Post-War Gaza: Israeli Defense Minister Unveils Plan to Govern the Enclave

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According to Yoav Gallant’s plan, Israel should retain military control over the Gaza Strip after the end of hostilities, the territory will be administered by Palestinian authorities. The head of Israel’s Defense Ministry presented on Thursday his plan for the administration and reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after the end of hostilities. It specifies that the military operation in the enclave will not end until militant-held hostages are released and until the IDF eliminates “Hamas’ military and governance capabilities.” Eliminating the threat and full military control In a meeting with reporters, Yoav Gallant explained that his plan envisages the complete elimination of the terrorist threat to the security of the Jewish state. Israel will then retain military control on the borders and the right to take any necessary actions and measures to maintain security inside the enclave. “The residents of Gaza are Palestinians, so Palestinian bodies will be responsible, provided there are no hostile actions or threats against the state of Israel,” Gallant claimed. It has not yet been specified which bodies are in question. According to Israeli media, the plan has already been presented to the US administration and has been discussed with other allies. “Israeli civilian presence” is ruled out According to the plan, Israel will “coordinate and supervise” the civil administration in the Strip, as well as be responsible for inspecting goods entering there. Secondly, a so-called “multinational task force,” led by the US in partnership with European and “moderate Arab countries,” will be charged with conducting civil affairs and economic reconstruction. Thirdly, Egypt, which is tagged an “important actor” in the plan, will assume responsibility for the main border crossing into the Gaza Strip in coordination with Israel. Fourthly, the existing administrative arrangements in Gaza will be maintained, provided that the officials involved are not affiliated with Hamas. The local authorities, which currently handle sewage, electricity, water and distribution of humanitarian aid, will continue to operate in cooperation with a "multinational task force". Criticism within the ruling coalition The defense chief stresses that Israel should not have a “civilian presence” in the enclave, which rules out new Jewish settlements there. The Times of Israel notes that Gallant’s draft does not yet reflect official policy, as there are serious contradictions within the ruling elite on this issue. The settlements clause has particularly angered hard-core members of the government coalition. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich spoke out sharply against it. “Gallant’s ‘day after’ plan is a recurrence of the ‘day before’ plan of 7 October,” he said, adding, “A solution for Gaza requires out-of-the-box thinking and a change of concept.” Smotrich insists that after the end of the war, it is necessary to “encourage willing emigration [of Palestinians from Gaza],” conduct full security control, building new Jewish settlements.”