Eyad Abu Shakra

What is Washington’s Position on Gaza's Future

Although those who do not like to face facts had been optimistic about a miracle preventing the resumption of violence in a post-miracle era, the collapse of the temporary truce in Gaza was predictable.

Indeed, it had been patently obvious from the beginning that both sides of the unbalanced war needed to "catch their breath,” as both parties sought to claim tactical victories, reformulate their psychological attacks, enhance logistical mobilization, and capitalize on the changes imposed on the ground...to say nothing about wanting to give moderation a chance ensure the release of prisoners and detainees.

Israel, which has always been adept at portraying itself as the victim, undoubtedly succeeded in winning the battle to shape political decision-making in the most influential countries. This success was amplified by Israel winning the war of financial and social media extortion. Nothing illustrates this success more clearly than the billionaire Elon Musk humiliating himself and submitting to Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel after several major companies decided to boycott advertising on the "X" (formerly Twitter), which he owns.

On the other hand, we have seen an explosion of mass movements demanding an end to the Gaza war in reaction to the ferocity of the bombardment and the horror of the tragedies. They did not mobilize because Hamas managed the "public relations" battle to shape the narrative about the events of October 7 and its aftermath adeptly. Some statements by Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were disastrous, both in terms of their haughty response to the humanitarian catastrophe across the Gaza Strip and their ignorance of the war's background and details.

In contrast, the Israeli propaganda "machine" has taken to shifting its objective goal of eliminating "Hamas" and changing it to the implementation of its longstanding strategy to displace all the Palestinian people, liquidating a cause that can only be eradicated through the annihilation of its people. Even before the fall of the temporary truce, we Israeli officials and their cyber army race to share threats, hyperbole, provocations, lies, and schadenfreude.
Even as prisoners and detainees were being exchanged, the plans for uprooting and displacement remained an "open secret." There was no room for doubt about whether this had been a temporary pause given the "advice" to leave the northern part of the Gaza Strip and head south as the south was also being targeted.
The statements of Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant - and there is no need to dwell on those of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich - have been unambiguous. Although the Arab states remain patient and continue to bet on the US mitigating Likud's worst impulses, the actions and positions of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken are not reassuring. He has consistently affirmed that, despite its inclination to reserve judgment about the outcome and consequences of the Israeli war, Washington is fully behind Netanyahu and his government.
Certainly, the readily available US pretexts for condemning Hamas began with the attack of October 7 and continued with Hamas keeping several hostages who could not be released during the first truce... which could also be the last. Of course, Hamas claiming responsibility for lone-wolf attacks in the West Bank contributed to the US pledging total support for Netanyahu. Nonetheless, aside from timid condemnations of the excesses of armed settlers, Washington ignored Israel’s repeated violations of the temporary truce, who continued to kill and arrest more in various areas of the West Bank. A larger number of Palestinians were detained, killed, and injured during the truce than were released from prison.

Accordingly, what we are seeing is that Washington continues to nurture, support, and sponsor Israel’s plan. The US seems determined to follow through with it to the end. It openly supports how Israel is "dealing with" the residents of Gaza now, and perhaps the residents of the West Bank in the future, disregarding the concerns of most of its friends in the region.
As an Arab politician and diplomat who worked on Israeli-Arab relations has noted, Washington is either oblivious to or deliberately overlooking the fact that the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank have been living, for about 20 years, in a large prison surrounded by Israel, left to suffer with no political solution on the horizon. This state of affairs should have signaled that a dangerous explosion was imminent.

Furthermore, Washington remains adamant about maintaining its monopoly in mediating Israeli-Arab relations, even though it completely abandoned peace initiatives in 2014, when John Kerry was Secretary of State. By not making any serious political effort to ensure peace, the US has turned the notion of a "two-state solution" into a farce. Instead of working on and reinforcing politically credible approaches to peace, it has misled the region with the illusion of the “Abrahamic Accords," which have only benefitted one side.