US pressing Israel to devise strategy for scenario of Hamas’s rule being toppled

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

US President Joe Biden’s administration has privately been pressing Israel in recent days to flesh out its strategy for the day after it completes its stated goal of toppling Hamas’s Gaza rule, in the ongoing war in the Strip, a US official and an Israeli official tell The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner circle have indicated to their American counterparts that Israel has not yet come up with such a strategy, and are more focused on the immediate goal of removing Hamas from power in Gaza, the US official says.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told CNN yesterday: “We’re not thinking now what will happen the day after the war… We need to win this war, and that’s the only thing that we’re focused on.”

But the US official speaking with The Times of Israel cautions against this approach, saying that devoid a strategy for who will control the Strip, if and when Hamas is removed, the IDF is more likely to get bogged down in Gaza indefinitely, despite Israel insisting that it does not want to retake the enclave.

An Israeli official tells The Times of Israel that National Unity party chair Benny Gantz and fellow faction member Gadi Eisenkot demanded the creation of a Gaza exit strategy upon their entry into the government and that they have tasked a committee with drawing one up.

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