Since the first days of the war on Gaza stripThe Israeli occupation and its supporters began talking about the situation of the Gaza Strip after the Islamic Resistance Movement (agitation) As part of a strategy aimed at strengthening the psychological warfare efforts accompanying the military operations, targeting the residents of the Gaza Strip and various countries that may sympathize with the Palestinians and their resistance.
The second goal of this talk is to provide political cover for Israeli war crimes by suggesting that there is an acceptable and imminent political goal for the war, which reduces the level of official and popular reactions to these unprecedented crimes.
In return, the Palestinians and their supporters exchanged ideas and proposals that expressed the Palestinian vision and interest for what the Gaza Strip would look like after the war.
Most of the scenarios that are put forward are based on the assumption that the state of war will stop in the near term, which is doubtful if it will happen due to the divergence of the political positions of the two main parties to the conflict, and the confrontation between them approaching an existential conflict.
The post-war scenarios that the occupation and its supporters talked about can be summarized as follows:
- The return of the Palestinian Authority alone after its revitalization, according to the American vision stated by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on December 15.
- The deployment of Arab or international forces in the Gaza Strip after the end of the war, a scenario to which Israel announced its approval, according to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation on November 16, 2023.
- Long-term Israeli security control, which places it in a state of occupation even if there is a civilian authority subordinate to it, a position announced by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Adopted on January 22, 2024.
- Displacing the population of the Gaza Strip outside Palestine, whether to Egypt or to distant countries across the sea. These are positions stated by the Israeli Ministers of Finance and National Security on December 4, 2023.
On the other hand, the Palestinians discussed other scenarios:
- A consensus was reached between Hamas and the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (to open), or the Authority, regarding the administration of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as understood from the statements of the head of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh On December 13, 2023.
- The previous formula remains, which is Hamas control, while the legal description of the Strip remains as part of the Palestinian Authority.
- A local civil administration that is not necessarily affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, with the Gaza Strip being considered a liberated land in which there is a de facto authority that is responsible for managing civil affairs until the liberation is completed. This reflects an appreciation that the West Bank is still under occupation.
About the post-Hamas conversation
There does not appear to be a mature Israeli political vision regarding the post-war period, partly due to its surprise operation Al-Aqsa floodAnd the collapse of its strategy to contain the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, which it relied on for nearly a decade and a half, and the dominance of security obsession, which does not provide a margin for a political proposal that can be accepted by Israel’s closest ally, which is the United States.
In the beginning, the bet was on displacement, which was thwarted by the steadfastness of the people and the performance of the resistance in Gaza, which hindered the United States’ efforts to market it regionally.
It also appeared in Arab statements rejecting displacement in conjunction with the US Secretary of State's tour Anthony Blinken For the Arab region in mid-October.
In parallel, attempts by the extreme right appeared to exploit the war to impose facts in the West Bank that would pave the way for the displacement of Palestinians from there to Jordan, and to undermine what remained of the political character of the Palestinian Authority, and to confine it to an exclusively security and service role.
As for the re-occupation of the Gaza Strip, it is clear that the occupying state does not have the desire or ability to do so in its clear and crude form, but it seeks, as usual, for a low-cost occupation by establishing a civil administration subject to the occupation, funded by the international community and some Arab countries, while maintaining security control. She has the right to enter whenever she wants and act however she wants, as appeared in the statements of the Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant.
This is a situation very similar to the situation in the West Bank, with security control being a right imposed in the political arrangements from the beginning.
This solution will not be accepted by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, especially after they have lived outside the occupation’s direct control since the Israeli withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, which portends a prolonged conflict if the occupation and its allies try to impose any similar scenario.
Floor to the field
The impact of the field remains decisive in favoring any of these scenarios, and with more than 100 days having passed since the war, and the steadfastness and steadfastness of the resistance and its popular incubator in the face of the Israeli ground incursion, it seems that the occupying state and the American administration are increasingly aware of the small possibility of neutralizing the movement’s presence in Gaza.
This pushes towards another approach, which is to increase pressure on it and its incubator to accept arrangements that meet the minimum level of American and Israeli desire.
But the complexity of the matter is the subject of resistance work. For Hamas and the rest of the resistance factions, this matter constitutes the justification for their existence, whether by practicing military resistance action, or by preparing for it by manufacturing weapons, building tunnels, and training.
Indeed, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood indicates the absolute priority of military resistance action by the Hamas movement to the extent that maintaining authority in the Gaza Strip is not considered an important matter in its awareness except to the extent that it is linked to its impact on resistance action, whether positive or negative.
On the other hand, the Israeli existential obsession at the present time is the obsession with security, which prompts the occupation government to resist many internal and external pressures to continue its efforts to undermine the greatest possible amount of the military and civilian power of the Hamas movement.
Therefore, we are facing an almost zero-sum game for both parties, although its severity is less for other parties, such as the American administration and Western countries, as the scenarios for the return of authority to the Gaza Strip adopted by Washington include an implicit acceptance of Hamas remaining in the Strip, but it seeks to be the movement then. Deterred by the effects of war and the presence of Palestinian or international security forces, which is a low probability of being achieved.
Bet on power
The United States insists on limiting talk about solutions to the confrontation within the framework of the political settlement process and the two-state solution project, as the American President stated joe biden “As we strive for peace, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank must be reunited under a single governance structure, and ultimately under a renewed Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,” he said.
