Israel and Ukraine are enmeshed in wars, refugee crises, destabilization, and a constant stream of coverage and footage showing civilian suffering and cities reduced to rubble. America helps both, but the difference is that Ukraine’s refugees are sheltered in Europe and the country will eventually join the European Union. By contrast, Israel’s government has no end game and is about to invade despite a caution issued by President Joe Biden.

Diplomacy and prudence are required but are not evident. Hamas obviously sets a trap: The release of two hostages this week and promise of more has given the terrorists more time to booby-trap northern Gaza and move their fighters, equipment, and the hostages elsewhere. And more tricks await. Once the tanks roll in, Hamas will broadcast fake depictions of Israeli atrocities to generate terrible headlines and further alienate Arab states. And Israel’s intention to permanently pull out of Gaza after the invasion is not an endgame, but a disaster waiting to happen.

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What becomes of Gaza’s 2.3 million people as well as to the other 2.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank with 670,000 Israeli “settlers” who intend to displace them? What will happen to neighboring states such as Lebanon and Jordan and Iraq, or to Israel’s economy and reputation? The stakes are too high and an invasion solves nothing, especially because Hamas and the hostages will likely be gone if they aren’t already. There is, and always has been, only one viable solution which is to address the Palestinian problem.

WORLD BRIEFING: April 14,2024
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WORLD BRIEFING: April 14,2024

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The illegal annexation of the West Bank by Israeli settlers: Only orange and brown areas are Palestinian-controlled. 2022. BBC

The outcome and execution of this war, and its aftermath, will determine whether the Middle East is set on fire or not. Iran’s goal is to destroy Israel, and the West, with two weapons: Bankrolling terrorism and perpetuating the Palestinian problem. The Oct. 7 massacre by Iran’s proxy, Hamas, was mounted to derail the US-brokered deal with Israel and Saudi Arabia because it would have improved relations and addressed the Palestinian situation. The three-way agreement would have normalized relations, invested $90 billion to economically develop Gaza and the West Bank, and guaranteed Saudis protection from Iran. The deal is now off the table, but must somehow be resurrected.

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Before that can happen, the Arabs and the West must mediate a solution to this looming humanitarian disaster. As one regional security source said bluntly: "Israel doesn't have an endgame for Gaza. Their strategy is to drop thousands of bombs, destroy everything and go in, but then what? They have no exit strategy for the day after.”

Unfortunately, it appears that Israel’s plan is to decimate Hamas and its infrastructure then declare victory and exit. The Financial Times quoted an unnamed Israeli official who vowed that “Israel will not be part of the solution in terms of giving [Gazans] work. We’ve disconnected the umbilical cord” and he added that all existing border crossings between Gaza and Israel will be permanently closed. Even Isaac Herzog, the President of Israel, concurred. “We have no desire to occupy or reoccupy Gaza. We have no desire to rule over the lives of more than two million Palestinians,” he said in an recent interview with CNN.

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The spectre of a strategically-placed power vacuum, with 2.3 million starving people, is a nightmare scenario. Gaza would become a staging ground for misery, terrorism, and crime on an industrial scale. This possibility is top of mind in the meetings currently being held in Cairo among regional and global leaders. The question is who will govern Gaza after Israel washes its hands?One proposed scenario would be to put the Palestinian Authority, which nominally runs the West Bank, in charge. But this is a non-starter because that administration is riddled with corruption and incompetence and has been incapable of preventing Israeli settlers from illegally annexing land there.

This will spiral into another civil war. A second option would be create an interim government in Gaza, backed by the UN and Arab nations, to rebuild and restore order. But this would require UN Security Council approval and Russia, Iran’s ally, would veto such an initiative. A third possibility would be if Arab nations, led by the wealthy Gulf states and the U.S. and Europe, devised a reasonable two-state solution. This may seem impossible, but it’s time that Arab states realize that they too, like Palestinians and Israelis, are being held hostage by Iran.

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Iran holds the region hostage.

In the absence of a coalition ready to act, there appears to be a gang-up afoot which will badly backfire. The Guardian ran an opinion piece headlined “Israel’s endgame is to push Palestinians into Egypt’s large Sinai region — and the west is cheering it on.” It claims that Western governments are offering large economic incentives to Cairo, a claim corroborated by Egyptian news site Mada Masr. But its government pushes back. Firstly, a flood of refugees could endanger Egypt itself which is in the midst of an economic crisis and currency devaluation. Egyptians also fear the upheaval and terrorists that may upend their society from such a massive influx and its President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has rejected any forced displacement flat out. He said imposing such a move would constitute a war crime and turn the Sinai into a base for attacks against Israel. The King of Jordan has also refused to accept more refugees. At this point, Jordan houses a disproportionate number and has 760,000 displaced persons, mostly Syrians, who were orphaned following their civil war which was stoked by Iran and Russia.

