Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will have “overall security responsibility” for the Gaza Strip for an “indefinite period” after Hamas is toppled there.
The comments come amid questions over the future of Gaza after Israel Defnece Forces soldiers wage pitched battles with Hamas in the strip.
Netanyahu said: “I think Israel for an indefinite period will have the overall security responsibility because we’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it.
“When we don’t have that security responsibility, what we have is the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn’t imagine.”
Israeli officials have said they don’t want to occupy Gaza after the war but it’s unclear how Tel Aviv could exert control over the enclave without doing so.
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Joe Biden’s Administration has rejected the idea and has warned that Israel needed to come up with a plan for Gaza’s governance once the war is over.
The Palestinian Authority, Palestine’s internationally recognised government, would only take over governing Gaza if a “political solution” is found to the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
He met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday during a whirlwind tour by America’s top diplomat with stops in Israel, the West Bank, Bagdad and Ankara.
The Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as saying: “We will fully assume our responsibilities within the framework of a comprehensive political solution that includes all of the [occupied] West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
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Israel Defense Forces target Hamas outpost in Gaza
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Hamas took over from the PA in Gaza in 2007 after winning a parliamentary election a year earlier. Israel withdrew all forces and settlers from Gaza in 2005 and imposed a blockade on the strip.
Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the UK, US and EU, has turned Gaza into a virtual fortress with vast tunnel networks and rocket launch sites.
It was from here the group launched an unprecedented terror attack against Israel on October 7 that left at least 1,400 Israelis dead – the vast majority of them civilians. Hamas took around 240 hostages to back to Gaza.
Israel responded with a devastating air campaign against Hamas in Gaza and has since expanded its effort to include a ground operation. The Hamas-run Gaza health authority claims that 10,000 people have been killed in the strip since the war began including 4,000 children.
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