Through this position, the American administration aims to preserve the structure and form of this process, despite the extremely small possibility of achieving this solution, which indicates that the goal of its position is to preserve the role of conflict management without resolving it, which can be described as a “cook of gravel” that does not produce a solution, but rather an illusion. It calms the people and hinders their involvement in resisting the occupation more broadly.
The continuity of this path also constitutes a pillar of the United States’ efforts to arrange the region’s alliances in the way it wants by providing a cover for Arab-Israeli normalization, and shifting the compass of hostility to become between an Arab-Israeli alliance on the one hand, and between Iran and its allies on the other hand.
What drives the US administration to engage in efforts to calm the conflict is its keenness to prevent Russia and China from exploiting their preoccupation with this crisis to enhance their international standing and strengthen their positions in the Ukraine war and in the struggle for influence in China’s regional environment.
In addition to finding parties to bear the humanitarian, material and administrative costs resulting from Israel’s crimes in Gaza, while ensuring that the resistance benefits from any subsequent post-war arrangement.
In this context, American positions emerged stressing the need for the Palestinian Authority to assume responsibility for the Gaza Strip and equip it to play this role, as stated in Biden’s statements mentioned above. However, the reality of the authority shows that it is incapable of assuming this role. In the first place, it does not have the political legitimacy that would cover any security role it is supposed to play, especially with the level of Israeli extremism and stubbornness that cannot give it the margin to appear national, which means that it will It has been in conflict with the residents of the Gaza Strip since day one, unless its arrival was in agreement with the resistance movements in particular.
Corruption and conflict
Added to this is the level of conflict and internal disintegration of the Fatah movement due to political disagreement among its components, and the intense struggle over inheriting the positions of leadership of the Authority, the organization, and the movement.
It is also pointed out here the scale of the disaster in Gaza, which is difficult for the authority widely accused of corruption to manage reliably for the supposed donors. For example, the report of the Financial and Administrative Control Bureau in the Palestinian Authority for the year 2020 revealed shocking facts about the extent of corruption, which affected various sectors. Sectors and institutions, including the Anti-Corruption Commission itself.
It is noticeable that the authority’s position ranged from holding the occupation and the world responsible for the outbreak of the situation, and calling for an immediate ceasefire, to talking explicitly about coordination with the Americans regarding the management of Gaza after the neutralization of Hamas.
This position is issued in parallel with the Authority’s feeling that the Palestinian people are disengaging from it and increasingly rallying around the resistance, as much evidence appears, such as opinion polls, the most prominent of which were those issued by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in addition to the manifestations of increasing resistance work in the West Bank.
This situation pushes a human bloc whose interests are linked to the entity of the authority, which provides it with influence and money, to side with the opposite source of legitimacy and empowerment, which is the occupation and the countries allied with it, such as the United States. If it continues to do so, it will undermine what remains of its national character in the eyes of the vast majority of the Palestinian people. The internal Palestinian situation becomes more polarized and tense.
The national way out of this path is the emergence of positions in the Fatah movement and the Palestinian public in the West Bank and elsewhere to isolate any leadership that submits to the American administration’s efforts to detail an authority that suits the occupation’s security and political needs in the Gaza Strip.
In contrast to the proposals of the occupation and the United States, the ceiling of Palestinian resistance remains high, despite the comprehensive destruction and the heavy humanitarian bill, with it issuing signals that it may accept interim arrangements that will reduce the severity of this round of confrontation.
This position indicates two things, the first of which is the resistance’s confidence that it cannot be bypassed and any arrangements imposed without it. The second is its awareness that the regional and international balance of power does not provide it with the opportunity to impose the best arrangements for it at the present time, such as declaring the Gaza Strip a liberated land and a starting point for completing the work to liberate the rest of Palestine, and the presence of a de facto authority there whose legitimacy is established by some countries’ recognition of it. This matter is linked to the ability to break the blockade by land or sea, a matter for which the conditions have not yet matured.
Such a position seeks to avoid the crystallization of a regional and international political position towards post-war political options without the presence of the movement, which makes confronting these options more costly compared to early engagement in the ongoing dialogues in this regard, especially with parties with which it has relations such as Qatar, Turkey and Egypt, in addition. To the Fatah movement.
This also comes in recognition that it will be difficult for the resistance to bear the burdens of managing and rebuilding the sector on its own, especially in light of the hardening of Western positions towards it following the Al-Aqsa Flood operation.
However, the possibility of achieving consensus with the Fatah movement regarding the management of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is small due to the wide gap between what the United States wants from this authority and what the Palestinians in general and the resistance factions in particular want, in addition to the impact of the escalation of resistance activities in the West Bank, which continues the conflict between the popular forces and the authority over the nature of Its relationship with the occupation.
Excluding the scenarios with low probability of being realized, if neither the Authority nor the occupation nor the regional guarantors are able to impose authority on the Gaza Strip contrary to the will of its people and their resistance, the scenario remains the return of the previous state of war, or the formation of a civil administration that expresses the people of the Gaza Strip and is not imposed by external parties. So that it carries out humanitarian relief and reconstruction missions.
The condition for the success of such authority is that an administration be able to come to terms with the resistance and not be hostile to it. This is something that can be achieved by consensus in the Gaza Strip. Otherwise, the attempt to impose any arrangements based on making the occupation’s hand the upper hand means the continuation of this war indefinitely, even if its forms and levels are multiple.