Israeli defense minister unveils post-war Gaza plan

(Tel Aviv) Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant presented Thursday evening his first “post-war” plan in the Gaza Strip according to which there would be “neither Hamas” nor “Israeli civil administration” in place in the Palestinian territory at the end of the fighting.

Yoav Gallant revealed the broad outlines of this plan to the press before submitting it to Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, divided in recent weeks over the course of action to follow in the war against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 .

The unveiling of the Gallant plan comes on the eve of a new visit to the Middle East by the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken which aims, among other things, to avoid a spread of the war between Israel and Hamas.

According to the plan, operations in the Gaza Strip “will continue” until the “return of the hostages”, the “dismantling of Hamas’ military and governance capabilities” and the “elimination of military threats in the Gaza Strip “, argued Mr. Gallant.

After which another phase will begin, that of the “day after” the war according to which “Hamas will not control Gaza”, according to this plan which has not, at this stage, been adopted by the government .

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called on Monday for a return of Jewish settlers to Gaza after the war and to “encourage” the Palestinian population to emigrate, following a similar call from his far-right colleague, Bezalel Smotrich.

“There will be no Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip after the objectives of the war have been achieved,” Mr. Gallant declared on Thursday, specifying that the Israeli army would however retain “its freedom of action” in Gaza to curb any possible “threat”.

“The people of Gaza are Palestinians. Therefore, Palestinian entities will be in charge (of management) on the condition that there is no hostile action or threat against the State of Israel,” affirmed the Minister of Defense without specifying which of the Palestinians , should administer this territory of 2.4 million inhabitants.

In recent weeks, analysts have discussed different scenarios such as the return to the Gaza Strip, after the war, of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA), which currently sits in the occupied West Bank.

However, according to a recent poll by the Center for Palestinian Policy and Polling Research (PCPSR), an independent institute in Ramallah, nearly two-thirds of Palestinians surveyed (64%) believe that Hamas will retain control of Gaza after the fighting ends. . Some 11% of respondents predict an AP government but without Mahmoud Abbas and barely 7% with the latter.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammed Shtayyeh, however pleaded in favor of a “political solution for the whole of Palestine” and not just Gaza.

“People are starting to talk about the next day, about the PA ruling Gaza again,” but Israel “wants to politically separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank,” he said.

And added: “We must look at the calendar and cross off 2024 (…) I do not think that Israel will leave Gaza very soon, I rather believe that Israel will create its own civil administration which will operate under the authority of its army of occupation. Therefore, the question of the day after is not clear (at the moment).”


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