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Israel seeks open-ended control over security in Gaza in post-war plan | World News


Israel wants open-ended control over security and civilian affairs in the Gaza Strip, according to a long-awaited post-war plan drawn up by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It was swiftly rejected by Palestinian leaders and flies in the face of Washington’s vision for the besieged enclave.

Mr Netanyahu presented the two-page document to his security cabinet late on Thursday for approval.

Divisions over Gaza’s future have led to heightened public tensions between Israel and the United States, its closest ally.

The Biden administration is seeking eventual Palestinian governance in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a precursor to statehood and a two-state solution to tensions – an outcome strongly opposed by Mr Netanyahu and his right-wing government.

Mr Netanyahu’s plan envisions hand-picked Palestinians in Gaza administering the territory.

Image:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting the German foreign minister recently. Pic: AP

Meanwhile, ceasefire efforts appeared to gain traction, with mediators to present a new proposal at an expected high-level meeting this weekend in Paris.

The US, Egypt and Qatar have been struggling for weeks to strike an agreement that could halt Israel’s devastating offensive in Gaza.

The total number of Palestinian deaths has topped more than 29,500, with close to 70,000 people wounded, Gaza health officials said.

Mr Netanyahu’s plan, while lacking specifics, marks the first time he has presented a formal postwar vision.

It reiterates that Israel is determined to crush Hamas, the militant group that overran the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Polls have indicated that a majority of Palestinians do not support Hamas, but the group has deep roots in Palestinian society.

Critics, including some in Israel, say the goal of eliminating Hamas is unattainable.

Mr Netanyahu’s plan calls for freedom of action for Israel’s military across a demilitarised Gaza after the war to thwart any security threat.

It says Israel would establish a buffer zone inside Gaza, which is likely to provoke US objections.

The plan also envisions Gaza being governed by local officials who it says would “not be identified with countries or entities that support terrorism and will not receive payment from them”.

It is not clear if any Palestinians would agree to such roles.

Over the past decades, Israel has repeatedly tried and failed to set up hand-picked local Palestinian governing bodies.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers pockets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has denounced Mr Netanyahu’s plan as “colonialist and racist”, saying it would amount to Israeli reoccupation of Gaza.

Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but maintained control of access to the territory.

The White House wants to see a reformed Palestinian Authority govern both Gaza and the West Bank as a step towards Palestinian statehood.

The US has sought to chip away at Mr Netanyahu’s resistance by holding out the prospect of the normalisation of ties between Israel and Arab powerhouse Saudi Arabia.



This story originally appeared on Skynews

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