international law when using the weapons, and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.[6] On the 14th of March, 2024 one of America’s top legislators, Democrat Chuck Schumer called for regime change in Israel and for Netanyahu to go.[7]

American Contradictions

Despite these threats the US abstained from a UN vote calling for a ceasefire on the 25th of March 2024, having vetoed all the previous resolutions calling for a ceasefire. In addition, representatives from both the Democratic and Republican Parties in the US proposed a review of their country’s relations with South Africa, in order to punish it for taking Israel to the International Court of Justice on the accusation of genocide.

These contradictory positions by the US are due to the fact that Netanyahu’s right wing government refuses to abide by the US plan. It’s also due to the limitations Biden has due to the upcoming elections in the US and divisions within US institutions and in Israel’s political class.

There is no doubt the US has the ability to shape events globally, including in Gaza. The US determines the strength of the Israeli army via its weapons supplies and equipment. The US influences the strength of the Israeli economy, as it has the ability to apply sanctions. The US has tremendous leverage over Israel, but it’s not taking decisive action against her.

There is a real disconnect between US political and military actions. The Biden administration has openly and for years communicated its contempt for Netanyahu and his government, going so far as refusing to speak with him or meet him for months, although he is the official leader of his country, while at the same time closely engaging with his main political rival. In a complete break with protocol, Biden recently invited another political rival of Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, to Washington DC, to discuss policy. This, despite unequivocal objections by Netanyahu, who went as far as instructing all Israeli government institutions to not provide any support for Gantz on his trip.

The Pentagon and State Department have managed US weapons transfers to Israel in such a way that oversight could be evaded. This was justified in order to speed up weapons transfers. But the office of President Biden has formally requested from the Pentagon a list of all weapons transfers to Israel planned to take place in the near future. While this has been described as a “routine” request, it has also been noted that the White House had not requested something similar since the start of Israel’s War on Gaza.[8] Based on these facts this is very likely due to President Biden and his staff not being fully aware of all weapons transfers to Israel. In addition, they have realised that at least some of the weapon transfers have conflicted with the policy direction they are pursuing for the US. Accordingly, now they want to more closely control the weapons transfers, in order to ensure that US military actions are all aligned with their policy.

This means the contradiction in US political and military actions is being caused by the fact that not all institutions of the US government have been working on the basis of the same policy regarding Israel’s War on Gaza. While president Biden and his staff have consistently sought to apply pressure on Netanyahu and his government to get it to align its course with the US’ plan, others in the US have followed a different path, a path of consistent unconditional support for the Zionist program. This is what is usually termed the ‘deep state.’

This means the contradiction in US political and military actions is being caused by the fact that not all institutions of the US government have been working on the basis of the same policy regarding Israel’s War on Gaza

This explains President Biden’s recent decision to airdrop aid into Gaza and to build a temporary port to provide more aid over coming weeks. This is inexplicable considering all the leverage the US has over Israel. All the tools of leverage are simply not available to the president, because not all influential people in the key positions of the broader US government follow the president’s policy if it doesn’t align with their own policy preferences. Instead, they will in such cases follow their preferred policy, which in this particular case is the Zionist program. State department staff have openly pushed against President Biden’s position with one case of a senior state department official resigning over the US presidents dealing with Israel. Reports of political infighting inside the US have been confirmed by numerous outlets.[9] This all likely confirms what political scientist John Mearsheimer has long argued that the Zionist Lobby is much stronger than many assume.

The political infighting in the US is the same in Israel. In Israel, this political infighting has seen prime minister Netanyahu and his supporters on the right side of the political spectrum, who aim for complete eradication of Palestinians from the landmass between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and current opposition figures such as Yair Lapid and Benny Gants who aim for complete Zionist control over the landmass, without forced expulsion of its Palestinian inhabitants. Netanyahu and his supporters believe brute force is the key to firmly securing the Zionist colonial project in Palestine. Lapid and Gantz believe a combination of force and co-option, through protecting and preserving the image of “Israeli moral superiority,” is the key to firmly securing the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.

Despite the three plans for Gaza – the Egyptian led plan, the US plan for two states and the Netanyahu plan for complete domination, the outcome of the power struggles will determine what will happen to Gaza and which plan gets implemented. If the supporters of the Zionist program end up dominating in the US, then expulsion of the people of Gaza into Egypt and the escalation of the current conflict into Lebanon becomes the most likely outcome. It will mean the Zionist vision will follow. If president Biden and his team succeed in halting the Zionist Lobby, then Netanyahu will eventually be removed and his government replaced by one more closely aligned with the vision for a two-state solution. This all means the plausible genocide will not be ending anytime soon.

 


 

[1] Israel-Hamas War: Biden, Sisi Agree Gazans Shouldn’t Be Displaced to Egypt – Bloomberg

[2] Rifts between Biden and Netanyahu spill into public view | CNN Politics

[3] Israel signals gradual shift in Gaza war, after US defense chief visit | Reuters

[4] Netanyahu’s post-war plan for Gaza gets cool US reception | The Times of Israel

[5] Biden administration discussing slowing some weaponry deliveries to Israel to pressure Netanyahu (nbcnews.com)

[6] U.S. wants Israel to sign a letter that it won’t break international law with weapons use (axios.com)

[7] US Senate leader Chuck Schumer calls for new Israel elections amid Gaza war | Israel War on Gaza News | Al Jazeera

[8] Biden admin asks for list of weapons to be sent to Israel (axios.com)

[9] Biden’s Israel-Gaza Policy Sidelines State Department | HuffPost UK Politics (huffingtonpost.co.uk)

 

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