Gaza will not be governed by Israel or Hamas after war, Yoav Gallant says

Israeli Defence Minister sets out plan for Palestinian control of enclave, but with continuing military operations

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said the war in Gaza will continue until military and governing capabilities of Hamas have been removed. AFP
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Gaza will not be governed by Hamas or Israel after the conflict is over, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday as he presented his plan for the postwar administration of the Palestinian enclave.

Under the plan, Israel's assault will continue until it has secured the return of the remaining hostages taken on October 7, dismantled the “military and governing capabilities” of Hamas and removed any military threats.

Mr Gallant is to submit his plan for the “day after” the war to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet, which has been divided in recent weeks over the future of Gaza.

The next stage of the conflict is to involve a more focused approach by Israeli forces in the northern part of the enclave, while Hamas leaders continue to be pursued in the south.

“In the northern region of the Gaza Strip, we will transition to a new combat approach in accordance with military achievements on the ground,” Mr Gallant said in a statement issued by his office.

He said operations would include raids, demolishing tunnels used by militants, air and ground strikes and special forces operations. These will “continue for as long as is deemed necessary”, he said.

After the war, Mr Gallant said Hamas would no longer control Gaza and Israel would reserve its operational freedom of action.

But he said there would be no Israeli civilian presence and Palestinians would be in charge of the enclave.

“Gaza residents are Palestinian, therefore Palestinian bodies will be in charge, with the condition that there will be no hostile actions or threats against the state of Israel,” Mr Gallant said.

Mr Gallant unveiled his plan as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was en route to the region for his fourth visit since the war began.

In Israel, he is expected to discuss transition to a new phase of Israeli military operations in Gaza and steps to better protect civilians there, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

Washington suggested Gaza should be governed by a “revitalised” Palestinian Authority, which is based in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Monday called for Israeli settlers to return to Gaza after the war and for a “solution to encourage the emigration” of its Palestinian population. The remarks echoed comments by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

The comments were condemned by Arab states, as well as the US.

On Friday, Israel continued its heavy bombardment of the areas surrounding Al Amal Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis. The hospital is run by the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Hamas's armed wing, Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, said its targets were Israeli forces west of Al Maghazi camp in central Gaza, adding that it detonated a “minefield” comprising three explosive devices in Khozaah, east of Khan Younis.

The attack killed or wounded seven Israeli soldiers, it said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said it received 5,283 lorries of aid from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing between October 21 and December 30.

More than 9,600 children and 6,700 women have been killed in the Gaza war, now in its fourth month, with 45,000 rockets and bombs used in attacks on the enclave since October 7.

At least 22,600 Palestinians have been killed and 57,910 injured in Gaza since October 7, the enclave's Health Ministry said on Friday.

It said 162 Palestinians were killed while 296 were wounded by Israeli strikes in the past 24 hours.

The Hamas government's media office said 1.9 million people had been displaced and 65,000 tonnes of explosives used by Israel, damaging 290,000 homes.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 2:23 PM