Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant revealed a comprehensive plan for the ongoing conflict in Gaza, outlining a dual approach targeting different regions with specific strategies. In northern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will implement what Gallant describes as a “new combat approach”.
This phase involves a combination of tactics including raids, the destruction of terror tunnels, as well as aerial and ground activities, complemented by special operations. Meanwhile, in southern Gaza, the focus will be on the continued pursuit of Hamas leaders.
Gallant emphasized that this operation would persist "for as long as necessary." Additionally, efforts in the south will be geared towards facilitating the return of hostages still held in the region.
Post-War Plans and International Involvement
Gallant also provided insights into what is termed as the "Day After" - the fourth and potentially final phase of the conflict.
This post-war strategy envisions a Gaza no longer under Hamas control, which would not pose a security threat to Israeli citizens. According to the plan, there would be no Israeli civilian presence in the Gaza Strip once the war objectives have been achieved.
However, Israel intends to maintain operational freedom in the region and continue inspecting goods entering Gaza. A notable aspect of Gallant’s plan is the proposal of a multinational task force, led by the United States and involving European and regional partners.
This force would be responsible for the rehabilitation of Gaza. Gallant highlighted Israel's intention to continue engaging with Egypt, acknowledging its significant role in the region. Regarding the future governance of Gaza, Gallant’s plan was less detailed, indicating only that control would be handed to "non-hostile" elements currently present in the enclave.
Envisioning a Pathway to Palestinian Statehood
The regional and international context remains a key aspect of the ongoing conflict. US officials have expressed their vision of both Gaza and the West Bank being governed by a unified government led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority currently has limited self-rule in the West Bank but lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007. In a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in December, a regional delegation including representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, and the Palestinian Authority emphasized the need for assurances of a pathway toward a Palestinian state.
Their support for the reconstruction of Gaza hinges on this critical aspect of future governance and peace in the region.