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How Israel Can Ensure Security in Post-War Gaza

 

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, in Gaza City, Nov. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Al-Masri

JNS.org – Israel’s calculated and legitimate response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and years of rocket fire on Israel’s civilian population is advancing systematically, leading many to anticipate the eventual dismantling of the terror group and its leadership. However, divergent views have emerged regarding the future governance of Gaza.

A paramount objective is mitigating the security challenges confronting Israel. Post-conflict, Israel’s military and security apparatus will maintain a concerted effort to systematically destroy Hamas’s presence within Gaza, targeting terrorists and dismantling both its military and administrative infrastructures. Simultaneously, a structured, phased strategy will be imperative to institute effective civil governance mechanisms in the coastal enclave.

One proposal for post-Hamas Gaza has come from Israeli Knesset member and former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon. His plan came in response to pressure from the Biden administration, which has recently been demanding that the close of this war result in two states for two peoples, with Gaza being governed by the Palestinian Authority.

Danon’s proposal rejects the P.A. as the ruling party. Instead, he foresees the best governing solution as the establishment of an international framework that will consist of the region’s countries and the broader international community.

In his plan, Danon lists five core steps for Gaza after the war. These comprise complete demilitarization of the Gaza Strip; the establishment of a defensive security buffer zone along the border with Israel; an upgrade of the Rafah crossing on the Gazan side, which he envisions as being overseen by a combination of Israeli and international forces; the enabling of voluntary emigration for Gazans who wish to relocate; and finally, economic rehabilitation within Gaza on the premise of the renunciation of incitement and terror.

Danon explained: “My five-point plan will provide a solution that will ensure the security of Israel’s residents in the southern communities and will also allow the Gazans to build a normal life free from the trappings of hate and terror. Given the devastation and trauma [inflicted on Israel by] Oct. 7…we cannot abide…a solution that involves Gaza being ruled by any authority that supports and promotes terror. We will never risk the lives of our citizens in this way.”

Danon told JNS that in Gaza, Israel will retain the freedom “to act against any terror threat, as we do in Judea and Samaria.”

Israel will not count on the international community to fight terrorism, “but we are counting on them to deal with the civilian issue and rebuild society in Gaza,” he added.

In a similar vein, former National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror said on a JINSA conference call on Thursday that Israel will require a buffer zone on the Gaza side of the fence and will also need to maintain freedom of action as it has in the West Bank and Syria to prevent and eliminate threats to the Jewish state.

There are several stages of operation that Israel is considering. Initially and of immediate concern is killing or capturing all Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists and destroying all terror infrastructure. At the same time, Israel is working with the Biden administration to ensure the transfer of aid to the Palestinian population.

Dr. Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies, and Col. (res.) Prof. Gabi Siboni, an expert on cyber security, military strategy and technology at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, noted that at a later stage, “Complex needs will need to be addressed, such as education, employment, advanced health services, environment, communications and infrastructure, among other needs.”

The question of who will be addressing these needs has yet to be solved. Israel has expressed disinterest in taking on this responsibility and instead would like to see the Abraham Accords group of nations, together with the United States, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, adopt the role of rebuilding Gaza and rehabilitating its residents while ensuring the end of all incitement against Israel.

Israel also needs to prepare for the political chaos that will take place in Gaza after the transition period from high-intensity to low-intensity conflict, after achieving full operational freedom there.

As part of Israel’s complete breakaway from Gaza, Michael and Siboni suggested that Israel’s coordination and liaison administration, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), “be dismantled to ensure complete Israeli civilian disengagement from the Gaza Strip. A similar process should be examined in Judea and Samaria to create an alternative organizational structure to the P.A.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the P.A. being given influence in Gaza, citing its historical failures, corruption and anti-Israeli sentiments. The P.A. is known for inciting violence, supporting terrorism and lacking legitimacy.

According to Michael and Siboni, “Three decades of P.A. rule have shown it to be—through most of that time—a failed, corrupt and illegitimate entity, devoid of domestic legitimacy. The P.A. has also become a major instrument in building a Palestinian consensus that denies the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. The P.A. has systematically incited against Israel and the Jews and delegitimized Israel.”

They also noted that to date, no P.A. official has condemned the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7. “In addition, many schools under the P.A.’s jurisdiction glorify the massacre. It is clear that after the war it will be necessary to reexamine the situation in Judea and Samaria as well,” they said.

“There’s a need to revise the educational curriculum in Palestinian territories to eliminate content that incites violence against Israel,” they added.

Similarly, Israel’s National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said in a Saudi editorial published last week that Israel seeks a “reformed” P.A., and focused on the need to denazify the next generation growing up in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

Michael and Siboni also called for an end to the P.A.’s “pay-for-slay” policy of paying salaries and allowances to terrorists detained and imprisoned in Israel, or to the families of terrorists.

According to Michael and Siboni, one of the most important demands Israel must now make of any new Palestinian leadership is that Palestinians must drop “the two foundational pillars of the Palestinian ethos: the ‘right of return’ and the ‘armed struggle.’ To this end, all mechanisms for perpetuating Palestinian refugeehood—the refugee camps and UNRWA—must be dismantled.”

