Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”The State of Israel is in the midst of one of its greatest crises, certainly for at least two generations.More than 1,200 of our people were viciously murdered, 239 brutally kidnapped, thousands more injured, and 240,000 made homeless by the Nazi-like regime in Gaza.Women were raped. The elderly were abused and taken hostage. Children were beheaded. Families were tortured in front of each other for the entertainment of their captors before being burned alive while bound to each other.These inhuman atrocities changed everything.It is clear that much has to change, as many conceptions were proven wrong on the day of the pogrom on October 7.What should be just as clear is that many more conceptions must be addressed, challenged, and possibly destroyed in the weeks and months ahead. One of the issues on which my office has been working diligently is how to proceed the day after Hamas has been defeated and annihilated.We will still have around two million people in Gaza, many of whom voted for Hamas and celebrated the massacre of innocent men, women, and children.Gaza is a breeding ground for extremism. It is a small area, by no means the most populated on earth, but one where for too long, its rulers have prioritized war against the Jews over a better life for their people.It is a place devoid of hope, stolen by the genocidal terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups.This situation has already led to a large exodus of youths from Gaza. It has been estimated that since Hamas violently took over the Strip in 2007, between 250,000 and 350,000 mostly young adults have left Gaza to make a new life abroad.As we consider our options for the day after, the international community appears to be pushing to bring the Palestinian Authority back to rule Gaza. This has obvious structural flaws, as it was tried in 2005 after the disaster of the Disengagement when all 8,600 Jewish residents were forcibly evicted from the Gaza Strip. It took only two years for Hamas to seize power, largely by throwing PA leaders off high roofs.Furthermore, as we are witnessing at this very moment, the PA does not have a markedly different ideology from Hamas. Recently, for example, the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs distributed instructions to preachers in mosques throughout Judea and Samaria to deliver a teaching about the requirement to kill Jews and the wider goal to exterminate all Jews.So, this option – bringing the PA back to rule Gaza – has failed in the past and will fail again. It is an option that is seen as illegitimate by the Israeli public and one that would put us back to square one within a short amount of time.
Other options for Gaza's future
ANOTHER OPTION is to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the Strip.It is important that those who seek a life elsewhere be provided with that opportunity. Some world leaders are already discussing a worldwide refugee resettlement scheme and saying they would welcome Gazans to their countries. This could be supported by many nations around the world, especially those that claim to be friends of the Palestinians.This is an opportunity for those who say they support the Palestinian people to show these are not just empty words.The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the global UN body that deals with refugees, is mandated by its Statute and the UN General Assembly Resolutions to undertake resettlement as one of its three durable solutions. Unfortunately, however, for the last 75 years, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a refugee body that privileges Palestinians over every other refugee population, has done zero to help the Palestinian people, even though it has an annual budget of well over $1 billion.Instead of funneling money to rebuild Gaza or to the failed UNRWA, the international community can assist in the costs of resettlement, helping the people of Gaza build new lives in their new host countries.Gaza has long been thought of as a problem without an answer. We have tried many different solutions – Disengagement, enrichment, conflict management, and building high walls in the hope of keeping the monsters of Hamas out of Israel.These have all failed.We must try something new, and we call on the international community to help make it a reality.It could be a win-win solution: a win for those civilians of Gaza who seek a better life and a win for Israel after this devastating tragedy.Israeli communities in the Gaza border area and the South could then return to their homes and communities and live in safety and security. They should not have to continue living with the constant threat of rocket attacks and murderous infiltrations.
THIS SOLUTION, which I proposed already during the early days of the way, is far from perfect. It has its drawbacks and obstacles, but it is our job to look at all options and decide which is better.I am gratified to hear that Members of Knesset from across the political spectrum, including both the coalition and opposition, have joined my Ministry’s initiative and declared their support for it. I am certain that many others will follow suit.As the saying goes, perfect is the enemy of the good. This is by no means a perfect plan, but it is a good one. It is feasible, and it brings security, prosperity, and – hopefully – peace for all.
This is the solution I am presenting for debate, criticism, and approval.We have to think outside of the box and look for opportunities even in the midst of grave crises. It is a necessity and, above all, a duty to our children and to all of the destroyed communities that we will reestablish.The writer is Israel’s intelligence minister.