Netanyahu says no reconstruction until demilitarization in Gaza

by | Feb 23, 2024

The post-war strategy for Gaza, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled on Thursday, emphasizes that Israel will only permit reconstruction after the enclave has been demilitarized and does not rule out a role for the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu has never before expressed a written opinion about his plans for the day following the Gaza War. However, the principles outlined in the document from Thursday are largely based on Netanyahu's recent public statements, though lacking specific details.

According to Netanyahu's office, the document, which was also given to cabinet ministers, lays out a number of principles for discussions on the subject.

The objective, according to a senior Netanyahu aide, was to present ideas that would receive the broadest possible support, but he added that changes to the policy are likely to result from Cabinet consultations.

The document's guiding principles cover a number of crucial issues for Israel and Gaza after the war.

The Israel Defense Forces will continue to operate freely throughout the entire Gaza Strip in accordance with the plan, as Netanyahu has previously stated.

According to the plan, Israel will establish a “security zone” within Gaza's bordering territory “for as long as it is necessary for it.”

Israel will also be in charge of the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, working there as much as it can with Egyptian assistance and cooperation to stop smuggling across the Rafah crossing and from the Egyptian side of the border.

Except for weapons “necessary to maintain public order, “the Gaza Strip will be completely demilitarized, according to the document.

Israel will be in charge of keeping an eye on and preventing violations of the enclave's demilitarization.

In the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu also wants to put into action a plan for what he refers to as the de-radicalization of all religious, educational, and welfare institutions.

According to the document, this strategy will be carried out “as much as possible with the involvement and support of Arab nations that have experience encouraging de-radicalization in their territory.”

The document emphasizes that Netanyahu had never publicly stated this before, but that the demilitarization process must be finished before the process of de-radicalization can begin, which is when the Gaza Strip will be rebuilt.

The reconstruction plans will be carried out under the leadership and funding of nations that Israel approves of.

No nation has so far agreed to provide funding for Gaza's reconstruction, and many nations have stated that they won’t do so until the Palestinians have a clear political future.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia appear to be involved in the reconstruction and de-radicalization efforts, according to Netanyahu. However, the two Gulf nations have explicitly stated to Netanyahu in both public and private messages that they will not participate in any day after plans for Gaza that do not include a Palestinian state's path.

The document states that “local elements with management experience “will be in charge of civilian management and public order in Gaza but does not make it clear who Netanyahu envisions ruling the country after the war.

According to the document, these components “will not be associated with nations or organizations that support terrorism and will not receive payment from them.”

The document doesn’t specifically mention the PA, but unlike Netanyahu's earlier statements, it does not rule out the Palestinian Authority as having a hand in the administration of Gaza.

A “revitalized” Palestinian Authority is being pushed by the Biden administration to take control of the enclave.

Additionally, Netanyahu wants other international aid organizations to take over the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is Gaza's primary source of aid.

Israel asserts that UNRWA employees participated in the attack on October 7. An impartial investigation into the organization and the allegations has been started by the UN.

Source: Axios

 

 

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