Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed on Tuesday that he wants Israel’s military to maintain an open-ended occupation of the Gaza Strip after the current war.
“Gaza must be demilitarized. And in order for Gaza to be demilitarized, there is only one force which can ensure this demilitarization – and this force is the Israel Defense Forces,” Netanyahu said. “No international force can be responsible for this.”
Netanyahu’s comments come after a report from POLITICO said the Biden administration has been drafting a plan for the Palestinian Authority, which administers some areas of the West Bank, to take over post-war Gaza. But Netanyahu has made clear he’s opposed to the idea.
According to Israel’s Kan 11 broadcaster, Netanyahu recently told members of the Knesset, “Not only will there not be a renewed Palestinian Authority in Gaza after the war, there will be no Palestinian authority in Gaza at all.” The report said that Netanyahu had expressed his view on the matter to the US.
Besides Netanyahu’s strong objection to the US plan, the PA, led by Mahmoud Abbas, also has little legitimacy in the eyes of the Palestinians after decades of failing to protect them from settlers and Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Leaked documents and comments from Israeli officials have revealed that the ultimate goal of the Israeli government is to expel all of the Palestinians from Gaza, but resistance from Egypt and other Arab nations stands in the way.
A report from Israel Hayom said a plan was recently submitted to Congress that proposed conditioning US aid to Arab states on their willingness to accept Palestinian refugees.