Israel outlines its plans for Gaza after waron January 5, 2024 at 12:40 am

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The plans are unveiled by its defence minister as fighting rages on in the Palestinian territory.

A woman mourns the death of her husband at a morgue in the Nasser medical centre in Kahn Younis, southern GazaImage source, AFP

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has outlined proposals for the future governance of Gaza once the war between Israel and Hamas is over.

There would, he said, be limited Palestinian rule in the territory.

Hamas would no longer control Gaza and Israel would retain overall security control, he added.

Fighting in Gaza continued alongside the plan’s publication, with dozens of people killed in the past 24 hours, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due back in the region this week. He is expected to hold talks with Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank and Israeli leaders.

His visit comes amid heightened tensions in the region following the assassination of top Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri on Tuesday in Lebanon’s capital Beirut. His killing has widely been blamed on Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

Under Mr Galant’s now “four corner” plan, Israel would retain overall security control of Gaza.

A multi-national force would take charge of rebuilding the territory after the widespread destruction caused by Israeli bombing.

Neighbouring Egypt would also have an unspecified role to play under the plan.

But the document adds that Palestinians would be responsible for running the territory.

“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.

Talk of the “day after” in Gaza has led to deep disagreement in Israel.

Some far right-wing members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have said that Palestinian citizens should be encouraged to leave Gaza for exile, with the reestablishment of Jewish settlements in the territory – controversial proposals that have been rejected as “extremist” and “unworkable” by other countries in the region and by some of Israel’s allies.

While Mr Galant’s proposals may be regarded as more practical than those suggested by some of his cabinet colleagues, they are likely to be rejected by Palestinian leaders who say that Gazans themselves must be allowed to take full control of running the territory once this devastating war is over.

Mr Netanyahu has not publicly talked in any detail about how he thinks Gaza should be governed.

He has suggested that the war in Gaza may yet last several months, with the avowed goal being to completely crush Hamas.

Mr Galant’s plan also outlined how the Israeli military aims to proceed in the next phase of the war in Gaza.

He said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would take a more targeted approach in the north of the Gaza Strip, where operations will include raids, demolishing tunnels and air and ground strikes.

In the south, the Israeli military would continue to try to track down Hamas leaders and rescue Israeli hostages, he said.

On Thursday, the IDF said it had hit areas in Gaza’s north and south, including Gaza City and Khan Younis.

Israeli air strikes hit Khan Younis

Image source, Getty Images

It said it had conducted strikes on “terrorist infrastructure” and had killed people who it described as militants, who it said had tried to detonate an explosive next to soldiers.

It also announced that it had killed a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, Mamdouh Lolo, in an air strike.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said 125 people had been killed in the past 24 hours across the Strip.

A health ministry official said 14 people – including nine children – were killed by Israeli air strikes in al-Mawasi, to the west of Khan Younis.

The small town has been designated a “safe space” by Israeli forces for displaced Palestinians. The IDF has not commented on the claims made by Hamas.

“We were sleeping at midnight when a strike hit the camp on the tents, 4×2 tents where people were sleeping, most of them children,” eyewitness Jamal Hamad Salah told Reuters news agency. “We found one body there that flew 40 metres away.”

“There is nowhere safe in Gaza,” aid agency Save the Children’s country director for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jason Lee, said. “Camps, shelters, schools, hospitals, homes and so-called ‘safe zones’ should not be battlegrounds.”

The total number of people killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s retaliatory campaign had reached more than 22,400 by Thursday – comprising almost 1% of the enclave’s 2.3 million population, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Israel’s offensive started after Hamas gunmen launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on 7 October, killing 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking about 240 people hostage.

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