Gaza Can’t Be Peaceful Without Jews
Living ‘side by side’ doesn’t mean much if only one side is expected to do it.
President Biden has declared a set of principles for Israel’s role in postwar Gaza: “no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory.” A fifth no is implicit: no Jews in Gaza. The administration hasn’t insisted that a future Palestinian government must allow Jews and Arabs to live “side by side in peace,” as they do in Israel.
The idea of Jews living in postwar Gaza may seem improbable, but Gaza hasn’t always been Jew-free. In modern times, a significant community existed as far back as the 1500s. In the late 19th century, while the region was under Ottoman rule, a new wave of Jews moved in and established a flourishing trade community. Most left after the Arab riots in 1929. When Israel recaptured Gaza from Egypt in 1967, thousands of Jews moved there, establishing the communities that came to be known as Gush Katif. Israel’s army pulled out of Gaza in 2005, taking the civilians with it.
It’s surely true that Jews couldn’t live for long in the postwar Gaza Mr. Biden envisions, under a “revitalized Palestinian Authority.” But that demonstrates that his vision isn’t one of a peaceful, deradicalized entity.
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