The Future of Gaza

by Walter E. Block (July 2024)

October 7, 2023, Zoya Cherkassky (2023)


Benny Gantz recently resigned from the Israeli coalition government due to the fact that Bibi Netanyahu has not yet offered a plan for post-war Gaza. This seems a bit strange on the very face of it. The IDF and the Likud party have their hands full—no, overfull—in their attempt to conquer Hamas and free all of its hostages. In sports, the best advice for success is to “keep your eye on the ball no matter what else you do.” In similar manner, the key to accomplishing these present Israeli goals is the same: do not be distracted by anything else. To spend precious time an energy on what happens to Gaza after the war is to take your eye off of the military ball, so to speak. Gantz really ought to know better. One suspects that, a military man himself, he really does know better. Thus, we will likely have to look elsewhere for the real reason for his resignation.

Are there any other countries in the midst of a war who were condemned for not having a clear vision of the future? It is difficult in the extreme to imagine any such result. Israel, it would appear, is being held not to a higher standard here, as is all too often the case, but to a weirder standard, and by one of the leaders of this nation, forsooth.

I, in contrast, am not a member of the Israeli military; I am not even a citizen of that country. I have the luxury, then, of speculating about post-war Gaza. Before I probe too deeply into what the future of Gaza should be like, we do well to set out a few principles that can guide us to a just solution in this regard.

First, suppose that one country, A, attacks another country, B, and the latter fights back in a defensive war. Then, at the end of that conflagration, B occupies some of what used to be the terrain of A. Is it just for B to annex that territory? The answer is, obviously: Yes. There are no “backsies” in war. Here is a warning to nations which wage gratuitous initiatory unjustified war at innocent peoples: if you lose, there will be repercussions. One of them may well be loss of land now occupied by your target.

What are instances of this principle? After Egypt lost its unjust war of 1967, Israel occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula (along with Gaza, Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights). It was entitled to keep all of these territories. (Egypt started the hostilities with its closing of the Straits of Tiran, an act of war.)

That country allowed the US, under Eisenhower, to bully it out of possession of the Sinai, afterward but that is entirely a different matter. Israel was eminently justified in permanently annexing the Sinai into its own possession. Ditto for these other areas properly won from Jordan and Syria which also had attacked Israel.

Second premise in this syllogism: Hamas was the aggressor on October 7, 2023. Israel was the victim.

Conclusion. It logically follows, ineluctably, on the assumption that Israel duly conquers Hamas, that it take over Gaza. That it incorporate this territory into Greater Israel, and then proceed to do with it whatever it wishes.

Then comes the two $64,000 questions: what should Israel do with this area, and what, likely, will this country do with it?

There are several options.

One possibility is that each and every Gazan be expelled from that country, and sent elsewhere. Then, Israel can rebuild what it had previously pulverized. Presumably, these people can go to whichever Arab country will accept them. One problem with this is that these nations have shown a strong reluctance, a devastatingly great refusal, to accept even a single one of them; they have a track record of trying to topple their host governments. If anything, they would rather house these Arabs in camps, there to demonstrate to the world the cruelty of Israel. There are two ways to relocate them: the carrot and the stick.

Take the latter first. Israel can make an offer to Egypt and other Arab nations that they “cannot refuse,” Godfather style. They can announce that they are moving the entire population of Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula, and if that country does not much like it, there will be war, and since Israel will undoubtedly win any such conflict, they will lose that entire landmass, and maybe even more. The Suez Canal, anyone? Ditto for Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the other “usual suspects.” Would this be an initiation of war on the part of Israel, something it had never before done? No. Those Arab countries long ago expelled their Jewish citizens; this would be, merely, a retaliation for a prior rights violation.

