Big Tent Ideas

J.D. FOSTER: Netanyahu’s Post-War Plans For Gaza Already Appear To Be Quite Clear

(Screen Capture/IsraelPM)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
J.D. Foster J.D. Foster is the former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget and former chief economist and senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He now resides in relative freedom in the hills of Idaho.
Font Size:

The war in Gaza will end someday, and perhaps soon, with the region returning to its typical unhappy levels of terrorism and violence.

Many in the Biden administration and Benjamin Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, are now demanding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveal his post-war plans for Gaza. Perhaps President Joe Biden and Gantz are napping, because Netanyahu has already revealed his plan in deeds if not in words.

A few basic facts reveal the Netanyahu plan. According to a BBC report released in January, about three months into Israel’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, over half of Gaza’s buildings had been damaged or destroyed, and Israel had yet to turn its attention to Rafah. (RELATED: ‘A Waste’: Biden Admin’s Costly Gaza Pier Already Plagued By Setbacks, ‘Logistical’ Problems)

At this point, after another four months of war, it would be easier to estimate the percentage of buildings not damaged or destroyed. 20%? 10%? Less?

second BBC report revealed that four of Gaza’s six wastewater treatment plants had been damaged or destroyed and that the remaining two had been shut down for lack of fuel or other supplies. In total, over half of Gaza’s clean water infrastructure had been hit. By the time the fighting stops, little to nothing will remain operational.

No doubt other critical infrastructure like power generation and transmission has been similarly destroyed. Hamas is particularly fond of setting up shop in hospitals and schools, so surely little remains of these facilities.

Israeli operations largely involve urban-style warfare. As contested Ukrainian cities show, urban warfare lays waste to just about everything. Perhaps Israel isn’t specifically targeting critical infrastructure. Widespread destruction is just the natural consequence of heavy bombardment.

Some delusionists talk of an international effort to rebuild Gaza. Good luck with that.

But even if one takes this seriously, years of peaceful reconstruction would be needed before Gaza could support any sizeable population. What happens to the remaining Palestinians in the meantime? Thus, is revealed the Israeli short-run post-war plan for Gaza — to turn the entire area into an impoverished refugee camp, dependent on outside support and Israeli cooperation for basic necessities.

It also assumes the international community is willing to sustain the remaining Palestinians for years.

Another outcome is that Israel will surely permit, or even encourage, Gaza’s refugees to move elsewhere, perhaps Lebanon or Turkey. In Gaza, there will be no hope, no economy, no foreseeable future. If the emigration is inadequate, Israel has merely to tighten the screws on the inflow of aid.

Some pin their hopes for a better future in Gaza on Netanyahu’s political defeat. Netanyahu may be forced from office once the shooting stops. No amount of Gaza carnage will erase the stain of his failure for Oct. 7.

But Netanyahu’s departure won’t change a thing regarding Gaza. (RELATED: ‘Not A Vassal State’: Netanyahu Reportedly Explodes In Meeting After Biden Sets ‘Red Line’ For Israel Support)

The die has been cast; the destruction already wrought. A post-Netanyahu government may look more favorably upon the Palestinians, allowing a more generous inflow of aid, but refugees the Palestinians will remain, and then Hamas will carry out some new terrorist act and that will be that.

These facts thus reveal Israel’s long-term plan for Gaza. It is perhaps too grand to call this the Israeli plan. It is more the inevitable outcome of the war.

Pro-Palestinian activists embrace the expression “from the river to the sea,” clearly implying the erasure of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state. The expression is apt, but the interpretation wrong. In the long run, as the remaining Palestinian life is squeezed out of Gaza, it will be Israel from the West Bank to the sea.

Again, this is not so much a plan as an inescapable outcome.

J.D. Foster is the former chief economist at the Office of Management and Budget and former chief economist and senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He now resides in relative freedom in the hills of Idaho.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact