Since Hama's stealth October 7, invasion ransacked 22 towns, left 1,200 Israelis dead, and another 240 kidnapped, Israel's military response to "destroy Hamas" has transformed the Gaza Strip into a mass grave. The Jerusalem Chronicle reported 34 Israeli soldiers have also been killed in Gaza.
As of November 10, Israel's precision-guided air strikes have claimed the majority of the 11,078 Palestinian lives lost and 27,490 persons injured according to Gaza's Health Ministry. In one month, Palestinian deaths in Gaza surpassed the number of Ukrainians killed (9,701) since Russia's barbarous invasion began 19 months ago.
Hamas's surprise incursion shattered Israel's sense of fortress collective security. " Shin Bet's intelligence failures, the IDF's late military response, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's stunning incompetence have led to calls by Israeli protesters and families of the kidnapped victims for his resignation. Netanyahu lied to the public, claiming he wasn't informed of Hamas's border threat. But it was Netanyahu who refused to meet IDF officials before October 7, to brief him on a possible HAMAS breach of the Gaza security barrier.
Netanyahu's new policy to "destroy Hamas" comes after 15 years of coddling HAMAS rather than eradicating it. Times of Israel reporter Tal Schneider noted, in 2019 Netanyahu told a Likud Party faction, "Those who oppose a Palestinian state should support the transfer of funds to Gaza because maintaining the separation between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state." Netanyahu, she said, "upgraded" Hamas from a terror group to an organization Israel held indirect negotiations with via Egypt to allow suitcases of millions in Qatari cash to enter Gaza since 2018. He did so to maintain Israel's tenuous ceasefire with Hamas leaders.
Netanyahu's 15-year triangulation strategy of playing the "Hamas card" to undermine the PLO's efforts to achieve a "two-state solution" finally blew up. The fallout landed in the Pentagon's Situation Room and on Joe Biden's desk early Saturday morning on October 7.
The 4th Hamas-Israeli conflict is now an albatross around Joe Biden's neck that could sink his already lethargic 2024 presidential candidacy. Biden committed $14 billion dollars of aid without imposing any constraints on Israel's corrupt would-be dictator. Netanyahu's attempts to curb the Supreme Court's powers to overturn Knesset legislation and government decisions would create a right-wing, ultra-orthodox theocracy with "King Juda Ben" sitting on the throne. Tens of thousands of Israelis faced down water cannons and mounted police the last eight months to oppose his power grab.
Netanyahu refused Biden's request not to launch a full-scale invasion of Gaza; refused to craft a military response limiting the killing of innocent civilians; refused to allow fuel to enter Gaza from the Raffa crossing and refused 1 to 2-day "humanitarian pauses" in Israel's air strikes to allow the distribution of food, water, and medical supplies. He did so despite State Secretary Blinken showing up in Tel Aviv begging with a bowl in one hand and a pike in the other.
On November 6, for the first time, Netanyahu told ABC News what he has known from the beginning.
To decipher Netanyahu's cryptic message, Ron Dermer, Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs and Netanyahu's War Cabinet member appeared on MSNBC's Katy Tur show asserting that,
What New Black Nationalist heard from Dermer, is that Israel will be an on-the-ground "occupying" state actor exercising "control" over Gaza, not a so-called "belligerent" effectuating a "siege" in Gaza but not "controlling" it as Israel's Supreme Court has ruled. Presumably, after HAMAS is liquidated a "rump" Palestinian Authority that doesn't harbor terrorists will administrate Gaza as contemplated by the Oslo Accords, until Israel decides Palestinians are ready for statehood. In the open-ended interim period, according to Dermer, a reformed, and malleable PLO will preside over a portfolio of municipal and policing duties. But this time the Gaza of which Dermer speaks will be a post-ethnically cleansed occupied territory that is geographically smaller and substantially depopulated.
This draft of The Biden-Netanyahu One-and-a-Half State Solution & the Second Nakba argues these signature events chronicled in blood and the law of talion foreclose on the Oslo Accords' thirty-year charade promoting the myth of a "two-state solution" between Israelis and Palestinians.
