The leaders of the various political parties were asked by Israel's Army Radio to give their proposals to solve the situation in the Gaza Strip. The list is in order from top to bottom of parties currently predicted to win the most mandates in the April 9th election.
Blue and White, the party led by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said that they would not agree to transfer funds to Hamas, but would allow humanitarian aid to Gaza. They want to help the citizens of Gaza while severely punishing Hamas operatives. The spokesman said that they would help Gazans understand that it is Hamas that is standing between them and a good life.
Likud, the party of Bibi Netanyahu, did not respond to the request to make a proposal on Gaza.
Kulanu, the party headed by Moshe Kahlon, Netanyahu’s former Finance Minister, responded that Kahlon opposed the 2005 disengagement of Israel from the Gaza Strip, but since it happened anyway, the party would promote an “Iron Wall” for total separation from Gaza. The party will harshly punish anyone who tries to attack Israel’s sovereignty, but will also encourage controlled investment in the economic and social development of Gaza.
The New Right party, established in December 2018 by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, responded that it is the only party offering a truly right-wing position on all the issues facing Israel. Bennett says that Israel needs to stop paying “protection money” to Hamas, referring to the transfer of funds to Gaza even after terror attacks. He compared it to the mafia when they attack you and then force you to pay for their protection. Bennett would not allow Hamas to celebrate murdering Israelis, and terrorists would live in mortal fear for their lives.
Labor, Israel’s left-wing social democratic party, said that the Israeli people should not have to endure the terror of incendiary kites, explosive charges and arson. The party believes that the current IDF response to these terror acts is appropriate, and that Hamas, the sovereign government in Gaza, must be held responsibility for the actions of its people. The party would initiate diplomatic and political discussions in a move to develop humanitarian projects in Gaza.
Meretz, the far-left party, responded that another military confrontation in Gaza is not in Israel's interests and must be avoided. They suggested that Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is under investigation on corruption charges, cannot be allowed to begin another unnecessary war. For Meretz, the solution is negotiations that would require the cessation of violence on both sides and the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip for its civilians. They would already open the closures to the Gaza Strip and initiate talks with the leadership of the Palestinian people towards a comprehensive political settlement.
Shas, the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party lead by Aryeh Deri, who served time in jail for corruption, said he will express his opinion on security matters only after discussions with security officials.
United Torah Judaism, a combined Haredi party, said that they rely on the army and the Prime Minister to deal with such problems. They said that they will vote according to the instructions of their rabbinical leaders.
Yisrael Beiteinu, a secular right-wing party headed by Russian immigrant Avigdor Liberaman, said the party has consistently offered an overall solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on territorial and population exchanges (i.e. transferring Arabs away from Jewish areas). Terrorism must be stopped in Gaza, Judea and Samaria by cutting off Hamas' ideological, financial and operational capabilities. The way to eradicate terror is targeted assassinations of terror leaders, stopping the transfer of Arab monies to Hamas, the death penalty for murderers, not allowing terrorists to return to their families, and demolishing terrorists' homes.
Zehut, a Zionist libertarian party led by Moshe Feiglin, pointed out that Israel has invested more than NIS 1 trillion in the Oslo Accords, and that Hamas is squandering the monies it receives, which never reach most Gaza residents.
Hadash-Ta'al, the joint Arab party, said that the way to rebuild Gaza must be part of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). What they call a “siege policy on Gaza” must be stopped and Gaza residents allowed to live their lives. This will be the only way to end the ongoing fighting, they said.
PHOTO: Palestinians shopping in the Rafah market in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 3, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)