Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declarationthis week that Israel would take control of security in Gaza for an indefinite period has added to uncertainty over the future of the besieged enclave, more than a month into the war.
Israeli officials have since tried to make clear they do not intend to reoccupy Gaza, from which Israeli forces withdrew in 2005, but there has been no clarity on how to ensure security without maintaining a military presence in the territory.
Only one thing has been stressed repeatedly – Hamas, the Islamist movement which launched a surprise attack on Oct. 7 that Israel says killed some 1,400 people and saw militants drag more than 240 Israelis and foreigners into captivity, must be destroyed.
“They cannot be here,” former Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who joined Netanyahu in an emergency unity government last month, said on Wednesday. “We can come up with any mechanism we think is appropriate, but Hamas will not be part of it.”
Gantz, who said Hamas presented an existential threat to Israel, told reporters Israel would have to ensure “security superiority” around Gaza but the specifics remain vague in the absence of any coherent idea of the political future.
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