Israel: The Lost State

Following Israeli media studies, statements, and discussions, two impressions emerge. First, there is flexibility in accepting diverse ideas from decision-making bodies, which simultaneously causes confusion among these decision-makers due to contradictory ideas and varying solutions. Given the complexities of these issues, I will present a series of ideas that Israelis are debating to confirm that Israel is a state “entering a phase of political wandering” after the initial geographical wandering during the time of the Pharaohs. It’s worth noting that the geographical scope of both wanderings is almost the same.

Firstly, regarding the goals of the war on Gaza: More than 80% of the experts I follow, both in the West and East, say Netanyahu’s war objectives contradict each other. Eliminating Hamas would lead to the deaths of most Israeli captives or a large percentage of them, thus undermining the second objective. The precision of this dilemma is evidenced by the fact that most hostage rescue attempts have resulted in the deaths of those being rescued.

The hostage dilemma is the first indicator of the difficulty in finding a middle ground between the first goal (eliminating Hamas) and the second goal (rescuing hostages). These two goals are irreconcilable.

Secondly, various studies estimate that the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza (now or later) would allow the resistance to regain strength in the region. If the withdrawal happens soon, indicators suggest the resistance is still sufficiently organized to reestablish itself and unify the sector as a whole. However, if Israel remains in the region for a long period, multiple risks arise:

a. There is a possibility of the conflict escalating to a regional level, despite it currently being in a “semi-regional” phase. The axis of resistance extends from Lebanon to Yemen, Iraq, and Gaza. Netanyahu did not anticipate Yemen and Iraq playing significant roles in the conflict, nor did he foresee Hezbollah moving beyond symbolic threats, all of which have defied his expectations.

b. The continued presence of the Israeli army in Gaza will impose economic, political, and military burdens. Israel has already incurred economic losses totaling approximately $60 billion. Economic growth has plummeted from +19.4% at the beginning of 2022 to -19.4% in early 2024, with exports declining by 18.2% and imports by 42%. Government expenditures due to military efforts have surged by 88.1%, while investment inflows have plummeted by 67%. Furthermore, the state supports around 200,000 displaced settlers, and 300,000 public and private sector employees have been reassigned to military sectors, disrupting the labor market. The longer the war persists, the deeper the crisis becomes. Notably, Israel’s technology sector, once a source of pride, has lost nearly 60% of its investment allure.

c. The current bloody conflict will increase Israel’s political isolation. Protests against Israel are erupting worldwide, particularly on university campuses. Israeli officials face international courts, and diplomatic relations are increasingly severed or ambassadors recalled, with growing votes in favor of recognizing Palestine.

d. Continued conflict deepens internal divisions within Israeli society (between ultra-Orthodox and secular factions, military and political leaders, etc.), exacerbating instability in Israel and the West Bank. Israel’s instability index has surged by 160%, ranking it 171st out of 193 countries, alongside Mozambique.

e. Dialogue between political and military leaders has deteriorated in a manner unprecedented in Israeli political discourse. Descriptions by figures like Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, or Benny Gantz’s office manager of Netanyahu reveal palpable tension among elite ruling circles.

This suggests that Israel is torn between its capacity to endure the burdens of ongoing combat and the consequences of ending the war, which include societal frustration, bolstering the resistance’s status, and tarnishing the image of the Israeli army, among other long-term strategic implications.

Thirdly, regarding Authority instead of Resistance: After Israel’s failed attempt to extend security coordination into Gaza and invent a tribal authority in Gaza, efforts to find an alternative to the resistance that garners acceptance regionally, internationally, and among Palestinians have also failed. The inability to reach consensus on the nature of this authority suggests that holding elections would likely return resistance to power, as affirmed by Palestinian public opinion surveys. Attempts to sow discord through Oslo Accords guardians only led to their arrest by the resistance, signifying another dead end for Israel, which is incapable of finding an alternative to the resistance or eradicating it.

Fourthly, the Strategic Solution: Israel’s biggest problem is its lack of a solution to the Palestinian issue. Forced displacement has failed miserably, while a one-state solution would mean Palestinians would dominate the single-state parliament due to demographic and population growth ratios. The South African apartheid model would exacerbate instability rather than resolve it. Meanwhile, the two-state solution is opposed vehemently by Israel’s right-wing authorities, leaving Israel trapped between demographic problems and the absence of a solution, deeply concerned about increasing international support for a two-state resolution, which could trigger widespread unrest within Israeli society or face international pressure if rejected.

What does this mean? It appears Netanyahu has decided to sacrifice hostages or most of them and continue the battle because, in his view, it’s the lesser evil. However, both he and the Americans fear the conflict may escalate further, unsettling the regional situation to the point where foreseeing a clear future becomes nearly impossible, leading to renewed confusion.

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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