Gallant presents plan for ‘the day after’ via BICom
What happened: Defence Minister Yoav Gallant yesterday presented a plan to reporters about the ‘day after’ in Gaza.
- "Hamas will not rule Gaza, and Israel will not exercise civil control over Gaza,” Gallant said. “It's Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip, which is why Palestinian players will be responsible for it, on the condition that they are not hostile toward Israel and will not operate against it."
- "There will be no civil presence by Israel in the Gaza Strip after the war's goals are achieved. Israel will not be responsible for civil life in the Gaza Strip."
Gallant presented a four-part mechanism for the situation in Gaza.
- Israel will supervise the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip.
- A multi-national force, led by the US, Western European countries and moderate Arab states which will be responsible for rebuilding Gaza.
- A civil Palestinian apparatus, which already exists in Gaza, comprised of clans, local bureaucrats, government officials
- Egypt, together with Israel and the US, are working on creating a way to secure the border between Egypt and Gaza.
- Yesterday evening in the security cabinet meeting, ministers were shown a plan whereby the residents of the northern Gaza Strip will return in a few months to facilities that will be established with donations by Western countries.
- Security officials believe that the right thing is to allow the residents of the northern Gaza Strip to return only after the hostages are returned to Israel.
- Right wing ministers criticised Gallant’s plan: “Gallant’s ‘day after’ plan is a re-run of the ‘day before’ October 7,” Finance Minister Smotrich said, adding, “the solution for Gaza requires out-of-the-box thinking and a changed conception [which includes] encouraging voluntary emigration [of Gazans] and full [Israeli] security control including renewed settlement.”
- Minister Ben Gvir showed the security cabinet his own plan for the 'day after,' which consisted of building Israeli settlements and military positions throughout Gaza.
- Also yesterday, Chief of Staff Halevi announced the composition of the team that will investigate the circumstances leading to October 7th and the war.
- Four right-wing ministers lambasted Halevi because the team leader is to be former defence minister and chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, who endorsed disengagement from Gaza in 2005.
- Gallant and former defence minister Gantz defended the Chief of Staff. The prime minister told the chief of staff that sometimes the ministers had to be listened to and then ended the discussion.
- The number of hostages in Gaza was revised and raised to 136 last night. Three civilians who had been declared missing are now said to be hostages.
- Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the Biden Administration envoy Amos Hochstein and told him that Israel has an obligation to bring about a fundamental change on its border with Lebanon.
Context: Yesterday’s cabinet meeting is the first time a discussion on the ‘day after’ in Gaza took place since the war began.
- Netanyahu has insisted that the PA in its current form cannot be tasked with taking over Gaza after the war.
- According to reports, Israel and Egypt, partnering with the United States, will cooperate in using technological and physical measures above and below ground to effectively isolate the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.
- The team appointed by the chief of staff will be led by Mofaz and major generals in reserves Yoav Har-Even, Aharon Farkash and Sami Turgeman. Their investigation will be in parallel to an inquiry by the IDF General Staff, which is currently underway and led by Maj. Gen. Moti Baruch, into operational events in the Gaza theatre.
- The IDF has effectively begun to transition to phase 3 of the Gaza operation, which includes a gradual reduction of forces and a focus on the arenas of activity.
- Israel will likely switch to a new mode of fighting that will include aerial strikes and raids on land, the destruction of underground tunnels and special operations.
- The army needs to discharge reserve forces to reduce the damage to the economy, and wants to prepare units for the possibility of a serious escalation in Lebanon down the road.
- In the southern part of Gaza, no changes are expected in the nature of combat where high-intensity combat is ongoing. It is thought this will continue at least until the end of January.
- An Israeli official denied that Israel was engaged in negotiations with any country about the possibility of taking in Gazan residents. “That’s fake [news]…let’s say that Smotrich would like to carry that out. What can he do? The report as if the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, has been engaged on the issue is fake [news]. That never happened.”
Looking ahead: US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to visit Israel on Monday, his fifth visit since the war began. He will also visit other Middle Eastern countries. Once in Israel, Blinken will meet with senior officials to discuss Israel’s vision for the day after the war.
- The US administration continues to emphasise that Israel must transfer tax revenues to the PA, otherwise the authority will collapse. The Netanyahu coalition includes members who are adamantly opposed to this.
- Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is expected to deliver a second speech within three days later today.