Defense echelon mulls arming Gazan civilians to prevent looting of humanitarian aid

Netanyahu has been presented with this plan but is reportedly delaying discussions about its implementation.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Senior Israeli defense and security officials are reportedly considering a plan to arm Gazan civilians not affiliated with Hamas to prevent looting of humanitarian aid and to implement a “day after” solution for the Gaza Strip as reported by Israel HaYom.

The incident last month during which a deadly stampede surrounded humanitarian aid trucks was the result of looting which may continue without people armed to keep the peace and direct the distribution of aid, defense officials reasoned.

Guided by the principle that whoever controls humanitarian aid in Gaza will ultimately rule the Gaza Strip after the war, defense officials are considering solving the looting problem and the governance of Gaza by arming non-Hamas affiliated Palestinians and putting them in charge of the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Given that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Palestinian Authority should not govern the Gaza Strip, the defense officials the armed Palestinians shouldn’t be associated with the PA either.

Although the defense officials are nearly unanimous in implementing this plan, Israel’s government has yet to approve it.

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According to Israel HaYom the Prime Minister has been presented with this plan but is delaying discussions about its implementation.

One of the obstacles to allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza is Hamas’s practice of stealing and hoarding it for the terror group, something Gazan civilians have openly complained about.

In addition, Hamas’s control over distributing aid bolsters its authority, something that is contrary to Israel achieving the goal of the war, which is to eliminate Hamas as a political and military entity.

One of the objections to this plan is that currently, any armed Palestinian is treated as a terrorist by the IDF, and arming certain Palestinians, particularly during a war, would blur the lines and cause confusion as well as potential security problems for the IDF.

In addition, it may be difficult for the defense and security establishment to determine which Palestinians are or are not affiliated with Hamas or the PA.