Tom Friedland, a Middle East expert and influential New York Times’ columnist, argues fiercely against an Israeli invasion. “If Israel goes into Gaza and takes months to kill or capture every Hamas leader and soldier but does so while expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank — thereby making any two-state solution there with the more moderate Palestinian Authority impossible — there will be no legitimate Palestinian or Arab League or European or UN or NATO coalition that will ever be prepared to go into Gaza and take it off Israel’s hands. There will be no one to help Israel pay the cost of caring for more than two million Gazans — not if Israel is run by a government that thinks, and acts, as if it can justifiably exact its revenge on Hamas while unjustifiably building an apartheid-like society run by Jewish supremacists in the West Bank.”

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The situation escalates. Over the weekend, Iran and Israel traded threats and the Americans moved more ships into the Persian Gulf. But the solution is not force or more revenge, and never has been. The only panacea is for the region to finally address its Palestinian problem in order to end decades of turmoil and avert a wider war. There simply is no other alternative.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

Reprinted from [email protected] - Diane Francis on America and the World

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Comments (4)

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Cedar
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As usual, this perspective omits to mention that 70% of Mandate Palestine was allocated to form a new Arab country east of the Jordan river. Separatist Arabs who didn’t wish to live under Jewish rule were given automatic citizenship there. That was the original two-state solution. Some 711,000 Arabs left or were driven out of Israel, which has paid compensation to many claimants. But some 850,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries, where they had been living for thousands of years, with no compensation or right of return. That is why more than 50% of Jewish Israelis, without counting the Ethiopians, have no European heritage. Muslim Arabs, who have systematically destroyed minorities such as Yezidis & Assyrians, do not live with Jews anywhere except Israel, where they form 20+% of the population. After WWII there were massive population exchanges. Empires fell and new countries were made. To single out Israel & not 22 Arab countries, or separatist Muslim states such as Pakistan, is unjust. The Palestinians are the only group which has made being a refugee a hereditary status for 75 years. Let the Jews, indigenous to Israel for 1500 years before Muslim Arabs invaded, occupy one tenth of 1% of the Middle East in peace.

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Guest
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It looks like Russia got involved in both sides of the Israël - Gaza war. No communication possible between both parties and no aid for refugiees. Without communication no water and no aid.

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Joseph Swanson
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Israel STILL REFUSES to condemn russia for starting the Ukraine / russia war.
Israel STILL REFUSES to send military weapons to my nation.
Israel STILL REFUSES to take part in sanctions against russia.
Israel STILL REFUSES to support Ukraine.
Israeli Knesset has many russians serving in it.
The Israeli government is an apartheid terrorist state doing to the Palestinians what russia is doing to us Ukrainians.

Cedar
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@Joseph Swanson,
If you are anti-Putin, why are you spouting his propaganda? Jews are the indigenous people in Israel. It is populated by the families of Holocaust survivors, Mizrahi Jews ethnically cleansed after pogroms and confiscations of property in every Arab country, and Ethiopians. More than half the Jewish population has no European ancestry, and 20+% of the Israelis are Arab citizens. The idea of “the Palestinian people” engaged in a nationalist struggle was a Soviet invention in the 1960s, marketed very successfully in the West. Previously, the political struggle was for pan-Arab unity. Now, it is militant Islamist. Zuheir Mohsen of the PLO openly admitted there was no separate Palestinian people, & never had been. S. African apartheid did not have Black & white people at the same universities, Black Members of Parliament, Black diplomats, doctors and civil servants. Arabs hold all those positions in Israel. It is Hamas which resembles the totalitarian Putin, which is why he hosted them in Moscow 3 times last year.

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Barruntaranchos
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An excellent article about the situation and the solution. The author doesn´t want to say that que main problem to solve that disaster is not Iran, but Israel. Netanyahu doesn´t accept any dialogue about two states, any investment in Palestinian territory to improve the misery they are living and main cause for the support that terrorism has among the young Palestinians, that see no other option. Netanyahu is the new Torquemada, the Great Inquisitor, who wants a Great Israel where only Jews can live. No Christians, no Muslims, only Jews.

Cedar
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@Barruntaranchos,
That’s a wonderful distortion of reality. Everywhere Muslim Arabs rule, ethnic and religious minorities are exterminated. In the 1940s, Jews were a third of the Iraqi
population, but like everywhere else in the Arab world, they were killed or expelled, forced to leave everything behind. Israel in contrast has a 20+ % Arab population with the rights of other citizens. Militant Islam has totally destroyed the Yezidis, the Gnostic Sabean Mandaeans etc. Assyrian Christians are almost gone. Armenians and Greeks likewise. Kurds are under constant attack. Israel is the only country in MENA in which the Christian population hasn’t been annihilated. When Hamas says they.intend to destroy the Israeli state & murder every Jew, they mean it. Netanyahu has been disastrous for Israel, but that does not justify the elimination of the state and slaughter of its people. I note that the oppressed Palestinian population has increased 5-fold under Israeli occupation. That is not how genocide works.

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