Wed 22 May 2024 6:11 pm - Jerusalem Time

The Washington Post reveals the features of an American plan to end the war in Gaza

Washington Post commentator David Ignatius revealed the features of an American plan to end the war in Gaza. He said that all the elements necessary to stop the war are present on paper, and he asked: “Tell me, how will this war end?” From the beginning, this has been the painful question with the conflict in Gaza. After seven terrifying months, the answer is still far away. But there are features shaping its end.”

He added that the features of the final outcome of the war became clearer after a trip made by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his deputy for Middle East affairs, Brett McGuirk, over the weekend to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The writer obtained the topics of the discussions in which they participated from knowledgeable sources. He said that the United States did not draw a road map to end the war, but rather it has a set of traffic lights and speed limits, all of which do not indicate the end of the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the beginning of the mysterious “next day” phase.

Ignatius pointed to a new obstacle on the way to a solution, which is the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, to submit a request to issue arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and Hamas leaders, in a manner that balanced morally between the two parties, which prompted President Joe Biden to describe the step as outrageous. An Israeli source told the writer that the International Criminal Court “changed everything and the way we will understand it.”

A new obstacle has emerged on the way to a solution, which is the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, to submit a request to issue arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, in a manner that is morally balanced between the two parties.

Ignatius says that the easiest way to describe how to reduce the pace of war is to explain the initial understandings between the parties, which were discussed behind doors and were not expressed publicly. He pointed out a group of points.

First: The war appears to have been contained, and has not expanded to the region, as some feared after the Hamas attacks on October 7. This is due to the quiet talks between the United States and Iran, including a meeting that McGuirk held last week in Amman with the new Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, whose predecessor died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with President Ebrahim Raisi.

During these meetings, the United States provided warnings about the way it would respond to any Iranian escalation. These warnings were reinforced by the American response to attacks carried out by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and Syria, and its decision to stop operations against American forces in these two countries. The Houthis, who are supported by Iran, continue their almost daily attacks on ships, but they face responses from US forces in the Red Sea. The channel, along with Iran, produced some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program, which Tehran was freed from after Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the nuclear treaty signed in 2015. Iran agreed in private discussions to suspend uranium enrichment operations at the level of 60% and to limit its arsenal of fuel enriched above this level. the level.

Iran also limited the installation of centrifuges and agreed to continue cooperation with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said that a sign of the Iranian-American dialogue is the crash of President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter on Sunday, as Iran requested the United States’ help in determining the location of the crashed helicopter and sending a map showing the possible location of its crash, according to an informed official. American officials believe that Raisi's death will not leave an impact on Iranian movements, internally and externally, because they believe that he was not the candidate to succeed the old spiritual guide of the Islamic Republic. They believe that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's successor will be his son Mojtaba, who is seen as an acceptable figure by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Second: Israeli leaders reached a consensus regarding the final attack on the four remaining Hamas brigades in Rafah. Instead of the heavy attacks with two military divisions that Israel has considered sending for weeks, the attack will be limited and American officials believe it will lead to few civilian casualties, and for this reason Biden will not oppose it. About 800,000 of the approximately 1.5 million who took refuge in Rafah have left the city, according to American officials.

Third: Although Hamas will remain in Gaza, Israeli officials believe that they have destroyed 75% of its capabilities, and the operation in Rafah will lead to the destruction of its remaining capabilities. The writer says that Hamas apparently decided not to fight and melted among the population and began a guerrilla war. This will remain a headache for Israel, which plans to continue regular raids in Gaza, as it is now doing in the West Bank. Certainly, the latter may be a model for progress forward in Gaza.

Fourth: Israeli military leaders agreed to the “Next Day” strategy, which will include Palestinian security forces selected from the Palestinian security forces in Gaza, who receive salaries from the National Authority. The force will be supervised by a council of Gaza notables with support from Arab countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Some Israeli officials, but not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accept the idea of some kind of relationship between this force and the national authority in Ramallah. An important problem is that Hamas negotiators told Egypt that they could accept the ruling entity in Gaza as part of “transitional arrangements” and appeared in drafts of the ceasefire agreement overseen by the United States, according to an official familiar with the matter.

Fifth: Saudi Arabia agreed to the “almost final” draft of a security agreement with the United States, which includes the normalization of relations with Israel. In a summary of Sullivan’s talks with the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, on Sunday, it was stated that the Kingdom expects, as part of the agreement, a “credible path” towards a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue, in a softening of the previous Saudi tone.

The Saudi role will be important for any final solution to the Gaza war. The beginning of the end of the war will be the ceasefire agreement and the release of prisoners. There has been progress here, with US officials believing talks will resume this week, even as Israel plans an attack on Rafah.

Ignatius says that the elements of the agreement that might end the war are on paper. Because Netanyahu's extremist government is reluctant to agree to every detail, the final solution may lie with a future Israeli government. As you can see from afar, the outlines of the exit from the slope are clear.


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The Washington Post reveals the features of an American plan to end the war in Gaza