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The Actions that Israel Should Undertake to Win Diplomatically

Policy Paper

Following the outpouring of sympathy and support after the Hamas pogrom, Israel is now internationally isolated and confronted with intense discord with the U.S. The U.S. avoided imposing a veto on the Security Council resolution advocating a ceasefire during Ramadan. Furthermore, Vice President Harris remarked that Israel's operations in Rafah could bear consequences, implicitly suggesting the potential curtailment of arms and military supplies to Israel.

This rift with the U.S. has been magnified by various external factors, including the looming election. The U.S., in an unconstructive step even in view of its own goals, effectively rewarded Hamas, which promptly endorsed the Security Council's ceasefire proposal. 

Despite these challenges, Israel has the capacity to navigate the political-diplomatic field in a manner that would significantly bolster its geo-strategic stance.

A Paradigm Shift is Needed: The Primary Battleground is now Diplomatic

Roughly two weeks after the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip, Hamas ceased to function as the governing entity in Gaza and, within a few months, ceased to function as an ordinary military force as well, aside from four significantly weaker battalions in Rafah.

The challenge currently posed by Hamas is that of guerrilla warfare, an enduring and formidable task that could lead to disheartenment. Nonetheless, IDF's steadfastness is anticipated to eventually degrade the intensity of combat to a level conducive to initiating a new governance structure in Gaza (we will explore the grounds for optimism on this matter in a forthcoming article).

Isolated island Israel sharks

Such steadfastness also hinges on Israel's ability to generate international credit for warfare. Success in the diplomatic arena would extend Israel's military strategic options, increase the likeliness of a hostage deal, and design the post-conflict trends in accordance with its security prerequisites.

Therefore, circumventing diplomatic isolation becomes imperative. Despite calls in Israel for the relentless continuation of military action in Rafah at all costs, the nation is militarily dependent on the U.S. , and losing its support could spell catastrophe.

Israel is performing poorly in the diplomatic and political arenas. The war necessitates complex complementary maneuvers, yet Israeli foreign apparatus is in a state of weakness. The tension between the Israeli Prime Minister and the American President places a significant strain on Israel's diplomatic and diplomatic capital.

How Can Israel Secure Victory in the Diplomatic arena?

Israel must adopt a multifaceted strategy, acting on several fronts concurrently.

1. Presenting an Agenda for the Day After

Formulating an Israeli agenda is pivotal for managing international pressure. In the wake of the sympathy following October 7, Israel missed the opportunity to promote its agenda, rebuffing the proposition of a Revitalized Palestinian Authority. Instead, presently, it confronts the prospect of global uncoordinated recognition of a Palestinian state, backed by American diplomatic efforts.

Atchalta's analysis concludes that any Israeli policy should rest on three pillars: opposition to a fully fledged sovereign Palestinian state, insistence on Israeli security oversight in the perimeter of the Gaza Strip, and the delegation of civilian governance to a Palestinian body.

As previously detailed, Atchalta posits that Israel should champion an agenda aimed at establishing a revitalized PA as a permanent status. Such an authority would address Israel's concerns and interests, offering a trade-off: limiting certain sovereignty attributes of the Palestinian 'state' that could jeopardize Israeli security, while, in exchange, the Palestinian 'state' would gain a suite of powers and authorities, heretofore restricted by the Oslo Accords. This arrangement would include a security package, fostering an international coalition against Iran (read more here)

2. Preventing a Humanitarian Crisis: a Tactical War Goal  

Israel must exert every effort to avert a humanitarian crisis and famine in Gaza. Despite Israeli unofficial calls for withholding humanitarian aid until the release of hostages, such statements have proven to be counterproductive. The dire humanitarian situation in Gaza impedes the achievement of war objectives.

The primary cause for the 'humanitarian debacle' is the absence of an infrastructure for distributing humanitarian aid. Israel's failure to present a political agenda for the day after that would guide the make-up of such an infrastructure, coupled with its unsuccessful attempt to circumvent the PA by soliciting local leaders to oversee civilian aid, led to an anticipated failure.

