An Arab Mandate for Palestine

Sooner or later, the war in Gaza will end.

Hamas’s leaders hope that when it does, they will emerge from their tunnels to raise their green banners over the rubble — a symbolic victory for “Resistance” in the face of the misery they sowed on Oct. 7.

Israel’s security leaders hope that when it does, Gaza will be temporarily divided into a patchwork of subregions administered by local clans known to Israeli security services. The Israeli military will then operate in the territory for an indefinite period on a counterterrorism mission, assume greater control along the border with Egypt and deradicalize the population.

President Biden hopes that “a revitalized Palestinian Authority” will return to govern the territory from which it was forcibly ejected by Hamas after a brief civil war in 2007, with a view toward a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.

None of this is likely to happen.

Israel will make very sure Hamas’s leaders don’t emerge from the war alive; any sort of victory parade by the group would almost certainly meet a swift and gory end.

An indefinite Israeli military occupation of Gaza would generate an insurgency, bleed Israel of money and personnel and eventually prove politically and diplomatically unsustainable.

The Palestinian Authority is too weak to govern Gaza; revitalizing it would require not only deposing Mahmoud Abbas, its octogenarian president, but also rooting out its systemic corruption, a goal that has eluded every past effort at reform.

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