The carrot consists of stuffing money down the throats of these reluctant (to say the least) recipient countries. From whence will the additional funds come? Maybe, from all those wealthy Jews who have been forever financing Harvard, MIT, UPenn and other such universities where, if you use the wrong pronouns, or fail to spell black without a capital letter, or use “Eskimo” instead of “Inuit” or “Oriental” instead of “Asian,” you are summarily dismissed, tenure or no tenure. On the other hand, if you call for the genocide of the entire Jewish population you are protected by “context” or “free speech” or some such.

Another problem with this plan, whether promulgated by either the carrot or the stick, is that it will be denigrated as “ethnic cleansing.” The faculty lounges at places such as Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania will erupt with woke outrage at any such project. The UN and wokesters everywhere will look down upon Israel!

As against that, there is the tit-for-tat defense: the Arabs started this; Israel is merely following in the footsteps laid out for it by them. Almost 1 million Jews were expelled from Arab countries between 1920 and 1970. The only reason more were not removed from their ancestral homes is that there are virtually none of them remaining. Many had been in their homes in these nations for centuries. Virtually none of them were criminals, or engaged in aiding and abetting terrorists, a crime for which many Gazans are guilty. The world yearns for the right of return for the inhabitants who departed from Israel in cooperation with several Arab armies who invade Israel in 1948; but no none of the mainstream press even mentions the Jews forced to depart from these Arab nations.

It would be a grave error from the Israeli point of view to advocate that these Gazans, instead, be relocated to Europe or the US. There, they would wreak havoc with those civilizations, and turn into a voting bloc that would weaken the already weak support of these nations for the only democracy in the Middle East. But, better there than they remain in situ, and raise up yet another generation of terrorists.

For Israel to occupy and attempt to govern a Gaza with its population intact, after the hostilities cease, would be about the worst possible solution. Talk about “don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Then, every day there would be in Israeli policeman molested or killed. There would be daily pictures shown all around the world of Israeli police “brutality” against the innocent citizens of Gaza. No, no, no, a thousand times no to this eventuality. Almost better that status quo ante October 7, 2023, but with a much more responsive IDF to marauders and rockets.


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Walter E. Block is Harold E. Wirth Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics, College of Business, Loyola University New Orleans, and senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He earned his PhD in economics at Columbia University in 1972. He has taught at Rutgers, SUNY Stony Brook, Baruch CUNY, Holy Cross and the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of more than 600 refereed articles in professional journals, three dozen books, and thousands of op eds (including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and numerous others). He lectures widely on college campuses, delivers seminars around the world and appears regularly on television and radio shows. He is the Schlarbaum Laureate, Mises Institute, 2011; and has won the Loyola University Research Award (2005, 2008) and the Mises Institute’s Rothbard Medal of Freedom, 2005; and the Dux Academicus award, Loyola University, 2007. Prof. Block counts among his friends Ron Paul and Murray Rothbard. He was converted to libertarianism by Ayn Rand. Block is old enough to have played chess with Friedrich Hayek and once met Ludwig von Mises, and shook his hand. Block has never washed that hand since. So, if you shake his hand (it’s pretty dirty, but what the heck) you channel Mises.

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3 Responses

  1. This time, a price has to be paid, and the only price that means anything to the Arabs is losing land. As a first step, Israel needs to take a two mile wide security strip all around Gaza, and settle permanently from Gaza city north.

  2. I do not believe that the question of “what happens the day after” is a question that Israel needs to answer today or tomorrow. That question needs to be answered by Arab and Persian sponsors, imperial Islam if you will. Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies financed by Islamists, cynical religious fascists too cowardly to confront Israel directly. The problem is Islam, not Israel. Islamism has grown from a local annoyance to a global social disease.

  3. Fully agree with this stance, which I described earlier myself as brutal (according to EU “sensibilies” of the many wokes over here) but the only sensible way of dealing with this ever lasting problem, of which the rest of the world also deserves to be releaved from. One remark; plse do not send these über-muslims to europe, they do not belong there. Vast spaces are available around Israel, which are also culturally and theoligically very appropriate.

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