Israel Unveils Plan For Complete Control Of Gaza After War With Hamas


Following the end of hostilities in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially revealed Israel's plans for the territory, making a formal proposal to his war cabinet that clearly opposes US aims.

The one-page document, released by his office overnight, makes no mention of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas' West Bank opponents whom the US administration wishes to see take control, and rejects unilateral international steps toward Palestinian state recognition.

Netanyahu's proposal also envisions a significant security buffer within the besieged enclave, which the US opposes.

The booklet titled "The Day After Hamas Principles" is the first official distillation of Netanyahu's previous pronouncements on the subject, appealing to his home rightwing political constituency.

The document, which divides Gaza's future into near, medium, and long-term phases, states unequivocally that Israel will maintain its long-standing blockade of the territory and will continue to be involved in civilian issues such as how local police operate and what schools and mosques teach in the predominantly Sunni Muslim territory.

In fact, Israel could resume complete control of the enclave and its 2.3 million people, combining features of its decades-long occupation with the severe siege imposed two years after the Israeli military's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

In the medium term, Israel plans to construct a "security area" along the Gaza Strip's entire border. It also plans to construct an above and underground "security flank" or barrier along its border with Egypt to deter weapons smuggling and to enforce land, sea, and air control over the strip, according to the document.

Israel would only allow weaponry needed "to maintain public order," an ambiguous reference to a police force that has mostly vanished after being targeted by Israeli air strikes, leading in a chaotic law and order scenario that has led humanitarian organizations to reduce assistance delivery.

It stated that in the civilian realm, Israel will only allow "local actors with management experience" to maintain public order.

The United States, Israel's closest friend, and the European Union have been pressing for a separate postwar plan. It wants the comparatively secular Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, to assume control, paving the way for discussions that are expected to result in the establishment of a Palestinian state.

According to an Abbas spokesperson, Netanyahu's announced measures aim to extend Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas and block the development of a Palestinian state.

"Gaza will only be part of the independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its Capital," their statement read.

Netanyahu announced the idea in advance of Brett McGurk, the US Middle East envoy,'s arrival to Israel. The United States has yet to publicly comment on the document.

According to local health authorities, the conflict has already killed at least 29,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children, and has destroyed much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure. The total death toll is expected to be much higher, with thousands buried under the wreckage.

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