Overall, Michael and Siboni’s message is that Israel must ensure a strategic reevaluation and restructuring of governance and security in the Gaza Strip and the wider Palestinian territories, with a focus on regional collaboration.

As part of its plan to eradicate terrorism in the Gaza Strip, Israel will need to maintain security control, including over the Philadelphi corridor, which it left in 2005 due to pressure from then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. This was a costly mistake that led to the massive militarization of Gaza, allowed Hamas to fire approximately 100,000 rockets at Israel, and led to the massive stockpiling of weaponry the IDF sees today in Gaza’s homes, hospitals, mosques, schools and tunnels.

Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS that Israel and Egypt “will need to share national security responsibilities, each on its side of the border.”

He noted that Israel, “like in areas A and B of the areas under nominal P.A. control in Judea and Samaria, will always maintain the right to pursue terrorists” in post-war Gaza.

“It remains unclear who and how internal policing will be handled in Gaza, but it is reasonable to assess that local police forces will secure their local districts,” he said. “What is an essential pre-condition to future security for both Gazans and Israel is that the IDF destroys Hamas militarily and politically with an overwhelming victory,” he said.

“The Arab world as well as the Iranian regime and its terror proxies are watching carefully,” he warned.

However, David Weinberg, a senior fellow at Misgav: The Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy, and Israel’s Defense and Security Forum, told JNS that post-Hamas Gaza “is mostly the world’s problem, not Israel’s, because the resolution is tied to broader regional battles.”

“Israel is done with coddling Gaza,” said Weinberg. “Relief and rehabilitation for Gazan Palestinians is now the world’s problem, not Israel’s.”

Weinberg suggested that Israel is “exempt from answering this question—certainly now when it must laser-focus only on outright military victory. The demand that Israel answer this question now is pointedly meant to prevent Israel from doing what needs to be done in Gaza, so it must be rebuffed.”

Weinberg agreed with other experts that Israel will need to create “a new security buffer zone inside Gaza and along its entire perimeter (maybe including the Philadelphi corridor on the border with Egypt) which Israel will control indefinitely.”

The post How Israel Can Ensure Security in Post-War Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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2,500 Rabbis Call for Columbia University President’s Resignation

Columbia University administrators and faculty, led by President Minouche Shafik, testified before the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce on April 17, 2024. Photo: Jack Gruber/Reuters Connect

Thousands of rabbis are calling on Columbia University president Minouche Shafik to resign over her choosing not to fire four administrators who sent each other text messages which, she said herself, “disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes” during a panel featuring Jewish speakers.

As previously reported, Columbia administrators Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, Matthew Patashnick, and Josef Sorett, who is dean of Columbia College, sent a series of messages which denigrated Jews while spurning their concerns about rising antisemitism and the fate of Israel, denouncing them as “privileged” and venal. The remarks were exchanged amid a deluge of antisemitic incidents at Columbia and specifically denounced Jewish leaders who appeared at the school as panelists to plea for help and explain the link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

According to Columbia provost Angela Olinto, it has been decided that Sorett will remain in his position to “mend relationships, repair trust, and rebuild accountability.” There is, however, deep-seated opposition among Jewish alumni, faculty, and students to his remaining as dean, and since last week, over 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for his firing, arguing that he “actively joined his colleagues in mocking panelists” and is equally culpable for the comments they wrote.

On Thursday, 2,500 rabbis organized by the Coalition for Jewish Values (CVJ), which represents “traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy,” echoed their sentiment while shifting focus to Shafik’s tenure in office, which, to them, has harmed both the school’s Jewish community and its reputation.

“The bigotry and double standards are blatant, and entirely at odds with the experiences that I and others had at Columbia in the past. Imagine if something like this had happened during a session when Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, or LGBTQ faculty and students were speaking about hostility they faced on campus,” CVJ vice president Rabbi Steven Pruzansky said in a statement. “Any faculty dismissing their concerns, much less ridiculing them or sharing hateful sentiments, would find themselves unemployed without delay.”

He continued, “But regarding antisemitism, President Shafik demonstrates the very ‘lack of seriousness’ she claims to decry. It is clear that all four who exchanged antisemitic messages, plus Shafik herself, must be removed from the faculty and replaced by others committed to opposing and preventing hate against Jews and all other campus minorities. This is the only way that Columbia can hope to return to being a serious academic institution where all students feel safe and valued.”

Columbia University’s decision not to fire anyone involved in the text message scandal comes on the heels of a tumultuous year in which pro-Hamas agitators roiled the campus with illegal occupations of school property, vandalism, and even alleged antisemitic hate crimes.

In April, an explosion of anti-Israel demonstrations on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover forced the administration to shutter the campus and institute “virtual” learning. Prior to that, footage of the protest showed Columbia students — who commandeered a section of campus and named it a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” — chanting in support of the Hamas terrorist group, calling for the destruction of Israel, and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus. The situation was so severe that security officials deactivated Columbia Professors Shai Davidai’s identification card and temporarily banned him from campus because his safety could not be “guaranteed,” a measure which reflected the administration’s suspicion that its students, as well as the non-students they have attracted to campus, would have resorted to violence to make their point.