New Black Nationalists further assert that Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu's purported military objective to "liquidate" Hamas is operationally a campaign to "ethnically cleanse" the Gaza Strip. We contend that the essential thrust of the Biden-Netanyahu Doctrine calls for the forced evacuation and depopulation of Palestinians from North and Central Gaza.
In New Black Nationalists' view, Israel is visiting a level of devastation on Gaza's infrastructure, institutions, and Palestinian population to render it virtually uninhabitable and ungovernable for an extended period of time. In the interim, their reconfiguration of the Gaza Strip contemplates the establishment of a security zone in Central and North Gaza in which the right of return will be denied to those who evacuated the area.
The Biden-Netanyahu Doctrine envisages a compromise embodied in a new Sykes-Picot agreement. The former's design contemplates a rump Palestinian governing council of a geographically smaller and depopulated region whose powers would not exceed those granted to the Palestinian Authority by the Oslo Accords: the latter's grandiloquent utopia envisions a thriving, independent, and democratic Palestine resembling a Florentine city-state of lights and commerce on the Mediterranean.
In this process, NBN does not foresee Israel acceding to a new Gaza Palestinian territory of more than one-and-a-half million people. Thus, NBN's predictive model raises a valid question concerning the fate of Gaza's other 800,000 residents. In this respect, we believe Biden and Blinken are turning the screws on several Arab countries receiving U.S. foreign aid and those countries that have "normalized" relations with Israel to accept small numbers of Palestinian refugees. As we will discuss, on October 20, Biden formally requested funds from the U.S. Congress to relocate Gaza Palestinians
The worse-case scenario envisages the expulsion of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, with no right to return, and Gaza's total resettlement by Israelis. NBN believes that possibility is a bridge too far. Even Israel as a "state of nuclear weapons exception" couldn't get away with prosecuting a total genocide in broad daylight, although as we shall explain, they very well may try.
That said, NBN posits that Israel's strategic considerations are threefold: resolving the "Gaza Question" as a secure border and national security issue, continuing new settlement construction and the annexation of the West Bank, and concluding Tel Aviv's "normalization" negotiations with Saudi Arabia. The geo-strategic calculus for the United States is maintaining Israel as the preeminent military power to police the Middle East on behalf of American Empire and sustaining Israel's status as the only nuclear-armed power in the region. What Hamas's incursion into Israel changed was Biden and Blinken's illusions that completing Israel-Saudi normalization talks would serve as a default mitigation device to defuse the Palestinian timebomb.
The Second Nakba
Beyond the slaughter of 11,078 Palestinians in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported that as of October 30, 2023, 1.4 million out of Gaza's 2.3 million population are now internally displaced. Further, more than 900,000 Palestinians have evacuated Northern Gaza, to its Southern border area. On November 9th and 10th alone, 100,000 left Northern Gaza. In NBN's view, many of these evacuated Palestinians will never return to North Gaza.
On November 5, the IDF encircled Gaza City, whose population of 590,481 makes it the largest city in occupied Palestine. Over the next month, the world will witness the live-streamed decimation of the beating heart of Palestinian resistance. The raising of Gaza City and its bombing into a pile of rubble is a deliberate attempt to destroy Gaza's vital cultural, religious, and economic center. Israel is engaging in the systematic destruction of Gaza's critical infrastructure and institutions. Israeli airstrikes have targeted 200,000 houses, 80 government buildings, 47 Mosques, 203 schools and only one hospital is open now in North Gaza.
The essence of the Second Nakba is a tragic double entendre. Seventy percent of the Palestinians who are being bombed and terrorized out of their homes today by Israel are part of the displaced 750.000 refugees and their descendants from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. They were forced to leave their land and homes in historic Palestine during and after the war either by Israeli soldiers, the unlawful seizure of their property by the new Jewish authorities, and abandonment of their homes to flee the war.
The Myth of the Two-State Solution
After his October 18, visit with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Joe Biden told a Tel Aviv press conference,
"When this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view, it has to be a two-state solution." Biden's October call for a "two-state solution" was endorsed by the Arab League in Cairo. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did the same in a meeting with PLO President Abu Mazen, as did French President Macon on a visit with Egyptian President Sisi. NBN understands government leaders cover their asses by often endorsing unworkable policies. But many progressive activists and political parties internationally from the center to the left are also supporting a "two-state solution." Some suggest the October 7 war underscores why a "two-state solution" is urgently needed.
