Gallant envisions multinational force leading Gaza rebuilding, though allies have made clear it’ll be contingent on two states

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen with IDF troops in the central Gaza Strip, January 2, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is seen with IDF troops in the central Gaza Strip, January 2, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Presenting his plan for post-war Gaza, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant outlines a “four-cornered civilian square,” including Israel, the Palestinians, a multinational task force and Egypt.

Israel “will provide information to guide civilian operations” and also carry out inspection of goods entering Gaza in order to ensure that no weapons are smuggled into the enclave, Gallant says.

A Palestinian entity in charge of governing Gaza will build on existing administrative mechanisms to help restore operations in the Strip, Gallant says.

A multinational force led by the United States in partnership with Israel’s European and Arab allies will take responsibility for the reconstruction of Gaza after the war, the defense minister envisions.

Those allies have repeatedly made clear, however, that their support for the reconstruction of Gaza is conditioned on the Palestinian Authority being the governing body that reunites the Strip with the West Bank and that the process be part of a broader initiative aimed at an eventual two-state solution.

Gallant carefully avoids mentioning the PA at all in his plan, amid Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated rejection of the body led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomes Belgium’s and Spain’s prime ministers (not pictured) to his offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 23, 2023. (Alaa Badarneh/Pool/AFP)

US and Israeli officials have told The Times of Israel that Netanyahu’s aides have privately expressed their support for an “RPA” or “reformed PA,” eventually governing Gaza, while the premier himself has not spoken publicly about this idea amid fears of alienating far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.

Gallant’s description of “existing administrative mechanisms” is similar to Netanyahu’s talk of a “civil administration” — both terms widely understood to mean PA-affiliated bodies.

But more unpopular than talk of a PA-controlled Gaza Strip after October 7 would be an Israeli commitment to move toward a two-state solution, and Gallant did not specify how Israel plans to recruit allies abroad to help it rebuild the Strip without taking steps toward Palestinian statehood.

As for the fourth corner of Gallant’s civilian square, the defense minister highlights Egypt, which he says will remain a major actor, given that it border with Gaza. “We maintain an ongoing dialogue with Egyptian partners about interim and long-term solutions,” he says.

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