Netanyahu clashes with Defense Minister over possible Israeli control of Gaza

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant publicly demands Netanyahu commit to Israel handing over control of Gaza after war; Prime Minister vows not to turn ‘Hamastan into Fatahstan.’

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant (Likud) clashed Wednesday over the future governance of the Gaza Strip after the current war with Hamas, revealing cracks within the ruling Israeli coalition government.

In a televised statement released Wednesday evening, Gallant called on the prime minister to make “tough decisions” regarding Israel’s exit strategy from the Gaza Strip, pressing the premier to commit to not restoring Israeli governance, either military or civil, over the coastal enclave.

While Gallant emphasized that Israel must “dismantle Hamas’ governing capabilities in Gaza,” it must also establish “a governing alternative in Gaza,” and avoid extended Israeli control over the Strip.

“The end of the military campaign must come together with political action.”

“The ‘day after Hamas,’ will only be achieved with Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors, establishing a governing alternative to Hamas’ rule. This, above all, is an interest of the State of Israel.”

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Gallant warned that he “will not agree to the establishment of Israeli military rule in Gaza. Israel must not establish civilian rule in Gaza.”

“I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza Strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza Strip, and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza strip will be raised immediately.”

The defense minister said that the government had thus far refused to debate competing plans for the post-war Gaza Strip, putting off such discussions until after Hamas has been defeated.

Netanyahu responded to Gallant’s address Wednesday evening with a brief video statement rejecting the defense chief’s call for Israel to hand over control of the Gaza Strip to an alternative Arab governing body.

“I am not willing to replace Hamastan with Fatahstan,” Netanyahu said, referencing Fatah, the largest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization, which rules the Palestinian Authority.

“After the terrible massacre of the 7th of October, I ordered the destruction of Hamas. IDF soldiers and our security forces are carrying that out.”

“So long as Hamas continues to exist, no other force will be allowed into Gaza to manage civil affairs – and especially not the Palestinian Authority.”

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“Eighty percent of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support the terrible massacres of October 7th. The Palestinian Authority supports terror, encourages terror, and funds terror.”