New Black Nationalists think not. Indeed, we are baffled at these groups' logic. Since the Oslo talks began thirty years ago in 1993, they have never produced a single agreement on the major issues of permanent state borders, the right of five million Palestinians to return, Israeli settlement construction, or the status of Jerusalem. Why, we ask, would Israel alter its position on these issues they have always opposed? Palestinians are in a weaker position today than they have been before.
As Palestinian intellectual Edward Said observed in 1995, "Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion was always clear. There is no example in history of a people saying we agree to renounce our country, let another people come and settle here and outnumber us. The two-state solution will create an unacceptable security threat to Israel. An armed Arab state, presumably in the West Bank, would give Israel less than 10 miles of strategic depth at its narrowest point. The Oslo Accords are an instrument of Palestinian surrender, a Palestinian Versailles.”
For Israel and its U.S. sponsors, the Oslo Accords was a highly successful "bait-and-switch" enterprise. It began in 1993 as a seedy exchange when Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's "right to exist." In return, Israel outsourced its occupation's administrative duties to the PLO without surrendering a scintilla of sovereignty to Arafat or his successor, Abu Mazen. “When the Palestinian authorities jail newspaper editors and torture prisoners," wrote Said, "they are merely doing Israel's dirty work. Israel and the Western governments want Arafat to repress certain elements of his society. They want him to be a dictator."
But, for the sake of argument let's assume Biden persuaded Netanyahu to accept a 'two-state solution.' It would never fly with the Israeli people who were opposed to a "two-state solution" before the October 7, Hamas attack. That opposition has since calcified.
Israelis don't trust the PLO as a partner to conduct a state-building exercise. Nor is there enthusiasm for ceding land in the West Bank back to Palestinians even among Israelis opposed to expanding settlements. Better to control the land as a security buffer. Israel's old center-left Labor Party coalition that supported the Oslo peace process in the 1990s is now a decidedly minority voting bloc in a right-wing and ultra-orthodox adjacent country.
Worse still, Israel's fastest-growing demographic is Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are 13% of the population, and the tip of the spear of the illegal government-supported settler movement. From 1993 to 2023, Israel illegally doubled the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank from 111,600 to 224,669. The total number West Bank Israeli settlers now exceeds 500,000, and another 200,000 reside in Jerusalem.
Increasingly, ultra-orthodox Jews are supporting Haredim religious parties, which are part of Netanyahu's hard right governing coalition. Ultra-orthodox women's fertility rate is 6.5 compared to 2.5 for other Jewish women. Secular Jewish women not only have lower fertility rates but 15% of Jewish women between the ages of 18 and 44 self-identify as gay. If demographics are destiny, Israel's secular and center-left electoral bases that supported the peace process are rapidly diminishing. Tel Aviv is its last redoubt. NBN believes Israel's ship has sailed on the "two-state solution."
Oslo was a "confidence scheme" that afforded Israel the time to carve up 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians into 224 walled-in separate "cantons" with 65 population control checkpoints. Palestinians were banned from driving on Jewish-only highways. Palestinian travel, work, and building permits were restricted. The Palestinian Authority has no power to issue identity papers. A Palestinian not in the Israeli registry simply does not exist. In short, the "Oslo years" allowed Israel time to perfect the technology of a Digital Apartheid state.
The Biden-Netanyahu One-and-a-Half State Solution
In the past two weeks, relations between the Biden administration and Netanyahu have hit a rough patch over the scale and speed of their ethnic cleansing project and what comes next. What's clear is that Netanyahu and Biden believe Hamas's attack has provided them with a rare opportunity to dramatically alter the long-term dynamics of the "Israeli-Palestinian predicament." There will be no return to the status quo ante, but they have different visions of a new Levantine order.
If there is a debate to be had it is between Biden's phony notion of a "two-state solution" versus some of Israel's defense department and intelligence hawks who want Gaza to become a Jewish settlement zone.