The stark reality is that establishing a humanitarian infrastructure in Gaza, independent of Hamas and UNRWA, leaves only two feasible options: Israeli management of food distribution or collaboration with factions associated with the PA. Given the complexities and risks, working in conjunction with the PA, despite its shortcomings, is considered the least problematic.

3. Reassessing Military Strategy

At this juncture in the war, neutralizing Hamas's last bastion in Rafah is perceived more symbolic victory than a strategic one. Despite Hamas's complete control over relatively feeble battalions, Rafah is not serving as a launching pad for missiles at Israel. The symbolic significance of invading Rafah and dismantling these battalions does not substantially advance Israel's objective of debilitating Hamas.

Though the incursion into Rafah is deemed important, the potential repercussions of such a maneuver necessitate careful consideration. Israel must avoid estranging the U.S. over a tactical issue rather than a strategic one, thus necessitating either coordination of the battle tactics in Rafah or an overall revision of war strategies.

4. A Global Political-Diplomatic Maneuver

To date, Israeli foreign apparatus has not been assigned specific political-diplomatic objectives related to the war. Historically, crucial political issues have been orchestrated by the Prime Minister and his envoys. The complete restoration of the foreign apparatus is a long-term endeavor. However, all government ministries involved in foreign relations, spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should immediately operate within the framework of explicit political objectives. These objectives encompass:

  • Unveiling the truth about Hamas. Israel has not been able to convince the international community that it fights Hamas, not the Palestinian populace. The global community fails to recognize that Hamas instigated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, cynically exploiting civilians as human shields. A significant challenge in Israeli public diplomacy is that its messaging circulates within an echo chamber, failing to reach critical international audiences.

  • Exerting diplomatic pressure on Egypt to accommodate refugees. Israel's inability to alter the global perception, which aligns with the Egyptian narrative, viewing the Palestinian displacement crisis through a political rather than humanitarian lens, represents a diplomatic shortcoming. A sophisticated, coordinated political strategy involving the U.S. and European nations is essential to pressure Egypt into temporarily opening its borders to Palestinian refugees. Such a measure would alleviate concerns regarding involvement in Rafah and counter baseless accusations of Israeli genocide (read more here).

Soldiers and isolated sharks

  • The dissolution of UNRWA transcends mere Israeli statements and boycotts; the conflict presents an opportunity to initiate a move that would effectively eliminate the Palestinian right of return from the political discourse. Achieving this would signify a setback for Hamas (read more here).

  • Countering Hamas's soft power. The escalation in global public opinion against Israel is partly attributable to pro-Hamas elements in the West, acting as Hamas's strategic rear. The coordination among Israeli branches and with Jewish diaspora communities and pro-Israel entities is insufficiently cohesive to effectuate success (read more here).

5. Preparing a Plan B to Win the War

Israel is in severe political isolation, so it must prepare a contingency plan in case it has no choice but to end the war even before the fall of Hamas rule (our assumption is that there will be no end to the war without the return of the abductees in any case).

We remind here that victory in the war depends on the trends that follow, therefore Israel must examine how another alternative maximizes its longer term political and security interests.

Apart from the return of the hostages, Israel would like to initiate a number of trends with the end of the war: the significant weakening of Hamas in Gaza; Weakening Hamas's strategic rear in the West; dismantling the mechanisms that preserve the ethos of the Palestinian struggle; Preserving the Abraham Accords and reaching normalization with Saudi Arabia; Restoring the evacuees to their homes and their sense of security and trust; Maintaining social cohesion even after the end of the fighting.

These goals will be achieved if, following the war, an effective regional axis is established under American sponsorship against Iran; The revitalized PA will be established in a way that will address Israel's concerns and interests; UNRWA will be dissolved; an updated and effective security regime will be formed in cooperation with Egypt, which includes security control Gaza (read more here).


Implementation of these proposals may constitute a psychological blow to Hamas and may translate into an internal challenge to Hamas' rule.


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