The events of spring semester continued a trend that began in the fall, after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

“F—k the Jews,” “Death to Jews,” “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds in the weeks after the tragedy, according to a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Legal Center for Justice (SCLJ). Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

After bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on the Jewish people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence, according to the lawsuit. They allegedly beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Facing a wave of investigations and litigation related to its handling of antisemitism on the campus, Columbia recently decided to settle a lawsuit, brought by one of its students, which accused school officials of neglecting their obligation to foster a safe learning environment.

The resolution of the case, first reported by Reuters, calls for Columbia to hire a “Safe Passage Liaison” who will monitor protests and “walking escorts” who will accompany students whose safety is threatened around the campus. Other details of the settlement include “accommodations” for students whose academic lives are disrupted by protests and new security policies for controlling access to school property.

Shafik, who took office in July 2023, has recently attempted to assuage concerns that Columbia has become a sanctuary for antisemites.

“We will launch a vigorous program of antisemitism and antidiscrimination [sic] training for faculty and staff this fall, with related training for students under the auspices of university life,” she said in a recent statement addressing the administrators’ conduct. “Columbia’s leadership team recognizes this as an important moment to implement changes that will build a stronger institution as a result. I know that you all share this commitment.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post 2,500 Rabbis Call for Columbia University President’s Resignation first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Biden Doesn’t Mention US Hostages in Gaza, Calls for End to Israel-Hamas War in NATO Press Conference

US President Joe Biden holds a press conference during NATO’s 75th anniversary summit, in Washington, DC, July 11, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Nathan Howard

US President Joe Biden gave an update concerning ceasefire negotiations to halt fighting in Gaza and reflected on what he regrets about his approach to the Israel-Hamas war during his high-stakes NATO press conference on Thursday.

During Biden’s initial remarks, he spoke about the ongoing ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas being mediated by the US, Egypt, and Qatar. “There are still gaps but we are making progress and the trend is positive,” he said.

The press conference came amid reporting in The Washington Post quoting a senior US official who said “the framework [of a deal] is agreed.” Now, the parties are just “negotiating details of how it will be implemented,” according to the report.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, of making demands that contradict the framework brokered by the US, creating uncertainty about whether the two sides are as close to a deal as Biden let on.

Biden was also asked a question regarding what he regrets most about the way he has handled the Israel-Hamas war. In his answer, which was approximately five minutes long, he did not mention the hostages kidnapped by Hamas during its onslaught across southern Israel on Oct. 7 or the eight Americans still in captivity in Gaza, whose release he has been unable to secure.

Some observers have accused Biden of framing the issues in the war as primarily the fault of Israel, rather than Hamas.

The President of the United States was just asked what his regrets were over the Israel-Hamas war.

Not once in his 5 minute answer did he mention the word “hostages” or the inability to secure the release of the 8 American hostages *still* being held in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/MltY5Qr6ok

— Shabbos Kestenbaum (@ShabbosK) July 12, 2024

The US president spoke about the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza and claimed Israel has been “less than cooperative” at times. He did not note that Hamas reportedly steals a significant portion of aid that goes into the enclave, making it difficult for regular civilians to get access to it. And, when people are able to get aid, many times it is being sold for high prices after it was stolen.

Biden also lamented that Israel’s “war cabinet is one of the most conservative war cabinets in the history of Israel” when discussing how it has been, at times, difficult to get the Jewish state to do what he wanted in the war. He appeared to confuse the broader government cabinet, which includes some far-right ministers, with the recently disbanded war cabinet, a unity body that included centrist opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz.

“There’s a lot of things that in retrospect, I wish I had been able to convince Israelis to do,” Biden said.

Biden also spoke about the “day after” in Gaza, saying the war “should end now” and neither Israel nor Hamas should “occupy” the Palestinian enclave once the fighting is over.

“The day after in Gaza has to be … no occupation by Israel of the Gaza Strip as well as the ability for us to access, get in, and out as rapidly as you can all that’s needed there,” Biden said, apparently referring to a freer flow of humanitarian assistance into the enclave. “Don’t make the same mistake America did after bin Laden. There’s no need to occupy anywhere, go after the people who did the job.”

Biden also reiterated his call for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Thursday’s press conference was widely seen as particularly high stakes because it came two weeks after his poor debate performance against former US President Donald Trump. There has been increasing buzz regarding the question of whether Biden will stay in the 2024 presidential race, and this press conference was viewed as an important test to see if he just had a bad debate night or if he may not be mentally fit to seek re-election in November.

The post Biden Doesn’t Mention US Hostages in Gaza, Calls for End to Israel-Hamas War in NATO Press Conference first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kosher organizations go to court, arguing that current meat production regulations jeopardize ritual slaughter practices

Canadian kosher organizations were in court in Montreal this week, asking for an injunction that would allow them to continue the practice of shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter, amidst newly imposed regulations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In a hearing before the Federal Court on July 10 and July 11, the Jewish Community Council […]

The post Kosher organizations go to court, arguing that current meat production regulations jeopardize ritual slaughter practices appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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