The defense minister says the country will abandon all responsibility for the Palestinian enclave after a ground offensive
Israel will wash its hands of Gaza once it has completed its ground military operation and vanquished Hamas, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said. The Financial Times, citing an anonymous Israeli official, reported that the new approach means that Gazans will not be allowed to enter Israel or work there.
Addressing the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Friday, Gallant told lawmakers that Israel will no longer have “responsibility for day-to-day life in the Gaza Strip” once the hostilities are over.
According to the minister, the Israeli military operation will consist of three phases – the first being heavy aerial bombardment, which is already underway. It will also include ground maneuvers “with the purpose of destroying operatives and damaging infrastructure in order to defeat and destroy Hamas.” The second phase will see lower-intensity fighting in the enclave, aimed at eliminating “pockets of resistance,” according to Gallant. The military action will end with the “creation of a new security regime” in Gaza.
The Financial Times quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying that “Israel will not be part of the solution in terms of giving [Gazans] work.”
“We’ve disconnected the umbilical cord,” he added.
The official told the media outlet that all existing border crossings between Gaza and Israel will be closed.
Israel occupied and had settlements in Gaza from 1967 to 2005. Up until the latest escalation, the country continued to supply basic utilities such as water and electricity to the densely populated Palestinian territory. The movement of people and goods had been severely restricted by Israel for years.
On Saturday, Bloomberg claimed that US and Israeli officials were conducting secret talks on the post-Hamas future of Gaza. According to the media outlet, one scenario currently under consideration is the installation of an interim government backed by the UN and Arab nations. The report added that the discussions are still in the early stages, with no guarantee that neighboring countries will go along with the supposed plans.
The conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 after Palestinian militants launched a massive missile attack and surprise incursion. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza.
According to local officials on both sides, the latest round of violence has left at least 4,100 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis dead, with thousands more wounded. The UN and human rights groups have warned of a looming humanitarian disaster in Gaza.