Israel will cease 'responsibility for life in Gaza' after war, says Defence Minister

Yoav Gallant outlines Israel’s three phases of war, as a likely ground offensive against the Palestinian enclave looms

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has promised 'the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel'. Getty
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One of Israel’s primary objectives in its war on Gaza is to absolve itself of responsibility for life in the densely populated strip, Israel’s Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant said on Friday.

Mr Gallant told the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee that there would be three phases of Israel's war with Hamas.

He said the first stage was the “military campaign” with the goal of “neutralising terrorists and destroying Hamas infrastructure, followed by a second phase with the military rooting out “pockets of resistance.”

Phase three would see Israel cease its “responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip”, he said.

The minister said the third phase would “require the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel.”

Israel has imposed a blockade of the Gaza Strip since Hamas came to power in 2007.

The country heavily restricts the flow of goods in and out of the coastal strip and controls who enters and who leaves.

But Israel’s formidable security apparatus failed to prevent Hamas militants from storming across the border into southern Israel, where they killed more than 1,400 people on October 7, sending the country into crisis and putting it squarely on a war footing.

Israeli leaders have vowed to crush Hamas and have engaged in an unrelenting bombardment of Gaza. This has killed at least 4,137 people and injured more than 13,000, said the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The military has hinted that a ground invasion is likely to follow the bombardment.

“Gaza will never have security tools and military capabilities from now on,” Minister of Agriculture Avi Dichter said at a press conference on Thursday near the Gaza border in the city Sderot.

“We shall demolish it and it will never be built again.”

Mr Dichter said he believed that after the war Gazans will be unable to come anywhere close to the Israeli border.

“It will be a fire zone,” Mr Dichter, the former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, told reporters.

“No matter who you are, you will never be able to come close to the Israeli border.”

Mr Gallant's comments came in the wake of a strike on Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, in which hundreds were killed.

Gaza authorities have blamed Israel for the strike. Israel denies this.

The strike led to widespread fury across the Middle East.

Updated: October 20, 2023, 5:59 PM