Israel-Gaza, what would Kissinger have done?

Former American ambassador to Israel: “He would have resolved the conflict gradually, 2 states only at the end”

Henry Kissinger would try to resolve the current crisis in the Middle East step by step, avoiding quickly imposing a two-state solution, a solution that could have possibly arrived only at the end of a long gradual process. The former American ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, wrote this in the Washington Post.

“What would Kissinger have done with the ongoing war in Gaza? – asks the diplomat – His pursuit of order was focused on relations between states. For him, revolutionary, non-state actors, such as Hamas, had to be neutralized and deprived of capacity to destabilize the region. But he also believed in a type of incremental process in which the Palestinians would obtain ‘statehood attributes’ through the construction of governing institutions that would then lead them to acquire independence.”

Kissinger “would be the first to warn against any attempt to end the conflict by imposing a two-state solution. Instead he would have liked a process to begin with the return of Palestinian governance to Gaza, under the auspices of Egypt and other Arab countries that would help maintain order. He would have had no objection to eventually arriving at a final two-state solution, but only if it was clear to everyone that that outcome had to be preceded by a process of building, step by step, capacity and mutual trust.”

Kissinger used this gradual tactic to end the Yom Kippur War in 1973, imposing order between Israel and its Arab neighbors that still exists today, which has allowed for successful peace developments such as the Abraham Accords. Then, Indyk recalls, Kissinger managed to obtain a ceasefire in just 16 days, then launched a process based on interim agreements, not the end of the conflict. Over the next three years he negotiated two withdrawals of forces, between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Syria. “This had the effect of pulling Egypt out of the conflict with Israel, stabilizing the border between Israel and Syria, and making it impossible for other Arabs to go to war,” Indyk explains.

Of a conservative mentality, Kissinger was suspicious of those who put too much passion into trying to impose peace, thus risking, he believed, leading to new wars in what he called “the paradox of peace”. At the time of the Yom Kippur War, Kissinger put the brakes on possible peace agreements and it was only in 1979, with American President Jimmy Carter, that the Camp David Peace between Israel and Egypt was reached. Indik asked Kissinger if he regretted not having tried first. “No, not at all – he replied – I’m happy that it happened, I was worried that if I had pushed the parties too abruptly towards peace I would end up breaking everything”.