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Road Map for Gaza

Israeli Defense Ministry’s ‘day after’ plan for Gaza: Int’l forces working with local Palestinians, not the PA

‘Hamas will not rule Gaza and Israel will not rule Gaza,’ Defense Minister Gallant said, ruling out the building of Israeli settlements in the enclave

Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant meets soldiers on the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on Oct. 19 in Sderot, Israel. As Israel prepares to invade the Gaza Strip in its campaign to vanquish Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that launched a deadly attack in southern Israel on October 7th, worries are growing of a wider war with multiple fronts, including at the country's northern border with Lebanon. Countries have scrambled to evacuate their citizens from Israel, and Israel has begun relocating residents some communities on its northern border. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of residents of northern Gaza have fled to the southern part of the territory, following Israel's vow to launch a ground invasion.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant plans to present the war cabinet with a road map for the administration of Gaza after the end of the war, in which Israel, an international force, Egypt and local Palestinians — but not the Palestinian Authority — would all play a part, Gallant said in a briefing on Thursday.

After the war, he said, “Hamas will not rule Gaza, and Israel will not rule Gaza.”

Gallant’s plan, drawn up by the Defense Ministry with input from the IDF, is based on four major partners.

First is Israel, which would need full freedom to act militarily in Gaza to ensure that Hamas and other hostile groups cannot threaten Israel or the people of Gaza, Gallant said. Israel would also provide relevant intelligence to the other partners and would inspect all goods entering Gaza.

Gallant ruled out any Israeli civilian presence in Gaza. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich floated the idea of Israelis resettling Gaza and, together with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has called for hundreds of thousands of Gazans to migrate elsewhere, ideas that the State Department earlier this week called “inflammatory and irresponsible.” On Tuesday, a senior Israeli diplomatic source called Smotrich and Ben-Gvir’s comments “baseless delusions,” saying that “no country is going to absorb” any significant number of Palestinians.

The second prong of the Defense Ministry’s “day after” plan is Egypt, “a central player in any solution,” Gallant said, noting that there are ongoing talks on the matter with Cairo. Egypt would be the point of civilian entry into Gaza and would share control with Israel over who and what is permitted to enter. 

An international force that would be led by the U.S. and include Western European states including the U.K., France and Germany, as well as moderate Arab states – likely the UAE and Bahrain – would be responsible for the physical and economic rehabilitation of Gaza.

Finally, local Palestinians would handle the everyday administration of Gaza. Gallant cited 30,000 Palestinian civil servants who currently reside in Gaza, handling matters such as sewage and electricity. The Defense Ministry has lists of such people who are not hostile to Israel or otherwise affiliated with Hamas, and would share such information with the international force.

“Palestinians live in Gaza, and the people who need to be responsible for Gaza are Palestinians on the condition that they are not hostile to Israel and will not act against it,” Gallant said.

The matter of who will enforce law and order in Gaza is still under discussion, the source said.

Absent from Gallant’s plan is a role for the Palestinian Authority. A senior diplomatic source said that the PA cannot be part of the process because “it cannot and should not take control of Gaza … For the PA to take responsibility, it has to commit to fixing itself. Therefore, it is not immediately relevant,” the source said, pointing out that even the U.S. uses “R words” such as “revitalized” or “reformed” when it calls for PA involvement.

The Defense Ministry has discussed post-war Gaza with the White House, State Department and Pentagon, as well as European partners and Gulf states, the source said.

The day-after plan will only be relevant after Israel reaches its war aims of securing the release of the hostages and ensuring that Hamas is no longer capable of controlling Gaza or threatening Israel, Gallant said, adding that the time is ripe to discuss the matter because Israel is moving to a different mode of fighting.

At this point, Israel is working to “wear down pockets of resistance that remain in the territory while advancing a governmental alternative that is not hostile to Israel,” Gallant stated.

In northern Gaza, he said, the IDF will move to a phase of raids, destroying tunnels and special operations on land and from the air. In the south, Israel will prosecute the war differently and in a more targeted fashion against Hamas leadership, and to try to free the some 130 hostages.

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