Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has unveiled a plan for Gaza following the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to reports. The plan aims to remove Hamas from power in Gaza while still retaining overall Israeli security control.
Key Points of Israel’s Gaza Plan
- Hamas to be removed from power in Gaza
- Gaza to be divided into “emirates” ruled by local clans and families
- Limited Palestinian self-governance, focused on civil affairs
- Israel to control borders and security
- Some ministers criticize plan for not offering a political solution
The plan was presented ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region next week. Some analysts see it as an attempt by Israel to get ahead of potential US proposals for Gaza’s future.
Hamas Removal and Governance Structure
Under Gallant’s plan, Hamas would be removed from control in Gaza, although the exact method for achieving this was not specified. Gaza would then be divided into “emirates” ruled by local clans and families.
“Areas in Gaza will be controlled by local leadership – heads of families, clans and key figures in society,” Gallant said.
The Palestinian Authority would administer civil affairs in these emirates through subcommittees. Israel would continue to control Gaza’s borders and overall security.
“There will be no presence of Israeli civilians or military administration, but only of a security envelope that will surround the Gaza Strip,” Gallant stated.
Some ministers criticized the plan for lacking a political solution and relying too heavily on local Gaza groups to govern themselves. However, Gallant defended the approach:
“The alternative is to continue waiting for processes that will never happen, or to conquer Gaza, which I oppose. When the fighting ends, we need pragmatism – to empower local leadership unconnected to terrorist organizations.”
Rebuilding Gaza Infrastructure
The plan also focuses on rebuilding Gaza’s shattered infrastructure. Gallant proposed establishing a multi-national task force to oversee reconstruction projects. The task force would be led by regional countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Gallant stated the task force would focus on rebuilding Gaza while bypassing the ruling party Hamas:
“We will build cords of supplies, electricity and water that will connect mainly to the emirates and the surrounding areas, as we did with our disengagement from Gaza in 2005.”
Analysts say tying reconstruction to Hamas’ removal helps position Israel favorably before Blinken’s visit. Blinken has urged regional countries to help rebuild Gaza.
Next Phase of Gaza Military Operations
In addition to the political plan, Gallant said Israel is shifting to a “new combat approach” in its military operations in Gaza:
“We will expand ground maneuvers along with continued air and intelligence operations, all led by clearly-defined operational goals.”
Israel seeks to pressure Hamas into accepting a truce through precision strikes on high-value targets like tunnels and rocket production sites. Ground troops would also step up raids in urban areas.
Gallant did not give a timeline but said operations would increase “in the coming days and weeks.” The UN has called for an immediate ceasefire but neither Hamas nor Israel appear willing to halt hostilities yet.
The plan has received mixed international reactions so far:
Palestinians: The Palestinian Authority slammed it as an attempt to “perpetuate Israel’s occupation under a different guise.” However, some analysts believe the PA may cooperate if Hamas is indeed ousted.
Arab states: Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have not issued official responses. As key regional allies for the US, their buy-in will be crucial for implementing the plan.
United States: US officials said they are still studying the proposals. Analysts see the plan as partly intended to influence the Biden administration’s approach.
United Nations: The UN Special Envoy cautioned against unilateral moves, urging a return to peace negotiations instead. Other UN officials raised concerns over human rights.
|Slammed it as perpetuating occupation
|No official response yet
|United Arab Emirates
|No official response yet
|No official response yet
|Still studying proposals
|Cautioned against unilateral moves
Uncertainty Around Long-Term Control
A number of analysts have raised doubts about whether the plan can achieve its stated goals. Removing Hamas militarily would be very difficult without a lengthy Israeli re-occupation of Gaza.
There are also questions around whether local Gaza groups can govern effectively or prevent terrorism under the arrangement:
“It’s hard to see how local clans and families, which lack governmental experience, can be empowered to govern Gaza while preventing terror activity against Israel,” said Ido Rosenzweig, an Israeli analyst.
Palestinians remain highly skeptical as well. Some experts believe coordinated US-Arab pressure on Israel will be required to advance a workable political solution.
Ongoing Israel-Gaza Fighting
Israel and Hamas have been engaged in intensified fighting since late 2022. Over 340 Palestinians have been killed so far, including 100 children. Palestinian rocket attacks have killed 17 Israeli civilians.
On January 5th, Hamas launched rare rockets toward Jerusalem and struck closer than ever to Tel Aviv. Israel continued heavy airstrikes in Gaza, destroying high-rise buildings and vital infrastructure.
With both sides defiant, most analysts sadly do not foresee an end to the bloodshed anytime soon.
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