Hanegbi dodges question about post-war strategy, says IDF focused on destroying Hamas

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi gives a press conference on November 17, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi gives a press conference on November 17, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanegbi is asked during a press conference what Israel’s strategy is for Gaza after the war.

But like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before him, Hanegbi avoids answering the question, instead repeating Israel’s short-term aims.

“The plan for the war is to eliminate Hamas. It’s the only way we can ensure that after[ward], we will not be threatened from Gaza, which is the number one goal that the cabinet has instructed the army to achieve,” Hanegbi says in English.

“The second goal, which is as sacred as the first one, is to release the hostages,” Hanegbi continues, saying he can’t go into detail but insists, “We’re determined to release all hostages, and we’re not going to be quiet until we reach this goal.”

The US has publicly implored Israel for the past month to plan for who will rule Gaza if the IDF succeeds in its war aim of eliminating Hamas, arguing that failure to prepare in advance risks leading to Israel being bogged down in the enclave indefinitely.

Israel has yet to publicly comment much on the future of Gaza beyond Netanyahu saying that the IDF will maintain overall security control of the Strip for an indefinite period after the war — a stance that Blinken came out against on Thursday.

A source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel this week that Israel has officials privately working on “day after” plans and has reached out to the US to launch a joint dialogue on the matter.

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