On November 8, Blinken recovered his spine and rebuffed Netanyahu stating in no uncertain terms that,
“The only way to ensure that this crisis never happens again is to begin setting the conditions for durable peace and security and to frame our diplomatic efforts now with that in mind. The United States believes key elements should include no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. Not now, not after the war,” Blinken added. "No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza.”
In truth, Israel lacks the troop strength for a long-term military occupation of Gaza. Israel cannot pacify one million or 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel cannot govern Gaza without an intermediary. Thus, Netanyahu and the Biden Administration have agreed on a minimalist strategy to irreparably "break Gaza" and reconfigure it as a depopulated territory. The destruction that has already occurred makes it impossible for 2.3 million people to remain in Gaza. Over 46% of the housing units have been destroyed and we haven't reached the midpoint of the fighting yet.
As Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN noted, "The Biden administration isn't just giving a green light for ethnic cleansing—it's bankrolling it. Gaslighting Americans into facilitating long-held Israeli plans to depopulate Gaza under the cover of 'humanitarian aid' is a cruel and grotesque hoax."
On October 20, 2023, the White House sent a request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 emergency supplemental funding to the House of Representatives. The request included logistical, infrastructure, and other material support to make it possible to house displaced Palestinians from Gaza in neighboring countries. In part the request states:
"These resources would support displaced, and conflict-affected civilians, including Palestinian refugees in Gaza and the West Bank, and to [sic] address potential needs of Gazans fleeing to neighboring countries. This would include food and nonfood items, healthcare, emergency shelter support, water and sanitation assistance, and emergency protection. This would also include potential critical humanitarian infrastructure costs needed for the refugee population to provide access to basic, life-sustaining support."
At the same time, Israel's defense, intelligence, and foreign policy establishment weighed in on the question of what comes next after Gaza's ethnic cleansing. The following comments from Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, and Giora Eiland, Reservist Major General and former head of Israel's National Security Council clearly demonstrate Israel's intent to "create" a new reality on the ground in Gaza. We have also included a brief review of a leaked Israel Ministry of Intelligence document outlining contingency plans recommending the permanent transfer of all Gaza Palestinians to Egypt. Think tanks and individuals closely associated with Netanyahu and his Likud Party like the Meshgav Institute and the Settlement Headquarters are circulating planning documents principally advocating the total resettlement of Gaza Palestinians in Egypt.
The Mekomit website that published the Ministry of Intelligence memo/study provided a summary of the document that warrants review. In many ways it tracks with Israel's military actions and their narrative to justify their designs for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza. It also identifies some of the mine fields dotting the battlespace they are trying to navigate to prevent the project from blowing up.
New Black Nationalists believe the general thrust of the Ministry of Intelligence document represents the consensus view of Netanyahu, the Likud Party, the IDF, and Israel's hard right. It recommends that Israel "evacuate Gaza's population to Sinai Desert" during the war: create tent cities and new cities in northern Sinai that will absorb the expelled population, and then "create a sterile area of several kilometers inside Egypt and not allow the population to return to activity or residence near the Israeli border." The U.S. has a critical role to play in mobilizing support for the project.
The transfer plan is divided into several stages: In the first stage, the population of Gaza must be evacuated "evacuates to the south," while the air strikes are concentrated in the northern Gaza Strip. In the second stage, a ground incursion into Gaza will begin, leading to the occupation of the entire Gaza Strip, from north to south, and clearing out Hamas fighters' underground tunnel network." With the occupation of Gaza, civilians in Gaza will move into Egyptian territory, leave Gaza, and will not be allowed to return permanently. "It is important to keep southbound traffic arteries usable, in order to allow the evacuation of the civilian population towards Rafah," the document states.
To promote the transfer plan in the West "in a way that does not incite and blacken Israel" the memo recommended presenting the expulsion of Gazans to Egypt as a humanitarian necessity that will lead to "fewer casualties among the civilian population than would be expected if the population remains."
