Netanyahu presents security cabinet with his plan for post-war management of Gaza

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

Palestinians inspect the rubble of the Al Daalese family building after an Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of the Al Daalese family building after an Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented the security cabinet with his plan for the management of Gaza after the war.

It is largely a collection of principles he has been vocalizing since the beginning of the war, but it is the first time they have formally been presented to the cabinet.

For over four months, Netanyahu has held off on holding security cabinet discussions regarding the so-called “day after,” fearing this could lead to fractures in his coalition. Some of his far-right ministers aim to use such meetings to push the re-establishment of Israeli settlements in Gaza and the permanent occupation of the Strip — policies the premier says he opposes and would surely lead to the dissipation of Israel’s remaining support in the West.

Netanyahu has sufficed with saying that he will not allow the Palestinian Authority to return to govern Gaza. He has sometimes qualified this assertion by saying that Israel won’t allow the PA in its current form to return to Gaza while other times he has given a more blanket rejection of “Fatahstan” — referring to the political party headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Notably, the paper of principles presented to security cabinet ministers at tonight’s meeting doesn’t specifically name the PA or rule out its participation in the post-war governance of Gaza.

Instead, it says that civil affairs in Gaza will be run by “local officials” who have “administrative experience” and who aren’t tied to “countries or entities that support terrorism.”

The language is vague but this could cover groups that receive funding from Qatar — as Hamas does — or possibly the PA, whose welfare program includes payments to terrorists.

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