The IDF last week presented an assessment of a possible reoccupation of the Gaza Strip to the security cabinet, saying that the cost of reestablishing Israeli control over the entire territory would be hundreds of soldiers’ lives, endangering peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and tens of billions of shekels per year, Channel 2 reported Tuesday night.
According to diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal, the report — presented to ministers as they debated the future of the Gaza operation — said the cost in civilian Palestinian lives would spike into the thousands.
The clearing of the territory of terrorist threats, including 20,000 gunmen as well as rockets, explosives and weaponry would take no less than five years. Israel could also face numerous soldier abductions by Hamas.
“We would long for [the days of Israel's occupation of] southern Lebanon,” an IDF official said, adding that building a coherent intelligence network on the ground to create order in the chaos would take years.
Severe disorder, riots and unrest would also be expected in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs.
According to Channel 2, some ministers doubted the report, telling IDF officials it was “pessimistic” and was intended to dissuade them from action. The military responded that the report’s estimates were sound.
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked if any of the ministers backed such a plan, none of the ministers raised their hand.