Giving Hamas More Territory Won’t Bring Peace, or Cure Gaza’s Woes

Over the past few years, voices inside Israel have floated the idea of convincing Egypt to relinquish a strip of land on the western coast of the Sinai that could be joined to Gaza in order to create a geographically and economically viable Palestinian state. Notable among such Israelis is Benjamin Anthony, the head of a prominent organization of veterans of the Second Lebanon War. Anthony has succeeded in persuading a number of retired IDF officers to endorse this plan, which he has dubbed the New State Solution (NSS). But, argue Gregg Roman and Cynthia Farahat, the plan has little chance of succeeding:

The failed Oslo process showed that granting land to an undefeated enemy of Israel leads only to more violence if rejectionist incitement is allowed to flourish at the societal level. Why would a greater Gazan state fare any better? Because, the proponents say, what Palestinians really need is breathing space. . . . Instead of land-locked, resource-poor holdings in dreary old Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians would get “miles of beautiful, Mediterranean coastline . . . no less inviting than that of Tel-Aviv.” . . .

But that’s the Oslo Accords repackaged: give Palestinians self-rule with international aid to spur economic development, and soon the ranks of extremists will dwindle. If that were true, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It isn’t lack of space or resources that keeps most Palestinians poor; it’s bad governance and the rejectionism that sustains it. . . . The proposed state, which would be “fully sovereign . . . with the freedom to defend itself,” is sure to be dominated by Islamists, and its establishment likely would fuel Islamism among Palestinians in the West Bank, who would be granted absentee citizenship, residency rights where they presently reside, and little else. . .

All of this is academic, however, because there’s no evidence that President Sisi (or any other conceivable Egyptian ruler) would be willing to donate a major chunk of Sinai—hallowed ground for which thousands of Egyptian soldiers died fighting.

Granting more land to Hamas will not change the vision of many Palestinians to eradicate Israel; it will energize the Islamists.

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Read more at The Hill

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, Two-State Solution

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology