The Israeli leader advocates for the establishment of a “civilian government” to govern the enclave once Hamas is defeated.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasized that Israel’s objective is not to “occupy” or govern Gaza following its conflict with Hamas. Instead, he stressed the importance of demilitarizing, deradicalizing, and rebuilding the enclave. During an interview with Fox News, Netanyahu mentioned the need for a civilian government to oversee Gaza, without specifying the specific individuals or groups that would comprise such a body.
Our aim is not to govern or occupy Gaza but to work towards a brighter future for both Gaza and ourselves. This can only be achieved by defeating Hamas. While I have set goals, I have not set a specific timetable as this process may take longer than anticipated. It is important to note that despite Israel formally withdrawing its forces and settlers from Gaza in 2005, it is still considered an occupied territory due to Israel’s control over its borders, airspace, and territorial waters. Additionally, the suffocating blockade enforced by Israel since 2007 has only added to the struggles faced by the people of Gaza, who are also dealing with the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 War.
According to international law experts like former UN special rapporteur Michael Lynk, the occupation of the territory by the Israeli military has not ended despite Israel’s claim that the 2005 withdrawal marked its conclusion. This is because Israel still maintains “effective control” over the area.
During his interview, Netanyahu emphasized the importance of a “credible force” to enter Gaza in order to eliminate those responsible for violence and prevent the resurgence of a group similar to Hamas.
Netanyahu’s remarks emerged shortly after he expressed Israel’s commitment to assume control over Gaza’s security for an unspecified duration following the conclusion of its conflict with Hamas, which elicited a response of opposition from the United States.
In response, John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, stated on Tuesday that President Joe Biden held the belief that reoccupying Gaza would not align with the principles of righteousness.
On Wednesday, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, emphasized the importance of “durable peace and security” in the region, highlighting the need to prevent any reoccupation of Gaza once the conflict comes to an end.
While Israeli officials have clarified that Netanyahu’s remarks regarding Gaza’s security do not imply Israel is taking over administrative control of the area, conflicting statements from various government members, including Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, have caused uncertainty regarding their intentions.
The Biden administration has announced that Israel has agreed to daily four-hour pauses in fighting to enable civilians to escape the hostilities, while Netanyahu has once again expressed his disapproval of a ceasefire with Hamas. Previously, US officials had suggested that the Palestinian Authority should govern Gaza after the war. Still, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated that this would only be feasible under a political solution that involves the return of territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Sources from Aljazeera.
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