Gaza's post-war landscape; Lebanon on the brink of war?

Our July edition goes in search of Gaza’s next structure and asks whether Israel will turn its tanks north towards Lebanon, while also hearing from ‘Putin’s mind’ on Trump and Biden.

Gaza's post-war landscape; Lebanon on the brink of war?

Since the outbreak of war in Gaza last October, scenarios for ‘the day after’ have been suggested, analysed and debated. Most relied on the assumption of Israeli war aims being swiftly fulfilled, but nine months later, hostages remain unrecovered, and Hamas remains intact, still posing a threat to Israel, although its forces have been significantly diminished.

Meanwhile, the war has inflicted unprecedented suffering, displacement, and destruction. Still, the question remains: What next? In our July cover story, we examine five possible scenarios and the looming threat of conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.

Planning for change

The perspectives of Palestinian, Israeli, American, and Arab states are aired, as are the different options—which vary from continued Israeli military presence to a multinational force to prevent any Hamas resurgence. Some suggest limited Hamas control, others complete disengagement from Gaza with the closure of border crossings, as advocated by some Israelis. Other Israelis want to reoccupy Gaza, establish a civil administration, and impose martial law.

Issues of security and governance in the Gaza Strip are complex. The Biden White House has been discussing ideas, including a multinational administrative authority reporting to an international contact group. The region would be involved. These entities would flow from an international agreement involving Arab states, ideally through a UN Security Council resolution. We examine the possibilities and report on what the people of Gaza want.

Nine months later, hostages remain unrecovered, Hamas remains intact and still poses a threat to Israel.

Topping the list of those in the region would be a complete Israeli withdrawal, a hostage exchange deal, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the establishment of an administration acceptable to all Palestinian parties that will ultimately hold elections. This means a new security structure with Arab and international support. The starting point is a ceasefire agreement, the full text of which Al Majalla has previously published.

Involving the Israelis

Arab and American diplomats have already discussed Gaza's 'day after' details, yet it goes far beyond the Strip and includes Arab-Israeli normalisation, a path to a two-state solution, and recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. Significant challenges remain before this solution can be implemented—not least of which is the Israeli government and Benjamin Netanyahu in particular.

When Israel does finally climb down from a state of war, he knows that he is in for the electoral dustbin, hence his eagerness to eye any casus belli in Lebanon. Although Netanyahu suffered a setback when Benny Gantz withdrew from the war cabinet, he still enjoys the support of Israel's rights, including its far right, settler groups and the ultra-Orthodox, to whom he allocates money for yeshivas.

Our cover story this month also examines how Amos Hochstein, US President Joe Biden's envoy, is negotiating the withdrawal of Hezbollah's elite Radwan Force from southern Lebanon, in exchange for border talks and Israel ending its aerial raids. Hezbollah and Lebanon face a stark choice between compromise and war. The situation is more volatile than ever.

When Israel finally climbs down from a state of war, Netanyahu knows that he is for the electoral dustbin, hence he wants war in Lebanon.

Africa, Kuwait, and NATO

Further, our cover story explores the world of "chat and isolation"—a thought-provoking look at how social media can perpetuate loneliness rather than foster meaningful social connections.

Elsewhere, as NATO marks its 75th anniversary and prepares for its upcoming Washington summit, we delve into its history and challenges, with Russian ambitions in Ukraine and Chinese ambitions in Taiwan at the top of the agenda.

With the US presidential race between Biden and Donald Trump underway, we hear from Alexander Dugin—often dubbed "Putin's mind"—as he explains why Trump is the man he would rather have in the White House.

The West, Russia, and China have long vied for influence and resources, and that now stretches to Africa. We examine how it is affecting African states and hear two contrasting views on the revived Maghreb Union.

Furthermore, we profile the governor of Libya's central bank, who plays a crucial unifying role in a country torn apart by geographical, political, and military divisions.

Our July issue also examines the requirements for financial sustainability in Kuwait following the appointment of a new Crown Prince and cabinet.

Additionally, we explore the ancient Saudi archaeological caves of Umm Jarsan and the vibrant cafés of Cairo and interview an Iranian-American writer who shares her diaspora perspective on her homeland.

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