The document presents two other alternatives regarding Gaza's civilians the day after the war. The first is to import the Palestinian Authority regime into Gaza, and the second is to create another local Arab government as an alternative to Hamas. Both alternatives, it is claimed, are undesirable from a strategic and security perspective for the State of Israel, and will not provide a sufficient deterrent message, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon, in response to the Hamas massacre near the Gaza Strip.
The authors of the study claimed that bringing the Palestinian Authority into Gaza was the "most dangerous alternative" of the three because it could "lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Some Concluding Thoughts on a Regional War and Hamas
Since Hamas's assault across the "Iron Wall," much has been said about the conflict being a tripwire to a larger Middle East conflagration. Low-level rocket exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon have been ongoing since October 7. More concerning are the 40 drone and rocket attacks that have injured 46 U.S. soldiers in Eastern Syria. On November 8, U.S forces bombed facilities in Eastern Syria that were reportedly manned by pro-Iranian backed militia. The U.S. Navy carrier group parked off the coast of Yemen, in the Aden Sea has also come under multiple attacks.
In NBN's view, there will not be a major confrontation between Israel and the much better-armed and trained Hezbollah forces in Lebanon that are supported by Iran. The radical clerics need to preserve Hezbollah forces as a check on Israel if a larger existential threat to Iran materializes. This is not to say that Hezbollah takes all its orders from Tehran. In our view Hassan Nasrallah, is the most popular cleric in the Middle East today. The Arab Street paused when he spoke for the first time on Gaza on November 3. “Some say I’m going to announce that we have entered the battle. We already entered the battle on Oct. 8.” Argued that Hezbollah's cross-border strikes have pulled away Israeli forces that would otherwise be focused on Hamas in Gaza, Nasrallah signaled, his powerful Hezbollah army is being held in obeyance for the moment.
With American power weakening in the Middle East, both Iran and Saudi Arabia are actively probing each other's perimeters while exploring arrangements that solidifies their regional spheres of influence. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's first phone call since establishing ties in a China-brokered rapprochement came five days after Hamas's attack. Getting drawn into the regional vortex by the magnetic force field of events or a simple miscalculation could scuttle Iran and the Saudis strategic regional initiatives. Saudi Arabia in particular, wants to conclude Riyad's normalization talks with Israel. Expanding their economic platform, and more importantly, fulfilling a condition needed to ink a comprehensive defense agreement with the United States guaranteeing its security is at the top of MBS's agenda.
If Hamas's deadly attack was meant to force the Arab world to refocus its attention on Palestinians fight for self-determination against Israel's Apartheid state, they succeeded beyond measure. If Hamas's goal was to disrupt the momentum to finalize the Israeli-Saudi Arabia "normalization talks," their gamble worked. On October 14, the Saudis announced that "normalization" talks with Israel were on hold.
If Hamas knew their attack would provoke the ruthless and near annihilation of Gaza by Israeli airstrikes and the death of tens of thousands of Palestinians, would they risk it? Did Hamas make a raw strategic calculation to sacrifice a cohort of their population to keep the flame of liberation alive, when its candlelight was flickering in the wind?
In one form or another, Hamas will survive the blowback of Israel's retribution. Many of its fighters and leaders will be killed resisting Israel's invasion. Their days as the governing authority in Gaza will soon end. But its long-standing ties across the Middle East among state and non-state actors that bridge the Sunni-Shia divide will enable Hamas to seek sanctuary, funding, and operational support. Hamas is well-schooled in the arts of shadow government and exile.
But like the PLO, Hamas must be called to account. What has its leadership left the Palestinian people in the wake of the Second Nakba? Hope? A plan? A unified resistance movement, or more faction?
Despite being abandoned by most Arab regimes, cynically manipulated by others, and reviled in the West as the font of terrorism, the Palestinian people refuse to relinquish their claim to self-determination. For thousands who remain in Gaza City despite being surrounded by Israeli soldiers that will bring death to their doorstep, they choose to risk death rather than suffer the indignation of being forced out of their homes again to never return. Not particularly well served by their own leaders, the Palestinian people continue to struggle with dignity and brio. They are the beating heart of resistance that pulses on the Arab Street and a life force that radiates wherever freedom confronts despotism.