Sunday, April 14, 2024

Netanyahu lays out post-war Gaza plan

(BBC News) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid out his vision for a post-war Gaza.

Under his plan, Israel would control security indefinitely, and Palestinians with no links to groups hostile to Israel would run the territory.

The U.S., Israel’s major ally, has indicated that it wants the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern Gaza after the war.

But the short document – which Netanyahu presented to ministers Thursday night – makes no mention of the PA.

He has previously ruled out a post-war role for the internationally backed body.

He envisages a “demilitarised” Gaza; Israel would be responsible for removing all military capability beyond that necessary for public order.

There would be a “Southern Closure” on the territory’s border with Egypt to prevent smuggling both under- and overground.

And “de-radicalization” programs would be promoted in all religious, educational, and welfare institutions. The document suggests Arab countries with experience in such programs would be involved, though Netanyahu has not specified which.

Under the plan, Israel would maintain security control over the entire area west of Jordan from land, sea, and air.

Netanyahu has been under pressure – at home and internationally – to publish proposals for Gaza since he began his military operation. He is keen to restore a crumbling reputation as a leader who can keep Israel safe.

A spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the PA, said Netanyahu’s plan was doomed to fail.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: “If the world is genuinely interested in having security and stability in the region, it must end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and recognize an independent Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu repeated his rejection of any unilateral recognition by western countries of a Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, negotiators trying to broker a temporary ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages are expected to meet in Paris.

The U.S. has said it wants a deal in place before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in just over a fortnight.

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