A Proposal

A Proposal


Leonard Zwelling


It’s pretty clear at this point that no one won the Israeli-Hamas War in Gaza and no one will.  There seems to be no solution. Hamas will not be eradicated and every day brings more destruction to the Gazan infrastructure and more death to the Palestinian Arabs who live there. It’s time for something new and Tom Friedman has a proposal.

Israel should declare victory and install a permanent cease fire if Hamas releases all the hostages. Israel will just leave. Israel will release no further Palestinian prisoners.

This will be good for Israel. The country can then move on to ridding itself of Prime Minister Netanyahu once and for all and put in place a unity government that can redirect the efforts of the populace back to the economy and not the war. It might be good for Gaza if the Sunni Gulf states rebuild it even if Hamas tries to lead.

The problem with Friedman’s suggestion is that neither side will go for it.

The current Israeli leadership benefits from the war. It stays in place and Netanyahu stays out of jail. Netanyahu says he will wipe out Hamas. To do so would require months of effort in Gaza absolutely devastating the civilians there. It would also entail a major effort in the West Bank and if it was successful still leaves the Palestinians without a leader or a homeland. That’s not going to work.

On the other hand, I cannot see Hamas giving up the hostages. It’s their only leverage in the larger world.

As Friedman points out, it is time for the United States to exert the full pressure of its military might and pocketbook on Israel and force them to take the deal. That would also mean that Iran would have to use its considerable pressure and force Hamas to take the deal. I am really unsure that can happen.

October 7 forced Israel in particular and Judaism at-large into an existential crisis. If our homeland, our last refuge is being threatened, then the Jewish people as a whole are being threatened and will fight back with all of their might.

The United Nations should be a venue for a solution but its habitual anti-Israeli stance gives it little cachet with the players, one of whom is always slighted and the other of whom does not even have a seat at the table.

I agree with Freidman’s solution, but just do not see either side buying into it on its own. Only with pressure from those with the bullets and the money will either side agree to this plan.

Then to complicate this, the Houthis in Yemen are just begging the US to attack by shelling and droning all kinds of military and cargo ships in the Red Sea.

And, the Saudis sit on the sidelines unwilling to re-engage to stop the Houthis, an enemy they could not defeat the first time.


There are deals to be had to end the strife in this area of the world, but there are far too many nations reluctant to engage in a real solution including the United States.

We have arrived at a moment of decision or a moment when decisions will be put off and the fighting continue.

It’s up to the leaders of the United States, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. I would not bet on a reasonable or fast solution.

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