Following the Israel-Gaza war, Hamas will not have the capability or credibility to govern or represent the Gazan Palestinians. It cannot simply be replaced by the Palestinian Authority, which is equally opposed to the existence of Israel.
The only logical solution to this power vacuum is a radical cultural/political makeover, comparable to that mounted by the U.S. and its allies in Germany and Japan following World War II. It will no doubt be daunting, but Israel has no viable alternative to the Iranian-backed cancer that is now Gaza.
Just as the Allied Powers demilitarized Germany and Japan, so too must Israel demilitarize Gaza. In the same way the United States and its allies purged Germany and Japan of ideologies that promoted hate, genocide and conquest, Israel needs to purge genocidal antisemitism and Islamist jihadism from Gazan society. Above all, the Gazan Palestinians need to discover that their only future lies in cooperation and coexistence with Jews and their neighboring state.
This process begins with the removal of the current Hamas leadership in all its forms, just as the Allies removed the Nazis’ and Japan’s militarist governments.
There will inevitably be strong opposition to the de-radicalization of the Palestinians, most notably by the progressive left, Islamists and other enemies of Western democracy. But without de-radicalization, Palestinians will never be able to liberate themselves or make peace with Israel.
The Hamas dictatorship opposes the Jewish state, has for many years violently attacked its citizens, and is therefore Israel’s mortal enemy. For Israel to achieve peace with these Palestinian enemies, their masters—and their adherents—must be defeated and pacified, just as Germany and Japan were in WWII. Gazan Palestinians must see that Israel has assumed control of their destiny, just as the Germans and Japanese realized with regard to the United States after unconditionally surrendering.
After bringing the Hamas dictatorship to heel, Israel and its allies can begin a three-phase process of pacification.
Phase One: The trial of Hamas rulers: Top leaders of the terrorist group should be subject to severe punishment for war crimes, just as were rulers of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Phase Two: Demilitarization: After the Allies’ victory in WWII, the military forces of Germany and Japan were disarmed and disbanded. Thus, Israel and its allies will have to disarm and disband not just Hamas’s armed wing, but also those of other Palestinian factions, such as Islamic Jihad.
Phase Three: The reconstitution of Palestinian politics: After occupying Germany, the Allies disbanded and banned the Nazi Party and all its affiliate associations. Likewise, Hamas and all other political factions in Gaza should be broken up and outlawed. While Hamas and other Gaza factions may differ ideologically, they are all opposed to the existence of Israel.
Palestinians should be allowed to form new parties and organizations, but only if they recognize the right of Israel and the Jewish people to exist alongside them. Elections for a new Palestinian government in Gaza will take place eventually, just as they did in Germany and Japan, but priority will first be given to establishing the rule of law—non-existent there now.
Begin a radical re-education process to emphasize pluralism, tolerance, rule of law and peaceful coexistence. After Gaza is successfully demilitarized and the hostile Palestinian factions disbanded, Israel and its allies will be able to support a society based on humanitarian values, similar to the post-WWII transformation in Germany.
One de-Nazification technique the Allies used was requiring ordinary Germans to visit the concentration camps to view Nazi atrocities. Likewise, average Gazans will benefit from learning the truth of the Holocaust, as well as of the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 and other war crimes committed by the terrorist group.
Israel and its allies will also want to disband or take control of all media sources in Gaza, just as the United States did in post-WWII Germany. New school curricula—absent the corrupt United Nations Relief and Works Agency—will be needed for Gazan youth, eliminating antisemitic, pro-jihadist content, as has already been achieved in several Arab countries. Finally, just as the Allies imposed strict censorship of German media to prevent the re-emergence of Nazi ideology, so too will Israel and its allies want to limit information content in Gaza to prevent a resurgence of jihadism or antisemitism.
Israel and its allies must also promote economic prosperity through rigorously supervised seed funding of viable, scalable commerce. Economic rebuilding accompanied the remaking of the German and Japanese societies. Gaza should be no different. Something akin to the post-WWII Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe should be devised for Gaza, which would include investments by those who support a new, de-radicalized Gaza—excluding pro-Islamist regimes, such as Iran, Turkey, or Qatar.
Remaking Gaza must involve Arab states with which Israel and the United States have diplomatic relations. Just as other countries joined the United States in remaking Germany and Japan, the involvement of Arab countries will be vital to bridge cultural gaps and avoid accusations of Western colonialism, which enemies will no doubt conjure up. Ideally, a multinational force composed of personnel from Arab states could oversee internal Palestinian security following a brief Israeli occupation.
This makeover can also serve as a model for inspiring Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to create peace and prosperity. If two million-plus Palestinians of Gaza can be brought to abandon their self-destructive culture—while acquiring civil liberties and prosperity—such an inspiration could motivate those under the Palestinian Authority to embrace the otherwise impossible dream of peace between the two neighboring peoples—the elusive two-state solution.
Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were once the biggest threats to Western democracies in history. Both sought conquest and genocide. The Gaza Strip is eerily similar. Its Hamas rulers preach an ideology that promotes a global Islamist caliphate and genocide against the Jewish people and other “infidels.”
Today, both Germany and Japan have transformed themselves—into mature democracies, prosperous economies and key U.S. allies. Surely Palestinian society can be reformed similarly. One thing is certain: Without a complete political and cultural makeover, the Palestinians will never be able or willing to make peace with Israel.
Originally published by Facts and Logic About the Middle East.