Israel’s Gallant Demands Clarity on Post-war Gaza Governance, Opposes Military Rule

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
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Israel’s Gallant Demands Clarity on Post-war Gaza Governance, Opposes Military Rule

This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip shows destroyed buildings in the Palestinian territory on May 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly challenged over post-war plans for the Gaza Strip on Wednesday by his own defense chief, who vowed to oppose any long-term military rule by Israel over the ravaged Palestinian enclave.

In a televised news conference, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that, since soon after the conflict erupted with a shock Hamas attack on Oct 7, he had tried to promote a blueprint for an alternative Gaza administration made up of Palestinians.

Those efforts "got no response" from various decision-making cabinet forums under Netanyahu, said Gallant, who comes from the prime minister's Likud party.

"I call on the prime minister to announce that Israel will not rule over Gaza militarily," Gallant said. "An alternative to Hamas governance should be established ... Indecision will erode the military gains (of the war)."

There was no immediate response from Netanyahu, who earlier on Wednesday issued a statement that appeared to be a riposte to similar remarks aired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Netanyahu has said Israel, if it achieves its war goal of dismantling Hamas' government and military apparatus in Gaza, would retain overall security control over the territory. He has stopped short of describing this scenario as an occupation.

He has also balked at proposals for the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which wields some governance in the occupied West Bank, to move back into a post-war Gaza.

Netanyahu has accused the PA of being hostile to Israel, but his governing coalition also relies on ultra-nationalist partners which want the PA dismantled and for Jewish settlements to be expanded to Gaza.



Israel Pounds Central Gaza Camps, Deepens Invasion of Rafah

A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
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Israel Pounds Central Gaza Camps, Deepens Invasion of Rafah

A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS
A view of a damaged building, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at the Rafah Crossing, Gaza, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video released on June 19, 2024. Doron Kadosh, Glz/via REUTERS

Israeli forces pounded areas in the central Gaza Strip overnight, killing three people and wounding dozens of others, according to medics, while tanks deepened their invasion into Rafah in the south, residents said.
Israeli planes struck a house in Al-Nuseirat camp, killing two people and wounding 12 others, while tanks shelled areas in Al-Maghazi and Al-Bureij camps, wounding many other people, health officials said, according to Reuters. Nuseirat, Maghazi, and Bureij are three of Gaza's eight historic refugee camps.
In Deir al-Balah, a city packed with displaced people in the central Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike killed one Palestinian and wounded several others on Thursday, medics said.
The Israeli military said on Wednesday forces were continuing their operations across the enclave targeting militants and military infrastructure in what it described as "precise, intelligence-based" activities.
More than eight months into the war in Gaza, Israel's advance is now focused on the two last areas its forces had yet to storm: Rafah on Gaza's southern edge and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center. The operations have forced more than a million people to flee since May, the vast majority already displaced from other parts of the enclave.
In Rafah, near the border with Egypt, Israeli tanks stationed deep in the western and central areas of the city stepped up bombardment, forcing more families living in the far coastal areas to flee northward. Some residents said the pace of the raid has been accelerated in the past two days.
"The tanks took control of most of the areas in Rafah. People living by the beach have also started to leave toward Khan Younis and central areas in fear because of the continued bombardment," said Abu Wasim, a resident from Rafah's Al-Shaboura neighborhood, who quit his home over a week ago before tanks rolled in reaching the heart of the city.
Rafah housed over half of Gaza's 2.3 million people until May 7 when Israeli forces began the ground offensive into the city. Fewer than 100,000 are now believed to be left behind.
There has been no sign of let-up in the fighting as efforts by international mediators, backed by the United States, have failed to persuade Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire.
The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad said fighters battled Israeli forces with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs, and have in some areas detonated pre-planted explosive devices against army units.
On Thursday, Israeli authorities freed 33 Palestinians who had been detained during the past months by Israeli forces in different areas of the enclave. The freed detainees were admitted into Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip after they complained of torture and mistreatment by Israeli jailers.